What’s the scariest thing about consulting?

I jumped into consulting when I was still wet behind the ears. My mom bought me a t-shirt that said, "Fear: the thief of dreams". She saw me as a risk taker.

Well, I wouldn’t say I was fearless or that I had nothing to lose. But I was confident in my goals. I’d been planning my launch into consulting for a long time. And I became a consultant a little bit at a time. I’d figured out  what consulting I should do, written a business plan, set my consulting fees, established an emergency fund and so on. It wasn’t that I was fearless — it was that I had a plan.

For me, the scariest thing was that I’d stay in a 9 to 5 job and never pursue my dream. I was worried that I’d never feel the satisfaction of:

  • landing my first client
  • handing out a business card with my own company’s name on it
  • telling people I owned a consulting business
  • getting my first contract signed
  • cashing my first check from a client
  • growing my own business

What do you see as the scariest thing about consulting or starting a consulting business?

3 thoughts on “What’s the scariest thing about consulting?”

  1. Thanks for your comment, Tony. It’s important for people who are a bit risk averse to look at all the ways they can get into consulting on a gradual basis. By picking up consulting work while you’re still employed, at home with kids, easing into retirement, or unemployed, you can take it easy. Some people like to pick up a part-time or casual job if they’re consulting full-time. Then, when the time is right, you can make the move to full-time work. It just depends on your temperament.

    As for me, I’ve got kids, a mortgage, cars, renovations…all the costs of being a grown-up and no problems with being a consultant!

  2. Tony - Support Analytics

    Starting a business:
    Uncertainty! Not knowing when you will be paid, how much you will make and being able to plan for the future. With a “regular” job, you know exactly how much money you will make each year and can accurately plan for big expenses and monthly bills.

    There are many upsides to working for yourself, but too many people just can’t give up the safety of a bi-monthly paycheck. Maybe it’s due to kids, tuition, daycare, car payments, mortgage, etc.

    Sales and being able to add value to justify the fee you charge is scary. Rejection is another big fear. Cold calling.

    The things you listed as satisfaction for consulting is right on! When someone asks what you do and you tell them you own and operate a consulting business in xxx, there’s no better feeling!

  3. Small Biz Tech Talk Blog

    I think one of the scariest things for a lot of people starting their own businesses can be the networking aspect. First of all, deciding how to talk about your business – designing that dreaded “elevator speech” that’s going to become like a broken record to you when you’re attending local business events, etc. and talking about what you do – is always difficult. But then actually using it, shaking hands, taking the chance of meeting other people in your community and putting yourself out there can feel really daunting and for some people, awkward. Of course, it’s really important to your business if you ever want to have any clients worth a salt, but it can still be intimidating when you’re first going out there on your own with few or no clients, very little track record and just a handful of (or sometimes zero!) contacts.

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