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The Bold Faced Blog™

May 15, 2013

Making the Leap from Employee to Consultant – 5 Things You Need To Know

Posted 4 years 192 days ago by Sheila Ellian Lewis

Here at Ashton, we work with talented consultants who provide our clients with top notch support, advice and leadership. But most Ashton Associates didn’t begin their professional lives as consultants; instead, they most often held full time positions in business first, often for several years, before making the transition to consulting. In this economy, and particularly for older workers, that path is looking ever more attractive. Maybe you’re wondering if it’s the right choice for you.

Before you make the leap, here are five tips to help make your transition to consulting go as smoothly as possible:

1. Know What You’re Good At

Companies have hired you in the past for a specific skill or set of skills. When becoming a consultant, focus in on your most essential skill. It’s hard for us to sell a generalist to clients and becoming known as a specialist in your field enhances your value.

2. Refine Your Resume

Make sure that your resume isn't a list of positions. As a consultant, your resume must bring focus and clarity to what you have accomplished. Clients want to see consultants who have solved problems, managed projects and achieved measurable results. Even if you have a fabulous job title, focus on what you and your team actually accomplished.

3. Establish a Reasonable Consulting Rate

Speak to friends and colleagues who are already consulting. You need to know what the going rates are in your field and you need to be realistic about the value you bring to clients. Remember, setting your rate too low can be as big a hazard as setting it too high. Speak with an accountant about the tax implications and make sure you are clear about what you need to earn to meet your obligations and to pay yourself an acceptable amount.

4. Set Up Your Home Office

Even if it’s just a corner of your dining room or a cubby under the stairs, this is your place of work. Not going into the office every day can feel more relaxed and it’s easy to lose the discipline you need. Make sure that you have everything that you need to provide a professional service to your clients and that you’re out of the way of distractions. Be sure to consider the expenses that you got for free on your job. Things like office supplies, software and business insurance. An office is more than a desk, chair and computer.

5. Start Out in Your Industry

Not everyone’s going to believe that the skills you've developed in healthcare can easily transition to the automotive industry. Many consultants get their start by consulting in the industry they know best. Some even consult with their previous employers; if that’s open to you, it’s a terrific way to launch your consulting career.

What have we missed? What you wish you’d thought about when you started consulting? Let us know in the comments.

Tags: consulting

Categories: categoryConsulting

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