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7 Reasons Why Running an Independent Consulting Firm Rocks

On July 4th, Americans celebrate throwing.

Throwing off the yoke of British rule, throwing baseballs, throwing barbecues and throwing back beers. Not throwing trees—that’s more of a European thing.

In the spirit of independence, celebration, and throwing. Let’s throw a party for independent consulting and toss out a few reasons why it rocks.

Feel free to join the party and jump in the pool if you’re part of (or want to be part of) an independent, boutique firm. That includes solo consultants too.

Woo hoo! Red and blue plastic cups for everyone.

As you scan the list of advantages below, you may realize you’ve lost sight of one or two, and that you’re not fully enjoying the benefits of running an independent consulting firm. This is a perfect opportunity to transform your consulting firm into a rewarding, supportive, dream practice.

Why Independent Consulting Rocks

No Taxation without Representation

As a leader of an independent consulting firm, you fully control the infrastructure costs, and there are probably few (if any) employees who toil without a close connection to you.

Independence Question: Are you spending your “tax” dollars effectively, and are you truly listening to employees?

You Create the Culture

You can create the perfect, corporate culture to support your personality and aspirations. Hard charging or laid back; employee-focused or revenue driven; loosely managed or command-and-control; cheerfully light-hearted or seriously intense.

It’s all up to you.

Independence Question: Are you purposefully shaping a culture you want to live in?

You Select Work that Turns You On

The problems that plague people and companies are myriad. Countless and infinitely varied. Focus your firm on one that’s pervasive, urgent, expensive to leave unsolved and that tickles your fancy.

You can dedicate your talents to virtually anything you want—as long as there’s demand for it.

Independence Question: Are you tackling projects every day that rev your engine?

You Choose Your Clients

Clients can be rude, condescending, unresponsive, stingy, thoughtless or worse. But not your clients. (See this article.)

Independence Question: Are you declining work from clients who would detract from your joy in consulting?

You Create Your Job

One of your work life’s early lessons was that every job includes tasks that are tedious, unrewarding and/or unpleasant.

Forget that lesson.

As the leader of an independent consulting firm, delegation and offloading are not only your prerogative, they’re imperative for your consulting practice to thrive.

Independence Question: Are your hours spent only on tasks which you enjoy and at which you excel, or could you be delegating and offloading more?

You Choose Your Work Hours

Want to align your schedule with Latvian business hours so you’re always free when your relatives in Daugavpils leave work? You can do that!

Want to take off Tuesday and Thursday mornings to play hockey? You can do that too. (I’ll pass the puck to you.)

You can even spend all of September gallivanting around Italy. (I’ll pass a slice of tiramisu.)

Independence Question: Are you working hours that suit you?

Your Reason:                    .

This list of reasons independent consulting rocks originally had over a dozen entries, and I probably lopped off at least one that’s important to you.

Please add it back by using the comments section.

Celebrate your independence. Throw your ideas into the conversation.

Why else does running an independent consulting firm rock for you?

  1. Jim
    July 4, 2018 at 6:20 am Reply

    You continually learn and get an eagle’s eye view of your chosen field

    • David A. Fields
      July 4, 2018 at 6:45 am Reply

      Great point, Jim! Independent consulting is a particularly good field for those of us who are addicted to learning.

  2. Paula Brancato
    July 4, 2018 at 7:02 am Reply

    Yes yes. This is the entire point 🙂

    • David A. Fields
      July 4, 2018 at 8:00 am Reply

      Fireworks burst overhead, and the crowds of independent consultants delightedly chant, “Yes, yes, yes!” Something like that, right Paula? Enjoy your well-deserved holiday.

  3. Dan Monaghan
    July 4, 2018 at 7:59 am Reply

    You can try things without jumping through a bunch of corporate hoops.

    • David A. Fields
      July 4, 2018 at 8:04 am Reply

      You are so right, Dan. We have the freedom to actually solve problems and create value, without wading through the morass of company politics and administrivia.

      Excellent addition to the list.

  4. Del Gilbert
    July 4, 2018 at 8:10 am Reply

    You minimize dealing with corporate bureaucracy, politics and trivia. Also, your compensation is more directly tied to your effort.

    • David A. Fields
      July 4, 2018 at 8:20 am Reply

      Two, excellent benefits, Del. We’re unencumbered by the speed limits large enterprises impose through structure and rules. As a result, we’re in an exciting and rewarding environment.

      Thanks for chiming in with both of those important benefits, Del.

  5. Christian Milaster
    July 4, 2018 at 9:24 am Reply

    Great reminder David, thank you.

    1. You get to chose the people you work with (and, to your point, work for)
    Example: I have a network of 10 independent consultants that I carefully cultivated over the past 2 years and now get to work with each of them in their area of expertise on projects I’ve won.

    2. Along the lines of Jim’s comment: You get paid to learn (or even to do business development).
    Example: My option 2 for a speaking engagement for an association meeting includes interviewing 5 association members, thus increasing my network and my chances to land a consulting project with the association members.

    • David A. Fields
      July 4, 2018 at 10:00 am Reply

      The opportunity to choose what you do (and don’t do) and, amazingly, to get paid to learn are two of the very best aspects of independent consulting. No question about that.

      I appreciate you including the illustrations of how you’ve applied the benefits of independent consulting in your practice. Very instructive examples, Christian.

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