I’m just coming out of a fairly intensive period, and of what? Consulting work. Who would have thought.
In the last couple of years I tested relation with consulting industry from three different angles: as an employee of a large international company, as a freelancer, and now as an operator of a stand-alone consulting practice. Each has its set of pros and cons.
As an employee you get comfort, stability and benefits, and initially you can learn a lot. However, you don’t have any control over your life, you are not rewarded for managing projects unless you are a manager, and you are not rewarded for selling projects unless you are a partner (and I love selling projects).
As a freelancer, you get control over your time, you have incentives to sell and most likely you earn more money. You don’t have direct responsibility for projects, so I was thinking you would be under less stress, too. However, I discovered that watching some people managing projects and having little influence over them is more stressful than having the whole responsibility for the project myself.
Which brings me to third mode of operation, negotiating and selling projects oneself. It’s a hell of a fun so far. It’s like having a startup, but in area when you have the most expertise, so it’s like a ride downhill. You make all decisions. You can invest in research and development to improve the way things are delivered. Or hire people you want to work with.
Sure, it might be just a honeymoon period, but I’m enjoying it enormously.