I know what you’re thinking…I’m a consultant so either this is a self-loathing mea culpa or I have a point. Bear with me because I do in fact have a point. The thing about consultants is that we generally are really skilled at something, that’s why we’re consultants. But we are workers, fixers, problem solvers. We aren’t business owners and that is something that I have come up against recently, so here’s what we need to do if we are going to stop being consultants and start being business owners.
You can’t work the contract and run the business
I know that we are small businesses but the truth is that we can’t keep thinking small if we want to succeed. We have to have a game plan, a future strategy that will keep on us on target. If we always think in terms of us keeping the lights on, we will never move past that point. So work on the project for now, but focus on securing the contracts and building a staff that can complete them.
You are not a business owner if you move from one 40 hour contract to another
I have sat through many heated ‘conversations’ about consultants being business owners, and the one thing I know is this… You cannot do everything. If you are working a full-time gig (project or not) you aren’t working on your business. If you only accept things that are 40 hours you are looking for employment not projects. Most of the consultants that I know chose to be consultants because of the flexibility and because we worked projects; so if you are working full-time anywhere, temporarily or not, you are an employee. Plain and simple.
Growing a business is a full-time job
Everything you’ve given up for this dream, everything you’ve lost and everything you’ve gained makes this something you cannot do part-time. It’s like poker, either you’re all in or you’ve folded. You can’t take gradual steps to committing to your business. Do or don’t but for God’s sake make a decision. You can do whatever you want, whatever works for your life but know that you will have to do something. You will have to choose.
Being a business owner is a lot of things, but easy it’s not. People will judge your worth based on nothing solid but that won’t stick if you’ve made the commitment to see this thing out. To just be bold and go all in. It’s scary and it’s intoxicating, but you know what? It’s so worth it.