You can’t rely on an employer to control or protect your career. Whether you have a “permanent” position, a temp-to-perm, or a temporary position, there’s no real job security. Therefore, you should look at your career differently. This is why everyone should have a consulting business.
COVID-19 has only made it worse. With over 60 million Americans losing their jobs since mid-March, the threat of losing your job is more and more real. In addition, pandemics, acts of God, and economic downturns give companies a “legitimate” reason to slash jobs. Since the rules have changed, companies feel free to fire or lay people off for little or no reason. So you should be prepared to make your transition before you have to.
Having a consulting business helps you to:
- Fill in the gaps in your résumé.
Companies don’t want to hire unemployed people. While this is illegal in some states, there are ways around it. Having your own company means you will have work. Be prepared to talk about projects you’ve worked on. This also means you don’t have to settle for a “just get your foot in the door” job to hold you over.
- Try before YOU buy.
Many companies use a temp-to-perm strategy to find the right fit for their organization. You can use the same strategy for potential clients. Since consultants are not employees, there’s less risk to bring you in to do a specific job. You can learn about the company culture and decide if the company is a potential destination if they were to offer you a permanent position.
- Test the entrepreneurial waters.
Entrepreneurship can be daunting, but you don’t have to go all in. You can slowly transition into entrepreneurship and test whether you can do it full time. You may find out it’s not for you and go back to working 9-to-5. Either way, you can do one or both as you figure things out.
- Gain flexibility.
Consulting was great for me when my mother-in-law had cancer. I was able to take days off to travel with my wife to the hospital for her treatments. Later, my father-in-law had a stroke and my mother got cancer. The days off gave me the ability to meet their needs. It also gave me the ability to pursue other opportunities and create my own schedule.
Everyone should have a consulting business, whether it’s part-time or full-time. Many professionals do consulting on the side. It creates a stream of income to help you to make a living or hold you over between jobs.
This is especially true for older workers. During the Great Recession of 2008 and now with COVID-19, the unemployment rate for those 55 and older is higher than the rate for workers 25-54. With more companies dumping older workers and fewer companies hiring them, it makes sense to use your experience to create a revenue stream for yourself.
Draw up a contract that outlines terms, relationships, the scope of services, compensation, etc. Then, market yourself and be confident in your ability as you step out and take control of your career.