To an outsider, there are many half-truths and whole lies about consulting businesses that may seem plausible, even credible.
This article looks at a few of those myths in the cold clear light of day, and identifies the truth behind the rumors.
Being a Consultant is Easy
Sure, it looks great to outsiders: standing around, watching people work, sticking your nose in where it does not belong, scheduling and attending endless meetings and reporting on everything.
It is not. No matter what field you consult in, business, politics, economy, internet, or whatever, your job is to solve a client’s problem. More often than not, solving that problem is more difficult, due to resentment within the organization, which can create barriers.
Solving a problem as an outsider involves intensive investigation, long hours, and total dedication and focus. Moreover, if you happen to have a client that cannot seem to give you adequate direction, it is even harder.
Consultants Are Accountable to No One
If you are a “freelance” or independent consultant, you do not answer to a boss. You are however, accountable to your clients.
And while, as a business owner, you do have some say in how and when you undertake, and complete, tasks and projects, at the end of the day, it is still your job to make sure they get finished.
Consulting Businesses are Cash Cows
It is certainly true that consultants make more per hour, or per day, than their salaried counterparts do. But consider that unlike salaried employees, consultants have no guarantee over what their earnings per month will be.
They also have to cover their own overheads – no company cell phone, car or expense account, so, like any other business, consultants have overheads to maintain.
So, while it is possible to make large amounts of money once you are established, and working every day, it may take some time to get there.
It is Easy to Start a Consulting Business
There is no business that is easy to start. Every business takes time, money and effort to start and grow, and although, as a service based business, consulting may require less of a capital outlay than for example manufacturing or retailing, it is by no means easy.
You’ll Have a Lot of Free Time as a Consultant
Another big fallacy this one! Any business takes time, and 110% dedication to start. You will put in long hours, for little reward, while you are starting out. But with determination and dedication, you can grow a successful business, and while you will never be able to slack off, you will be able to structure your time better later on.
Only Large Corporations Use Consultants
While large corporations certainly do use consultants for some functions, in fact, in many cases, smaller companies can, and do, benefit from the services of independent consultants.
By outsourcing complex tasks that they only require on a sporadic or once off basis, these companies benefit from the cost efficient nature of consultants.
A good example would be a labour consultant. In a company too small to employ a full time labour expert in their HR department, having a labour consultant on retainer for specific tasks and circumstances makes more sense.
These are just some of the myths about consulting that are doing the rounds. But if you are considering taking the step and becoming your own boss, in your own consulting firm, you would do well to research the others, and venture out with your eyes