It was the best career move I ever made.
If you’re looking for flexibility, escaping office politics and having charge of your work, consultancy could be just the ticket.
I had been very happy in my last job and the people were great. The problem was that I reached a stage in my life where I began to feel a bit boxed in.
I needed more personal freedom in terms of when I worked, where I worked and how I worked.
Employees usually have to follow the corporate line. I’ve found that since working as a consultant it’s easier to develop a personal style and brand, which I’ve done through writing, social media and launching a website. Of course employees can make their own mark when they’re working for someone else but it’s harder.
Type of consultancy
Consultancy could involve providing professional services such as doing legal work (like me), finance, management, human resources or public relations work for a company. You could be working with the company’s clients or you may be expected to bring in your own clients with some sort of fee split deal in place.
At Gannons Solicitors, I bring my own work to the firm and have a fee sharing arrangement with the firm. I’m named as a Partner, but that’s simply a title, as recognition for my seniority and experience.
Things to think about
Before taking the leap it’s important to think about who might be able to pass you business. Even when the consultancy role wouldn’t require you to bring in business it’s good to know people in the industry.
Financial security is another factor. It’s sensible to have some savings to tide you over when you’re building up business and between contracts. If you’ve big fixed costs each month, such as a hefty mortgage, you should be careful. Also be aware that consultants miss out on certain rights and benefits including paid holiday, sick pay, private health cover and permanent health insurance.
You will, however, probably have an opportunity to earn more as a freelancer, and there may be tax advantages to consultancy, especially if it’s carried out through a service company. But beware of IR35 legislation, which is designed to tax disguised employment. This is where an individual receives payments from a client via an intermediary and the relationship is such that had the person been paid directly they would be an employee of the client.
The biggest attraction about consultancy for me though is the flexibility it brings.
I have written an article on consultancy which was published in the Guardian.
If you need any advice on consultancy or have general employment law queries please contact 0203 797 1264