What’s holding you back from consulting?

When I meet someone for the first time they ask me what I do, I tell them I’m a consultant and business owner and they tell me how “tough” that must be.

“Why tough?” I ask. “Because work is so unreliable, you don’t have a steady pay check, I couldn’t do that!”

If you’ve been a consultant for a couple of years or more, no doubt you’ve had a similar experience. Now, everything this person says is true – to a degree. Sure, many consultants don’t have steady pay checks (unless you set up monthly retainer work – which I recommend) and work surely can have its ups and downs.

But being a consultant isn’t any riskier than working as an employee of a company. And these days I mean any company.

As a consultant you may not receive a check bi-monthly or monthly, but YOU control that – not your company. If you want more business YOU CAN have it. You just have to go out, do the right things and be determined to get it.

The fact is, being “self-employed” or owning a business puts you in MORE control, not less. In the good old days you’d join a company in your early twenties and leave when you reached retirement … one life, one company. Things have changed.

Even in Japan, a country I lived and ran a business in for many years, where traditionally almost everyone only worked for one company, it’s gone from being the norm to the exception.

The road is much windier now than it used to be.

The only reason more people don’t take the reins and start their own businesses is fear. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s for everyone. Some people prefer to start working at 9am and leave at 5pm on the dot. Their job is their job and that’s all. This is still the norm and more likely than not it will always be this way.

But I do believe that if you’ve been teetering on the edge of whether or not to make the leap into consulting and become a consultant, the only thing really holding you back from making the leap is fear. Fear of the risk involved, the unreliability and of failure.

However, as hundreds of thousands of people have now experienced working as an employee is no more reliable than running the show yourself.

If working hard, continually learning, and staying motivated doesn’t scare you, there really isn’t much that can hold you back from becoming a consultant. So what’s holding you back?

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  • Thomas Randel

    Thanks Michael, this is exactly the kind of thing I needed to read to get me back on the right track. Keep up the good work.