Topic for a future post: what are the motivations that take a technology professional (for the case of the author of this Blog, Computer Sciences, Electronic Engineering, Operations Management) to become an independent Consultant, even more being in the Corporate life for many years?
Potentially, we will find more corporate professionals that are driven to opening their own businesses or independent consulting career than similar professionals opting for this type of career from the get go. Do not have any data on this.
Anyway, we are getting ready to engage on Consulting given any motivation or opportunity. How ready are we?
Not unusual to respond to an opportunity given a necessity. We find ourselves in between jobs and receive invitations to participate in a project, we hear from a friend about a good opportunity, we receive an invitation from an agency for a temporary job.
It is OK. Gives is time to think what we want to do, how much more we want to give our body and soul for one company, or have the flexibility to do what we want, when we want, and have a variety of activities of our interest, at our own pace.
While we decide, a few things are important to get ready:
(1) Lay the foundations for your family's life to navigate smoothly (health care, life insurance);
(2) Lay the foundations for your future and retirement (Social Security Tax, Investments);
(3) Lay the foundations to operate professionally (isolate your personal life from your professional life to protect the family and your state from liabilities, have professional accounting and legal services, consider to open an LLC, have your LLC structured with its own bank and credit accounts);
(4) Lay the foundation to always operate professionally (business activities, including bank expenses, clearly separated from personal activities, pay yourself a salary and make formal reimbursements instead of using company's resources for personal matters, always have contracts with clear terms and conditions for any engagement).
Take the opportunity to understand how to build your pipeline of projects and activities. Quite often Consulting engagements take long time to develop and to close. If we do not prepare ourselves the frustration is fatal. Putting all sources together (friends, agencies, temporary, applications through LinkedIn, Development Aid and similar, among others) will produce results at a very low rate of return. It is important to invest a lot from the beginning to enable you to have a pipeline of projects and engagements and then a backlog of deliverables and invoices.
Between now and the day where we have a solid pipeline and backlog, the investment is very significant and time consuming with little to now resources.
At the same time, it is the opportunity to invest on the "low hanging fruits", for example, freelancing engagements from sources like Upwork and similars. Certainly lower hourly rate, smaller engagements but good complements for the early periods where we are starting up on this profession, and also for the future where a more comfortable pipeline exists, gives us room for quick wins and for constant flow of income.