Should I Leave the Corporate World to Go Out on My Own?

Dear Liz,

I’ve been working for twelve years. Most of that time has been great, but lately I’m very frustrated. I’ve had plenty of time to think lately, and the more I think about it the more I feel I should be working for myself.

My current employer does not value my contributions. My last pay increase was so small I didn’t realize it had gone through. Meanwhile, people reach out to me and ask me to work for them on a consulting basis. I’m very tempted. But I will need a steady income to pay my bills. What do you recommend?

Thanks,

Dory

Dear Dory,

A lot of people (including me) were taught that if you want to be a consultant, you have to have at least six months’ salary saved up and be ready to jump into consulting full-time on Day One.

That’s ridiculous! Who can afford to take a leap like that?

Most of the people I’ve helped to launch their consulting businesses started consulting part-time.

People are already reaching out to ask for your help on a consulting basis. We can assume that most of these folks know you’re employed.

They want you to help them at night or on the weekends.

I’d jump on those opportunities! That way, you can get a feel for consulting and see whether it’s time to start building your consulting business.

I have a feeling you’re going to love it. Here’s why:

1) As an independent consultant you get to help your clients with real problems that are holding them back. In our regular jobs we don’t always get to work on real problems. Sometimes we spend most of the day doing make-work and projects our boss asks us to take on for their own, unknown reasons. It can be frustrating. As a consultant, you call the shots.

2) When you consult with clients, you get to use your brain in a way we don’t always get to do in our “day jobs.”

3) As a consultant you see (and feel) the direct connection between your work and your client’s success.

4) Consulting is creative. The client describes their problem. You’ll brainstorm with your client and suggest ways to solve the problem. Then you’ll get to work solving it. Every project teaches you something new and with every project,  you get stronger and more marketable!

I was terrified of consulting for years. I thought it would be hard, and frankly I thought it would be scary.

Then I took on a small project (20 hours long) for my first consulting client.

I worked on the project at night. It was fun!

It was exciting, and helped me see how boxed in and limited I was in my regular job.

Should you quit your corporate job to start consulting full-time tomorrow?

Probably not, unless you get laid off with a severance package or win the lottery.

Should you start a side business in consulting now and grow it over time?

That’s a YES from me, Dory!

Here’s to you!

Yours,

Liz