Consulting brings work-life balance

Struggling with the work-life balance? Consider consulting.
Want to work less and spend more time with your family, but not sure how you can afford it? Dropping out of the workforce can have dramatic effects on your earnings and your career. But there’s a way you can enjoy the freedom, financial rewards and family time. By becoming a consultant, you can earn money, keep a hand in your career, and build balance into your life. And you can decide when to work, with whom to work, and what work to accept. That’s what makes consulting a great choice for a stay at home mom (or dad) returning to work.

Moreover, by fitting consulting into your family life, you can achieve a work-life balance.  You have the benefits of being a stay at home mom or dad, as well as the benefits of returning to work. Sure, you’re taking the risk of going out on your own. But, to break even with those out in the working world, you may not need to earn as much money as you think. In fact, by earning just $300 a month, you may actually be on par with someone earning $50,000 to $76,000.

How’s that possible? To work at a regular job, you may need:

  • a nanny or daycare
  • a second car, complete with gas and insurance (and let’s hope you have free parking)
  • lunches and lattes, whether because you’re strapped for time or you need to network
  • hair and grooming appointments, since you need to look a wee bit more professional than when you’re at home
  • a professional wardrobe
  • drycleaning, delivery or takeout once or twice a week, and a housecleaner four hours a month.

Given a conservative budget, that’s $2,420 to $3,820 a month. However, if you’re being taxed at, say, 35 percent, you actually need to earn $3723 to $5877 to cover those expenses. And that’s before you even start to earn a profit.

So, if you stay at home with your children and avoid those expenses, you provide an economic benefit of $44,677 to $70,523 a year. And if you start earning $300 a month as a consultant (which is an amount so low that you’d be paying almost nothing in taxes), you generate an economic value of $50,215 to $76,061 a year. Your income would also be low enough for your spouse to claim you on their taxes, so you actually generate even more. All by earning $300 a month.

As a consultant, you can earn way more than $300 a month — if you choose to do so. Most of the consultants I know charge anywhere from $65 to $185 an hour. But the important thing is that consulting gives you flexibility. You can work during your child’s naps or early evening sleep. If you have an older child, you can work during school times, but take off professional development days and vacations, and still find time to volunteer for field trips or the parents’ association.

Consulting also means you can keep building experience for your resume. Some moms I know have worked as consultants for just a few years, and then returned to the workforce. Their consulting experience builds their resume, showing time spent managing projects, writing, researching, promoting their businesses, selling their services, overseeing a business, and working with other people — as well as any experience in a particular field or industry. Of course, lots of moms continue working as consultants for years, once they’ve had a taste of the free agent life!

Think consulting might be a good fit for you? Visit, my blog on how to become a consultant. You’ll find tips on everything from setting consulting fees to setting up a home office.

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2 thoughts on “Consulting brings work-life balance”

  1. Consulting is not real work.

    I get so tired of “professionals” in America. These types of people who sit in front of computers, answer phones, and go to meetings all day are directly responisible for job losses in the manufacturing sector.

    We got too many paper pushers and not enough people breaking a sweat and really earning their fair share.

  2. You’re attacking consultants for not doing real work when other people earn millions for singing, dancing, chasing balls around on the grass and so on?

    I’d be more inclined to link job losses in the manufacturing sector to changes in trade agreements.

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