25 Reasons I Love Consulting
by William S. Frank, President/CEO of CareerLab®
I wrote this column in the go-go days of my career, around 2007. Most of it is unchanged. Although traveling at a slower pace with fewer clients, I still love everything about my work.
I no longer consult in the corner office of a 6-story tower, but rather from my home office in suburban Denver. And I don’t have a staff, I’m an independent consultant. Item #21 said, “My career is fairly portable.” The truth is, it’s entirely portable: I work nationally. Now that the organization is slimmed down, it’s more fun than ever. Here’s the text of the original article:
I want to communicate my love for consulting. It’s just a great business. In a burst of creativity I listed some of the reasons consulting is such a good fit for me—and perhaps for you, too. They are not prioritized; this is just how they came out.
- Brand. You are your own brand, and you can define it any way you want. For many years, I provided outplacement to the ex-employees of Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield service corporation. When departing employees left the company, they didn’t request outplacement in their severance package. They said, “I want Bill Frank.”
- Demand. The world will always be full of terrible problems that need solving.
- White Hat. I can be a helper and get paid for it.
- Pay. I can be paid to do things I’d gladly do for nothing.
- Variety. Every day is different.
- Happiness. At this stage of my career, I only work for people I respect and care about. If a client micromanages me or is otherwise no fun, I complete the assignment and replace them.
- Talent. I’m using 110% of my talents and stretching myself to the max.
- Change. I can change my focus any day I want. If you’re a McDonald’s franchisee, you don’t say, “Hey, I’ve got this great idea for a meatball sandwich—let’s try it out today.” In consulting you can adjust your focus hour-by-hour, as long as your clients still understand and appreciate what you do.
- Income. No one else would pay me as much as I pay myself.
- FUN. I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing.
- Retirement. I can write and consult as long as I am physically and mentally capable. Peter Drucker, the founder of modern management, wrote 39 books and lived to be 95. When asked which of his books he liked best, Drucker replied, “My next one.”
- Job Security. Although clients come and go, no one can come into my office and say, “Pack up your stuff . . . You don’t work here anymore.” In 29 years, I’ve only had one employer: ME.
- Travel. Although I’ve consulted in most major U.S. cities, I don’t have to travel unless I decide to. I travel if it’s both FUN and profitable—or at least FUN.
- Commute. I live five minutes from my office, a corner office in an upscale six-story tower. In winter, I leave a heated garage at home and drive to an underground heated garage at work. There’s seldom time to hear even one song on the radio.
- Vacation. Consulting is more fun than vacation (except on Wailea Beach in Maui).
- Friends. I have developed hundreds of close acquaintances and several lifetime friends.
- Time. I can work as much or as little as I like: four-hour days or 18-hour days. (Of course, my income will reflect that.)
- Employees. I can work with employees, subcontractors, partners, or alone—I’ve done it all.
- Passive Income. I’ve developed several products that provide “mailbox money.” I earn while I’m sleeping.
- Ethics. I’ve never had to violate my values or personal code of ethics. I’ve never had to lie, purposely deceive or harm others, or promise things I can’t deliver. I go to bed with a clear conscience. That doesn’t mean there’s never any conflict. But the conflict is conducted according to generally accepted business practices and resolved fairly.
- Virtual. My career is fairly portable. With the Internet, e-mail, cell phone, and FedEx, I can work nationally, even internationally from my office—or anywhere in the world.
- Purpose. I make a difference in peoples’ lives every day. I feel it in my bones, see it in their faces, hear it in their voices, and read it in their thank-yous.
- Experience. Every painful or joyful life experience makes me a better consultant. So does every person I meet or book I read. Grey hair can be good in consulting.
- Structure. I have to work very hard, and the clients expect superb results—but I get to structure my days, weeks, months, and years.
- Boss. Most of the time, I love my boss.