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Imagine: You’ve been working in your industry for a while, your expertise has grown, you are respected in the field. You’ve established yourself as a person with a powerful repertoire of skills that serve you, your clients, your company, and your coworkers – But you don’t want to be there.

Maybe you’ve reached a point where you don’t feel there is any more upwards movement. Or perhaps you feel that the office-life isn’t suitable for your lifestyle. Whatever your reasons, if you’re an expert who needs out, then it’s pretty likely that you’ve been eyeing a career in consulting. 

Consulting is a great career, It’s (largely) freelancing in the white-collar sector. But just like freelancing provides great freedoms with great restrictions and frustrations, consulting is not a career that is suitable for everyone. You should be honest with yourself, and ask a few key questions before you dive into a consultant career.

What Certifications/Licenses Will I Need?

The answer to this will vary greatly depending on your field but it’s common for consultants to acquire a certain license or certification to establish your expertise. Accountants require certification, as do most financial professionals. Most careers will require some type of certification for work, but do some research before resigning yourself to a course.

Am I Qualified?

This isn’t a question posed to bring you down or to undermine your confidence. But a career in consulting will require you to be honest with yourself about your expectations and abilities. If you plan on a computer programming or IT consultant, you should know what areas of technology you are knowledgeable in. This applies to all areas of knowledge.

Am I Independent Enough?

Some people can struggle with the transition to an independent career. It’s not an easy thing to do, and you’ll need to analyze your abilities. Are you able to plan and follow through? Are you on top of time management? Are you able to network and build professional relationships? Many questions are revolving around independence, but this is an easier set of questions in a certain way.

Consulting as a career is a very fulfilling form of work, but it’s very difficult. It requires hard work, commitment, and a lot of willingness to live independently. If you believe you can manage this type of work, make sure to plan carefully how you want to make it work for yourself – even making it a part-time job at first can help you ease into a new lifestyle. But if you can make it work for you, then congratulations on the new, rich, and rewarding career!