Becoming an independent consultant: advantages and disadvantages


Economic, social and environmental issues have greatly transformed the world of work, we are now witnessing new phenomena such as the boom of the freelance lifestyle. Consulting is no exception. Many consultants are resigning from their corporate positions to become independent consultants.

But is it that easy to quit your job and become an independent consultant?

Not quite right. Freelancing, like almost all modes of work, has its advantages and disadvantages.

In this blog post, we will discuss in detail the advantages as well as the disadvantages of becoming an independent consultant, which can guide your career transition decision.

Benefits of being an independent consultant

Gaining independence

Becoming an independent consultant means being your own boss, at your own risk. This means that you will be able to set and manage your schedule, when and where you work, as you see fit, and choose the clients and assignments that suit you best.

You’ll be the sole decision-maker on your culture, business, specializations and more. As an independent consultant, you are the master of your economic destiny. The amount you earn depends on the quality of the services you provide to your clients. This is not necessarily the case for employees. You don’t have to ask your boss for a salary increase.

If you want to earn more, you have to double the effort, find different freelance assignments, or increase your fee. Another privilege you enjoy by working for yourself is that hiring or firing decisions of a company do not affect you, since you are not dependent on one company.

So, if you are really interested in the adventure of entrepreneurship, becoming an independent consultant will allow you to gain independence in all aspects of your life (financial, professional…etc.)

Be recognized for your expertise

Being an independent consultant means being recognized for your expertise in a specific sector or field. Your clients are looking for you to benefit from your experience in your field of expertise and thus solve a problem they are not able to apprehend alone. As a result, you will be able to assist companies in achieving their goals with the necessary skills you have acquired throughout your professional career. However, it is possible that your client will recommend your services to his peers, once your consulting service is completed, and this will allow you to benefit from a better reputation and increase your professional recognition.

This is not the case when you work for a company, the results achieved are theirs, not yours. This means that you don’t have the space or time to develop a personal brand and present yourself to the world. On the other hand, if you feel you have real know-how that can benefit different companies, being an independent consultant will allow you to showcase your expertise and present yourself as an authority in your field to a wider audience.

Gain new experiences

As an independent consultant, you will gain a plethora of new experiences with various companies. Every assignment you get, and every client you work with, will bring you new experiences. Sometimes, working in the same company for years as a salaried consultant generates a certain boring monotony.

On the other hand, this is rarely the case if you are self-employed on your own terms. So, if you want to try new things in your career on a regular basis, you might consider becoming an independent consultant.

Greater flexibility

Unlike employees in the consulting field, who are sometimes required to travel frequently and work for very long periods of time, you are in control of your time and life. You have complete freedom to set your own hours, assignments and location.

Opportunity to work with exceptional leaders and teams

Working with and learning from exceptional and diverse leaders and teams is one of the many benefits of being an independent consultant. In the same vein, you expand your professional and personal network.

The disadvantages of being an independent consultant

Finding new projects can be difficult

Being a freelance consultant means being constantly on the lookout for new assignments, new projects and new clients. So it can be both exhilarating and exhausting at times. Unlike employees, who always have work to do.

How to get around this problem?

You can either use an online consulting platform or seek the help of a payroll agency like Pentabell. If you’re serious about freelance consulting. At Pentabell, we can prospect for new assignments for you and take care of the administrative and accounting side. (instead of doing everything yourself and unnecessarily increasing the load on your shoulders).

Pentabell provides you with a lot of opportunities in different industries (Oil & Gas, transport, energy, it & telecom…).

Limited access

If you like to be in the know, this may not be the position for you. As an independent consultant, you are considered an outside expert/entity. You will have access to required systems and in most cases you will need to request access as needed.

Project risks and impacts on stakeholder relationships

Most consulting work goes hand in hand with change and project management. If a task was missed or delayed, if the project went over budget and schedule, or worse, if it was abandoned or considered a failure, stakeholder relationships can be affected.

The financial insecurity

One of the most well-known disadvantages of being a freelance consultant is certainly related to the lack of financial security, especially when you start your activity.

Indeed, as a freelancer, you will have to go and look for clients and get assignments yourself in order to earn a living.

The uncertainties are usually related to : When will you succeed in getting your first assignments? For what amounts? And will the assignments be regular? You will have to manage your prospecting time well to ensure a good financial turnover and also your production time to build a good reputation on the market. And, like any independent activity, you must be well prepared because some periods will be slower than others. You will need to plan for these down times.

As an employee, you should be paid even if your employer’s business is slow. This is not the case when you are an IC. If you have no business, you don’t make any money. As one IC says, “If I fail, I don’t eat. I don’t have the comfort of punching a clock and knowing the check will be there on payday.”

Increased need for flexibility

As well as becoming an independent consultant requires adaptation with financial insecurity, you will have to show a lot of versatility. You will be more than an independent consultant but you will also be in turn manager, accountant, HRD, sales and communication manager. So many activities to manage that you will have to take into account your schedule, to ensure not only the good management of your company, but also the quality of your customer services. You will be able to be accompanied by professionals to help you accomplish your various missions, but you will still have to reserve enough time to exchange with your customers and ensure the quality of their services.

Why choose Pentabell for your independent consulting activity?

Becoming a consultant certainly requires a long reflection, hence the importance of weighing the pros and cons, and this according to your personality of course and your professional needs before launching yourself.

If you feel ready enough to take the plunge into consulting, we advise you to use a staffing and recruitment agency, which will accompany you during your missions and this means not only taking care of all the administrative management of your activity but also transforming your project of creating an activity into an ambition, into a chance of enrichment and development for you as an independent consultant, who wishes to offer his services.

Being an expert in the accompaniment of consultants in Dubai, France, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia, Pentabell provides you with quality services, which are perfectly adapted to your specific needs. To learn more about our services, we invite you to contact us.

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