When Should You Become a Consultant?
Many corporate employees believe they could have a more rewarding and independent career as a consultant. However, it is difficult to know the right time to make such a substantial career move, leaving the security of a corporate environment and venturing off on one’s own. With confidence in your technical knowledge, organization, and interpersonal skills, you can start a great career in consulting.
Realize What is Expected of You
A consultant is an outside expert that is brought in to improve business processes and/or solve business problems. Consultants serve as specialists or advisers in conjunction with in-house operations, or serve as entire departments in and of themselves. Either way, consultants are expected to be knowledgeable in their field, and authorities on industry conditions.
That being said, being a consultant is as much about customer service as it is about being task-oriented. Building trust and maintaining positive working relationships is just as important as knowing your industry. Therefore it is important to be timely, easy to get a hold of, self-motivated on the job, and able to prioritize tasks efficiently. A significant amount of your business will come from return clients, recommendations, and the strength of references, so a good reputation is important for your bottom line.
Be sure to keep good records for tax purposes. As a self-employed consultant, many of the things you purchase can be considered business expenses for tax purposes. Keeping a log of receipts and transactions for business and personal expenses will help you maximize your tax savings.
Get Your Feet Wet
Try consulting part-time. You can begin consulting on weekends or in gaps in your work schedule, though if you plan on consulting in the field you currently work in, it is important to consider non-compete agreements and the related legal issues. Ideally, you want to be able to choose who you consult for. If you have established friendly connections, these can be some of the most positive contributors to a successful consulting business. If you enjoy the freedom and achieve results while working on the side, it might be the right time to become a consultant.
Portions of this article draw upon content from http://www.unixwiz.net/techtips/be-consultant.html