Writing as a “Consultant” – Is It For You?

Every professional writer probably at some point in his/her life considered whether to work for a company or go at it along as a consultant. There are pros and cons to both positions.

Let me spell out the #1 pros and cons of both work styles.

********** PROS

#1 reason to work as a consultant: MONEY. Consultants usually make more per hour than payroll employees.

#1 reason to work as an employee: SECURITY. Usually employees do not have to worry where their next paycheck is going to come from.

********** CONS

#1 disadvantage of working as a consultant: SECURITY. You make a lot of money WHEN you do work. But working 2,000 hours a year like a payroll employee may not be possible. Like the joke about the unemployed guy who brags that he makes $2,000 an hour BUT – he can work only one hour a year.

#1 disadvantage of working as an employee: MONEY. Yes, your job is ready for you waiting when you show up for work every day. You do not need to go out and chase your next customer. But are you making as much as you should? Perhaps you do and perhaps you do not.

********** OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

MARKETING. Are you good at marketing yourself? Can you work a room or join a crowd, make easy small talk, win people’s trust and not be embarrassed about publicizing what you do at every opportunity? If you are comfortable with all that you should consider consulting. Otherwise stay with your company.

DISCIPLINE AND ORGANIZATION. Are you a good organizer? Does your desk look clean and tidy? Do you plan your days and weeks ahead of time? Do you use an organizer? Do you go to your appointments always early? Can you shut down the TV or not go to that movie when you need to finish an assignment? Then perhaps you should consider consulting. Otherwise stay with your company.

TOLERANCE OF AMBIGUITY. Can you absorb ambiguity well? Can you stay calm and not panic when you don’t know where the next check is going to come from? Can you be patient and tolerant when your customer gets flustered and creates unanticipated problems? Can you think fast on your feet and improvise at the last second and still make it look like you’ve got a plan for every contingency? Then perhaps you should consider consulting. Otherwise stay with your company.

SELF ACTUALIZATION. Is it important for you to “create” and “build” something, to leave a legacy of good works of which you are the principal author? Do you enjoy the limelight? Do you like taking full credit both for your failures as well as your accomplishments? Do you think to be your own boss is a great achievement in life, no matter how much you end up making? Then perhaps you should consider consulting. Otherwise stay with your company.

Ugur Akinci, Ph.D. is a Creative Copywriter, Editor, an experienced and award-winning Technical Communicator specializing in fundraising packages, direct sales copy, web content, press releases, movie reviews and hi-tech documentation. He has worked as a Technical Writer for Fortune 100 companies for the last 7 years.