I love being a consultant.  The advantages are freedom, flexibility, control, interesting and engaging work, good pay and sometimes equity.  You rarely get caught up in company politics and nearly all of your work is direct value add.

Even before I had kids, freedom and flexibility were important to me. I clearly remember a woman who spoke at my high school for career day.  She worked with computers and did it from home even in those days (pre-Internet).  Freedom and flexibility were key reasons why I chose to major in Computer Science (along with Music and French).  At the time my plan was to live in Aspen, ski all day, and work at night.  I always hated cubicles and especially hated sitting in one at 8:00 in the morning.

You know those three day, all day, strategic planning sessions every company seems to have?  You spend all day in the sessions and then everyone goes back to their desk with a sandwich to get their “real” work done?  You call home and say, “Sorry honey, I’m going to miss bed time tonight.”  As a consultant, I don’t usually get invited to those.  And if I do, well I’m making my daily rate, so the time doesn’t seem so painful.

If I take on a client who turns out to be a flaming jerk, I don’t have to work with him/her next time around.  I don’t say a word to anyone (except maybe the dog) but the next time he/she calls, I can say, “I am so sorry!  My capacity is completely filled for the next 18 months!”

One thing I profoundly enjoy is having my clients take my advice.  They are paying me a healthy rate to be an expert.  I remember telling my Dad that I have to be careful about what I tell my clients to do because they usually do it!  It is very rewarding to see the impact of my work.  Of course, it better be good…

More money

Starting your own consulting business does not mean that you will make less money, in fact I make more.  I like to say, “Don’t lean in, walk out!  And serve it back to them on a silver platter at twice the price.”

Should you make less money because you get to stay home with your baby?  Are you less smart? (Pregnancy brain aside.)  Are you doing lower quality work?  In my experience mothers are more efficient, more productive and more effective.

Better work

I love being a consultant.  The advantages are freedom, flexibility, control, interesting and engaging work, good pay and sometimes equity.  You rarely get caught up in company politics and nearly all of your work is direct value add.

It’s not all or nothing. The choice is not binary.  You don’t have to choose either a) go to work or b) stay home.  How much do you want to work?  Where do you want to work?  Do you want to work for yourself or someone else?  When do you want to work?  Why are you thinking about changing the way you work?  There are so many options.

Work Is Something You Do, Not Somewhere You Go

I do 98% of my work remotely.  I have occasional on-site client meetings, but I never take up residence.  I have some clients that I have never met in person.

Because I work remotely I am mostly available to all of my clients from about 7:00 am to 11:00 pm seven days a week.  My core practice is project management (getting things done) so it’s a huge benefit for the client to have someone keeping things moving sixteen hours a day, seven days a week.  But they don’t pay for sixteen hours a day, seven days a week; they only pay for what they use.

Never miss first steps, first words and school plays because of work

I am passionate about empowering working mothers to have meaningful careers with the flexibility to raise their children the way they wish.  I don’t want you to experience the heartbreak of the mother sobbing at her 6-week postpartum check-up because her employer refused to allow her more than 6 weeks of maternity leave or the female CFO sent on an emergency business trip the morning of October 31, missing Halloween with her two young sons.  What is your why?

You deserve it!

Ready to get lucky?  There is nothing special about me.  If I can do it, you can do it.  When you’re telling people about your services, you are not asking or imposing, you are giving.  Imagine if someone like you had come along just when you needed it most?  You would have been delighted.  If you have something that can help, you owe it to the world to get it out there.  Go big or go home!

Please join our Billable with Baby® Community. We are a group of ambitious mothers starting and running successful consulting businesses.  We empower working mothers to have meaningful careers with the flexibility to raise their children the way they wish.

This is the sixth of the Top Seven Things to Know About Starting Your Own Consulting Business.  I’ve had my own consulting business for more than 15 years and I love it!  In the next post I tell you what I don’t love. 

Top Seven Things to Know About Starting Your Own Consulting Business

  1. It’s easier than you think to get started
  2. Then it takes hard work and risk
  3. Work in an area where you have deep experience
  4. Pent up demand phenomenon
  5. Never let a day go by without doing something to bring in business
  6. What do I love?
  7. What do I hate?

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