It’s that time of year. New Year’s resolutions. Commitments to change our lifestyle. Eat healthier. Exercise more. Connect with friends and family frequently. Do things that make us happier.
That’s why now is the perfect time to consider a career change. Or more importantly, a lifestyle change. With a new year ahead full of possibility now may be the best time to consider finally making the leap and becoming your own boss. Consulting is a big change, one that isn’t without risk. But, if done correctly and at the right time (timing is everything), consulting can be your ticket to leading a happier, more productive and fulfilled life. Living a life on your own terms.
Over the next three weeks, we are going to help you get your ducks in a row and create a solid foundation so you can make the leap once and for all. Our Consulting 101 Series will take you through:
1. Everything you need to know and consider before making the leap.
2. Tips on successfully making the leap.
3. How to stay committed after making the leap.
In this three-part series we will provide you with things to consider, questions to ask, and tips and tricks that we’ve learned along the way as well. If you’re ready to live a life you don’t need a vacation from, then keep reading!
Part I: Everything you Need to Know and Consider Before Making the Leap
So, you’re thinking about becoming an independent consultant but, where do you begin? Maybe you’re tired of working a traditional 9-5 and want to build your own schedule, or maybe you decided to focus on doing the things you love so work doesn’t feel so much like…well work. Or maybe you’re completely unsure about your next step but you know it’s time for a change. In any case, there’s no right or wrong reason to make the leap, however there are plenty of important things to consider before diving right in.
Reasons why some people make the switch
Last year, we conducted a survey with members of our own Gig Talent Certified Collective about their experience in becoming an independent consultant and what they wished they knew before making the leap. When asked why they decided to live life on their own terms and become an independent consultant or coach, 84% of respondents said their number one reason was to use their knowledge, skills, and expertise to help others. Following close behind, 69% said they wanted to have a more flexible schedule. And finally, 46% said they made the switch to start their own business and become their own boss. If you’re anything like us, it’s hard to truly narrow it down to one ultimate reason, and that’s okay. What is important is knowing you have a community behind you to support you if and when you are ready to make the jump.
While every experience will differ when making the switch to go independent, there are a lot of common fears and misconceptions shared by many in a similar situation.
• Consulting doesn’t provide financial stability.
• I don’t like networking or marketing myself.
• I have a fear of failure.
• It’s too new and makes me uncomfortable.
• The Gig Economy is just a trend.
• Consulting is only useful for short-term projects.
In the same survey mentioned above, we asked members of our Collective to answer what their biggest fear was when they decided to become an independent consultant. The top answer by far was “financial stability,” with 76% of people agreeing this was their number one fear, followed closely by “getting business and/or building a network” at 69%. It can be difficult to overcome these fears and they can often seem like barriers to entry. But, preparing yourself to make the leap 6 to 12 months in advance can help alleviate some of these fears and set you up for long-term success. Planning is key, especially in the early stages.
Questions to ask yourself
Like any big decisions we make, it’s important to weigh all of the options, consider potential challenges and listen to how we’re feeling during the process. One of the quickest ways to make a mistake is by being under prepared and ignoring our inner voice. It can also be difficult to figure out the right things to ask to fully prepare and ensure we have thought about every scenario. Below are a few questions to consider that will help guide you in the right direction.
1. How much financial security am I going to need to feel comfortable to make the leap? Am I in a position where I can afford to take financial risks?
2. How adaptable and flexible am I (or am I willing to be)? Am I prepared to break out of my comfort zone and take on change?
3. Do I have a solid network of people to help get my business off the ground? If not, how will I prioritize building my network in the next six to 12 months?
4. Am I clear about my goals to become an independent consultant?
5. What are my area(s) of expertise? What areas will I focus on? Remember, quality is often more important than quantity.
Let’s end with a checklist
– Connect with friends and colleagues who have made the leap to gain a better understanding of day-to-day life and the various responsibilities associated with consulting.
– Determine how much money I will need to save before making the leap. (It’s important to remember that the first month or two may be slow as you build your brand.)
– Commit to a date when I want to officially start my consulting business and create a timeline of what I need to do to get there.
– Determine my area of expertise and the value that I provide to clients. (Make sure to get clear on where you want your niche to be to avoid any confusion going forward.)
– Build my status and expertise by networking, blogging, joining consulting or coaching groups. (Anything that will help build your brand and market yourself is a positive step in the right direction.)
While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to making this leap, there are plenty of tips and tools that you can leverage to be better prepared. Above all, this is your journey. Always listen to yourself and be confident in your decisions even if they don’t play out exactly how you expected. In the next blog, we’ll take a deeper dive into the specific ways to make a successful leap into independent consulting. This is a big step, but you don’t have to do it alone!
At Gig Talent, our goal is to support those stepping out of their comfort zone and making the leap to independent consulting. We act as your sales and marketing division to take out the uncertainty of running business on your own and prioritize community, so you feel fully supported to do the work you know and love. If you’re interested in becoming a GigTalent Certified Consultant and/or if you know of any amazing HR Consultants and Coaches, we’re always looking to expand our collective. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.