As I celebrate my 20th year in business with a fresh new logo and updated website, I think back on my choice to go independent. People often ask, how did you decide to go into consulting? And, is it worth it? For me, the answer is absolutely. I had a dream of owning my own consulting business – of growing it, and mentoring junior consultants along the way. Consulting satisfies my desire for frequent change, while being able to apply a familiar, seasoned skill to the process. A focus on project management has allowed me to develop expertise in a specific area, while applying it across a variety projects in different departments, companies and industries.
Weighing The Risk
Initially, the move toward independent consulting felt risky. I had to plan for the financial gap between projects, unpaid vacations, sick days, kid-care outages, and saving for retirement, while waiting 6-8 weeks for payment on an outstanding invoice. I created a step-by-step marketing action plan, to keep me on track while searching for each next engagement. It was a financial risk that my hubby and I both felt, although he eased the burden by carrying our health care insurance. Over the years, I have learned that the risk is offset by knowing that if I do the right thing, what I need will be provided.
The timing was never right to grow my business – so after 20 years as the sole Principal of Nikki Kelly Consulting Inc., I get my mentoring fix through coaching resources on my client projects.
Reaping the Benefits
Management consulting was the perfect choice for me! It offers me the opportunity to continually learn new things, meet new friends, share a unique perspective, and have flexibility along the way. By venturing through different areas of several companies, I have learned about processes, client interactions, sales and analysis tools, app development, regulatory compliance, IT infrastructure…the list goes on. The learning is endless, and it is enhanced through the relationships of many people. I am surrounded by smart people, who have a passion for helping their organizations succeed. I receive great joy in working with these talented resources, who teach me and enrich me! Consulting also offers the opportunity to share a unique, internal/external perspective. I am able to share ideas from other experiences that may be new to the project or company – and also to at times be quite candid about something that is blocking the way for success. These ideas and frank discussions can drive change and new behavior – it’s fulfilling to be part of that change. Consulting offers me flexibility to sign up for the gigs that I want, establish a schedule that works for me, and determine the level of challenge that fits at a particular point in my life.
Consulting gives me a sense of pride that comes with being an entrepreneur and actively shaping my destiny. Consulting is definitely worth it!