25 Reasons I love consulting.
by William S. Frank
As I was posting these letters online, I realized I want to communicate my love for consulting. It's just a great business. The single letters, taken together, may create a picture of enjoyment, but 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 worked into his 90s, and when asked which book was his best, he said: "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. 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.
- 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 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.