So why did I take the plunge and become an independent consultant? It was more emotional or even spiritual. I had some deep need to make a difference; or more specifically, to liberate human energy at work.
Your reasons may be quite different but I bet your fears are similar:
- I had a great salary and conditions and no idea whether I would be able to replace them
- I had never been a consultant and did not know if I had what it took
- I had always worked in large corporates and never worked by myself
- I had lots of ideas but no real products to sell
- My brand was good inside my company but weak outside
- I was concerned about selling myself, especially cold calls
- I had no idea where my first job would come from or how much to charge.
Your hopes will be different but in some way you will need to weigh them against your fears. When I listed my hopes against my fears they were closely balanced and it came down largely to pig-headedness:
- I hoped my work would be an expression of who I am in the world
- I hoped I would be able to make a difference not only to my client but also to the world
- I hoped I would have far more control over what was delivered, how it was delivered, who I worked with, and how I spent my time
- I hoped my future would be firmly in my own hands
- I hoped I would end up creating an organisation of value and purpose.
So how did it work out? To overcome my fears and reinforce my backbone, for the six months before leaving my bank job, I told everyone I met that I would not be employed by my next birthday. Actually I was still employed, but resigned on my birthday. Without that commitment I would probably still be in the bank.
I worked all my holidays for the last year and cashed in my leave. This paid for a cheap Honda City to replace my company car. It also funded a few weeks without income. It was not easy but it was exhilarating.
I also started working on a strategic plan at nights a few months before leaving and even tried developing a few approaches that I hoped would be useful to discuss with prospective clients when the time came.
I can honestly say that all my hopes have been realised and I have been financially successful; more than most of my colleagues who stayed in the bank, but not as successful as a few who went on to become CEOs of major corporates.
I was lucky. Or was it a case of luck coming to the brave? Anyway, one of the doors I knocked on during the first month was an electricity company with a brand new CEO who had heard good things about me, and I got my first two-month assignment.
Over the next 25 years sometimes I let my clients down as I learned by trial and error. It’s this knowledge and experience that I’ve translated into 23 half-day workshops that you can put in your consultants tool-box. With these 23 modules you can design your own Program. They will make your plunge far less painful, less risky and years quicker. Check them out!