So you want to be a consultant…?

So you want to be a consultant…?

Why work 8 hours/day for someone else when you can work 16 hours/day for yourself?

I’ve been a consultant of one form or another since 2002 when I started my old company,  with a friend from college, and actually did bits and pieces of consulting. I have been asked often about the business, and I decided to write this up.

Please note that I am providing observations from my own personal experience, but I am not providing tax or legal advice. You need to pay somebody for that, and I’m not qualified.

Different flavors of Consultants

There are many ways of structuring a self-employed practice, and I’ll touch on two that are at different ends of the spectrum. I only have my own experience to draw on, so these should be considered broad generalities rather than pigeonhole-type definitions. I have gotten substantial pushback on these definitions, so I urge you to take them only generally.


A “contractor” is typically hired for one project (via a “contract”), and the relationship is often more technical than personal. One is hired to write a communications controller, build a website, or modify some software, and at the end of the project: you’re done and you move on.

Most contractors work on one project at a time, which surely allows a great deal of focus, and though there is a often a bit of hanger-on work after the project has finished (say, helping the in-house staff integrate your work), once the contractor has moved on, the focus goes with him.

This is not to say that you won’t be back: doing a good job on the first project certainly means you’ll be given more consideration for a subsequent project, but it’s just as often a new project as opposed to working on the old one.


A “consultant” typically has multiple customers at a time, and it’s more about a long-term relationship than it is about a specific project. There will certainly be projects in the course of a consulting relationship, sometimes big ones, but the general idea here is that you’re an always-available resource they can call on for big matters or small. In a few cases, the IT department for several customers, and they use IT personnel so they don’t have to hire a dedicated person for it.

Unlike the contractor, this involves a lot of juggling when the fluctuating demands of multiple customers comes into play. It’s harder to get a deeper focus because of all the context swapping going on, but long term relationships are worth it in the long run.

I mainly operate as a traditional consultant, and though from time to time have done one-time projects on a contract basis, this paper mainly addresses the consulting relationship.


3 thoughts on “So you want to be a consultant…?

  1. Your second question, “Why work 8 hours/day for someone else when you can work 16 hours/day for yourself?” gives me the idea that working as a consultant was a lot of hard extra work, but you didn’t really mention that in your article! I am interested in potentially becoming a consultant, but I am in university right now. I was hoping that you could maybe touch a little bit more on your personal experiences: did you enjoy working in the industry? Do you have any regrets? Advice for anyone else interested in entering it?

  2. Hi there sorry for late reply… thanks for your comments… Chelle your name right..ok… first of all about my article… well Chelle in this article i described my self like 10 pints of salt in a dough… i actually i’m too much precised about my intro and my personal figure. In this article i mentioned WHY 8 hrs in this statement i was pointing towards people who are employed by some company.. they get their salary at the end of the month and + commission what ever they bring out the project if the project is implement, otherwise they have to coup up with their salary till the next and work hard in less time.. in my second statement i said “Why not work 16 hour for your self here Twice you work hard… no bossy targets (which really pain in your neck when target time is close and no target achieved)… you have space to work in different fields as per your research and knowledge. In your previous stages there are hardship, struggle, lack of confidence. but while meeting , talking to people sharing with them will surely build up your confidence, talking power and knowledge.. Consultancy is not as easy everyone thing… you have to be strong what ever the Q is… you should prepare yourself in advance, research more and more not only focused areas but also in different criteria… like politics, trade market, gold, oil, commodities, consumer good, malls, transport, traveling etc.. as much as your knowledge grow… your research and capability grows. i see you are fantastically interested for becoming a consultant, but you are in university… well wen i was 17 i started working as a computer hardware store sales man, then as time passes till now (i’m 34) i have done so many experimental works in power, renewable energy, electrical, test & measuring devices, construction, real estate, industrial services, automation, trading (Forex, gold and scrap), Product launching, marketing (electronic, door to door, print), telecom, company image building… the real thing to tell you is that i’m highly appreciating you for the field you have chosen is highly professional as well as reputed. don’t let it go that easy… keep learning day by day.. reach on internet on different field criteria, etc… and in the last my regret and enjoyment… well i never regret as i never give up i enjoy everything what i m assigned to or doing research ‘cuz they increase my knowledge, power and confidence.. and the last one read what is wrote u’ll find… and if you need any kind of help i will assist you and welcome you to be a part of my consultancy universe

    Thank you Chelle,
    Best of luck and may god succeed you in your future

    Signing off………………………………….!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s