I used to do a bit of consulting, but I saw it as a capital-friendly business development opportunity:
Rather than pay to fly out to talk to people about my regular products or services, I repackaged my bus. dev. [read: sales] activities as a paid consulting gig (at the very least, business-class international travel and accomodation paid for).
It worked quite well and was quite nice while it lasted.
Now, my wife sees consulting as a way to get a paid holiday every now and then …
… but, I see it largely as a waste of time.
I also see it as largely a waste of time for those who aspire to consult as their major source of income:
I feel that the biggest mistake that aspiring consultants make (particularly those setting up as an independent consultant/speaker) is to OVER-ESTIMATE their earning potential.
I once posted about a friend of mine, having sold out of his own business, who decided to become a consultant to his particular industry … his earning expectation is $200k for his second year in the business.
I told him “it won’t happen” …
You have to apply the ‘smell test’ to these sorts of expectations … wouldn’t EVERYBODY leave their $100k a year jobs if you could suddenly earn twice as much as a consultant?
… and, what about ‘lost time’ for marketing yourself, vacations, illness, accounting and business admin.?
Clearly, you have to build up to this (find a unique niche, build a reputation, etc. etc.) and that takes time … a lot of it.
For example, a top sales consultant in Australia recently said that he still spends at least two to three days a week in sales i.e. drumming up new business. Let’s assume that that time includes all of his admin., as well.
That means that he is spending a maximum of 2.5 days per week billing clients for face-to-face time less any unbooked time, travel time, research time, report-writing time, etc., etc.
You may be able to earn $1k+ per day, but I doubt that you can keep that up for 220 working days per year …
You do the math!