Editor’s Note: Elaine Biech is the president of ebb associates and the author of “The New Business of Consulting: The Basics and Beyond.” This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared under the title, "Consulting Sucks (Sometimes): 15 Ugly Truths to Ponder Before You Take the Leap."
The gig economy is roaring right along, and that means consulting work is more popular than it’s ever been. And the truth is there are many great benefits to becoming a consultant. In fact, you may even be thinking about taking the leap yourself. But before you hang up a shingle, I want you to know a sobering truth: consulting sucks. Well, some of the time it does, anyway.
While consulting work is rewarding, fun and often quite lucrative, no one should jump into it blindly.
As much as I love consulting, it definitely has a dark side. And it’s important to explore some of the darker corners so you’ll know what you’re getting into. Here are some ugly truths to consider before you quit your day job.
According to the Small Business Administration, half of all startup businesses fail within five years. Responsibility for success or failure rests almost entirely with the person who started the business. Some of the reasons include mistaking a business for a hobby; asking friends and relatives for advice; mismanaging money; lack of a business plan; poor or no marketing; lack of pricing knowledge; inability to manage growth; lack of commitment; failure to set and revise goals; inability to develop, monitor and understand financial statements; inability to balance business and family; and underestimation of time requirements.
A lot can go wrong with a startup. You’re better off being prepared up front for the level of effort it takes to stay afloat.
Even though many consultants charge over $2,000 a day, that doesn’t guarantee you’ll “get rich” as a consultant. Without an employer to sha...