Thinking about consulting?

by Peter Osborne on June 22, 2010 · 0 comments

So you’ve been out of work for far longer than you — or anyone else in the family — ever expected.  You had — or more correctly, have — something special but nobody seems to be seeing it.  Nobody’s calling back, and that ”perfect job” you applied for attracted 200+ resumes within three hours.   And now your severance is gone.  Or will be soon.
So what’s next?  Assuming the issue is not your failure to develop a compelling personal brand or effectively help recruiters and hiring managers find you, for many people the answer to the What’s Next? question is exploring consulting or project (1099) work. 

 You won’t be alone in making this decision: The number of people who have been out of work for more than six months hit 6.7 million in April 2010, nearly 46% of the unemployed.  The New York Times says we’ve lost 8.4 million jobs in this recession and many of those jobs aren’t coming back.  As many as 23% of U.S. workers are operating as consultants, freelancers, free agents, contractors, or micropreneurs, according to the Wall Street Journal.  The percentage of unemployed workers starting companies rose to 8.6% in 2009, a four-year high, with the biggest increases among people 55 and over, according to the Challenger, Gray & Christmas outplacement firm.  The underemployment rate — which counts people who have given up looking for work and those who are working part time for lack of full-time positions — rose to 17.1% in April, from 16.9% in March.

The trend toward “portfolio careers” — where individuals cobble a career together from multiple consulting (or 1099) engagements is growing and demand for high-end temporary business talent is not focused on cost-cutting projects but on driving innovation.

But not so fast.  Even with a great value proposition or skill, it’s not that easy.  First you need to think through whether you have the temperment for the ups and downs of this strategy.  Then you need to think about company structures, the sales process, and a myriad of other things.

Recapturing what you used to make may not happen for years, if ever.   The percentage of new projects you win will be much lower than you might expect.  Many people warn that you can’t do a full-time job search and consult at the same time…at least not effectively. For many people, the process of selling yourself is more daunting than a root canal and may require skills that are somewhat alien to those you had when your company was giving you direction.

On the other hand…

The best way to find a full-time job may be through an “audition strategy,” where you demonstrate your value to a full-time employer prospect through a short-term project.  Many people think that’s the best way to separate themselves from the masses these days.  And this may be a way to pay the bills and prevent you from taking a job that will make you miserable.

This site is designed to help you make the decision and then, if you move forward, be successful.  In addition to unique content, we will also provide links to other sites with great advice and content.

So, what scares you about making the leap to consulting or project work?  What will help you make the decision or be more successful?  Simply put, what kind of content can we offer that will make this a site you’d bookmark?  Please send us your thoughts at  peter at consultantlaunchpad dot com. We look forward to hearing from you.

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