Making the Transition From Employee to Consultant

Mike Marko

“Making the Transition From Employee to Consultant” written by Mike Marko, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Is your job secure?

In today’s job market, few can answer “yes” to that question.  I personally was subject to being “downsized” twice out of a job throughout my engineering career as part of massive layoffs; and I know many other professionals who experienced the same thing.

It’s not uncommon for “professional employees” to think about making the transition from the salary life to striking it out on your own.  There are a lot of benefits to being a consultant; the most common being that they can be their own boss.

But FEAR is what often holds people back.  There are a lot of real and perceived risk…

All that fear comes from not knowing what you don’t know.

That’s why I want to take the time to talk to you about how to properly make the transition, and how to prepare so you don’t make the common mistakes.

Essential Tips on How to Transition to Consulting

I’ve been there.

I was a mechanical engineer for almost twenty years before becoming a consultant.

For years after graduating university, I was content living the cubical life.

But over time I came to realize that I didn’t want to be stuck to that cubical life forever.  Plus I was seeing that many engineers were “retiring” only to work as a consultant after they retired.

I realized that I wanted to be a consultant.  But what is a consultant?

What Is A Consultant

What does a consultant do?

Well, the answer is simple – a consultant consults.

That answer, though true in its basic sense, is too vague.

If you want to become a self-employed consultant, you need to have a better idea about the business and the way to set it up. Let’s try to define the role of a consultant.

The task of a consultant is to provide advice to an individual or organization about matters in a specific niche.

Still sounds vague; right?

That’s ok because as you read through the rest of the article, you’ll have an better of what is a consultant.

Speaking of which, there are a lot of benefits of becoming a consultant…

Benefits of Becoming a Consultant

There are many benefits to becoming a consultant.  The following are just the top 9 benefits to becoming a consultant:

1. Flexibility

Consultants get to pick the hours they want to work.  Consultants often also get the opportunity to telecommute once you get more settled into your role.

If you work on a computer for example, you can have your days free to follow your passion for hiking or swimming and work at night. As a consultant, you may work seven days a week for a month to save enough to take a month off and travel.

This allows for a much better work-life balance!

2. Job Security

Since you are the boss, you don’t have to worry about the dreaded pink slip.

You’ll have work as long as you continue to market your services and focus on a particular niche.  The key is to make sure no one client is responsible for more than 25% of your income so as to minimize the risk of losing a client.

3. Every Day Is Different

Consulting is not like your typical 9 am to 5 pm desk job.  You can break up your typical day by tackling new problems, changing up your schedule, and meeting and working with new people.

4. Freedom From Corporate Politics.

Corporate or office politics can be both frustrating, or exhausting.  Some bosses you have to tip toe around, otherwise they can black ball you on your employee record.

5. Client Preference

As a consultant, you get to pick whom you want to work with and for how long.

When you work as an employee and get a new supervisor with whom you don’t get along, you’re often stuck until you can find another position.

When you’re a consultant and you run into a disagreeable manager, you can let the contract go and move on to the next client. You aren’t tied down to just one source of income. Customers who provide you with the highest income, jobs that you like and people you enjoy working with can make up the bulk of your client base.

6. Travel is More or Less Out of the Question

Travel depends on the type of consulting you do, and your tolerance for travel.

I know lots of consultants that do nothing but travel.  And they love it.

I know other consultants they don’t travel at all.  And they love it.

7. Using Your Problem Solving Skills Daily

Consultants get to use their problem solving skills daily to get the job done.  You become “part of their team” and help solve problems that a person or business could not solve on their own because of your expertise.

8. Continuous Learning

Consultants are the expert in their industry.  This means that they are always learning and adapting to new trends and changes in their industry.

Your expertise in a particular field or niche makes you VERY valuable.  By focusing 110% in your field you hone your skills like few can, making you more valuable.

9. Building Your Self As A Brand

Although employees can do this, it’s not toe the same extent.

A consultant is not defined by their role, bosses, or Human Resource department.  They can create their own brand and choose what skills they want to promote to their clients.

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Steps to Becoming a Consultant

Now that you decided to become a consultant,

Step 1: Identify Your Niche

What are you skilled at?  Skilled to the point you can be considered an “expert”…

Is it computers, engineering, accounting, software, nursing, physical fitness, etc?

If you have knowledge in accounting software, having worked with these for a considerable period of time and have the latest detailed information about them, you can start an accounting software accounting business.

Step 2: Acquire the Certifications and License

Some consulting businesses do not require formal training and certification (e.g. interior decorating consultant).  However, if you are planning to work as a home care consultant, you need to get professional certifications from recognized institutions.

Also, consider the licensing requirements to start a consulting business. The local or state legal guidelines may require you to get a particular license to work as an independent consultant in certain specialties.

Step 3: Choose Your Target Market

You know your niche from completing step 1… but you need to dive in deeper.  You need to understand your target audience.

I wrote a blog post that delves deeper into this topic: How to Define Your Target Customer To Grow Your Business.

Step 4: Determine Your Services and Pricing

Probably one of the more important aspects of setting up your consulting is determining what you will offer, and how much you will charge for the service.

The first thing you need to do is determine your customer pain points; what keeps them up at night.  From there you come up with products/services that address those pain points (based on the skills you bring to the table).

There are three ways to approach pricing:

  1. Price it on a hourly basis.  This is an easier approach, though you get into situations where the clients will try to nitpick what you spend your time on.
  2. Price it based on the project.  This is a great approach to take when there is a finite size to the project where you can more-or-less control the project duration.  This can run away on you if your agreement doesn’t specify project timelines.
  3. Monthly retainer.  This approach works great if the project or work is open ended.

Step 5: Start Promoting Yourself

There is more than promoting yourself than just making a website and setting up some social media sites.

To help you out there, I suggest you check out my blog post on 23 Key Tips On How to Get More Clients FAST.

If you have already started your consulting business and want better results with your marketing, make sure you also check out my article, “Why Traditional Internet Marketing Doesn’t Work”.


Final Words About Making the Transition From Employee to Consultant

In this blog post, we talked about the advantages of making the transition from employee to consultant.  We discussed the steps you can take on making the transition.

There is a lot to becoming a consultant, but in my opinion the benefits far out weight the fear of making the transition.

I know… I was where you are now.

And now I make a living from helping consultants, entrepreneurs, and small business owners grow their businesses, including working with a lot of people in the Cincinnati area where we’re based out of (though I’ve worked with clients from across the globe).

If you need help making the transition, then you should take a look at our “Results in Advance” program.

We start with a 30-60 minute free consultation where we together create a strategy that will grow your business¦ effectively. Its actually a strategy session where you’ll walk away with actionable steps you can take to increase your business revenue. By the end, you can either take what we discussed and run with it yourself or we can agree to work together to crush your results!

If you want to learn about how to qualify for our “Results in Advance” program, please feel free to reach out to us by clicking the button below.

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P.S. – If you like this post, feel free comment down below and/or share on Facebook.

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Making the Transition From Employee to Consultant - Mike Marko

Author: Mike Marko
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