Considering a career as an independent contractor or consultant? Many individuals choose this path because of the autonomy it offers. You have flexibility to choose projects that you want to work on, decide where a specific task is assigned, and develop clear project milestones. Many consultants also appreciate the challenge each project brings when stepping into a new environment.
However, before quitting your day job and becoming a full time independent consultant, ask yourself these three questions:
Are you okay with down time between projects?
Consulting opportunities are on a limited term basis. This means the length of assignment is dependent on need and varies from project to project. There is no guarantee that another consulting opportunity will be lined up after one project ends, so be prepared to go a few weeks or months without income. If your lifestyle relies on a consistent income, then consulting might not be the right option for you.
Do you enjoy projects with a beginning and end?
If you enjoy seeing progress in your work and are results-oriented, consulting might be the career for you. Project based work typically has milestones where you are able to see if you are on track for completion. You need to be okay with frequent change because circumstances evolve as projects take their course. Once the project is complete, your contract is up and you can either take on another consulting project or take a break. This allows flexibility with your schedule.
Do you need benefits through your employer?
As a contractor, it is unlikely likely to be provided benefits typically included with employment, the most substantial being health insurance. Most consultants either pay for medical coverage themselves or obtain it through their spouse. Either way, you are generally on your own for health insurance coverage and other benefits.
Independent consulting can be a rewarding career path
Choosing to be an independent contractor or consultant as a full time career can be rewarding. You have the flexibility to choose the projects you want, there is variety in your work, and you get to experience new environments and meet new people. You are also compensated for every hour you work and often have greater work life balance. If you are considering consulting as a full time career and have the ability to ride the highs and the lows, you won’t be disappointed.
For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly search and staffing specialists can help, contact our team.