2016 Independent Consultant's Survey Results: We asked. You answered.
Uberization of the Workforce. Gig Economy the Unlikely Answer to Personal Fulfillment.
Despite the common conception, working alone doesn’t necessarily result in unhappiness. Most business consultants are happier than ever after going independent - and subsequently are delivering more for clients.
A lack of self interest, and a desire to deliver more. Though sounding more like a life mantra than results from a study, these are the findings from the recent 2PS survey on the current mentality and lifestyle of independent consultants. The results derived from a varied pool of top independent consultants in Canada and France indicated that what consultants loved most about their job wasn’t the flexibility or increase in cash flow. It was the ability to deliver more, to work on projects that truly inspire them, and to see how they could deliver huge and measurable results for a business.
Freedom to Follow Your Dreams - and your own schedule.
“Do what you love and the money will follow”. While not ringing true for all trades it seems that for the consulting industry this notion is a key factor to success.
The consultants surveyed who earned either more, or significantly more, than they did when they worked for a company all voiced the same reasons for being content within their job - making a contribution to society, ability to choose their own projects and clients - and personally delivering results.
A smaller percentage liked that they could pick and choose their schedule, allowing them to work on multiple projects and fulfill outside commitments. An even smaller percentage (6.3% to be exact) stated their favourite thing about independent consulting was earning more money, which compared to the 38% of consultants in the high earning bracket, hints that surprisingly money isn’t a primary motivation.
Unrivaled and Tailored Experience.
Alain Pierre has no shortage of industry experience. A previous employee of Bell Canada, and then multimedia and web business manager at Documedia, Alain moved into the world of Finance and accounting, earning his CPA and CMA, and working as an investment accountant, sales and marketing analyst and ultimately management consultant. What is striking about Alain is that there is no shortage of demand for an employee in either of his professional fields- yet he chose to take the independent consultant road. Why? Alain’s experience would go unfulfilled at a company as he would be put in one department - either marketing or finance. He has developed a tailored package,combining his solid foundation of finance and online marketing to understand and utilize the links between both fields. By gaining a solid knowledge base of a client’s structure, finances, and image Alain can use this information to build a measurable creative strategy, always with the end goal in mind - boosting sales through increased online traffic.
Alain is not the only one who thinks his expertise can deliver more for a client by being an independent consultant An overwhelming majority believed they delivered more or significantly more by being independent. Almost half attributed this, like Alain, to their tailored expertise and the unique solutions they have developed from years of education work experience at different companies.
A Flaw in the Old System - and Opportunity in the New
Interestingly enough, a significant portion (33.3%) stated that efficiency and lack of internal corporate bureaucracy allowed them to deliver more for clients.
This finding may appear ironic, since we are naturally led to believe in the safety of a big corporate structure, that the huge number of professionals in itself promises the highest performance in delivering business solutions.
However it seems that professionals in their field disagree with this traditional way of doing business, and it is actually the ease of communication and lack of corporate red tape that makes independent consulting so effective.
Disadvantages of “Uberizing” Your Work
However the path to happiness is never easy, and it seems making the shift to independence is no exception from the rule - initially at any rate. The greatest difficulty stated by the majority of all consultants who have been independent for less than eight years, was the sudden shock of being in charge of their own clients, job acquisition and the subsequent financial instability.
Companies such as 2PS, one of the businesses providing structure to independent consultants by vetting, supporting and pitching them for team assignments, are attempting to assist what independent consultants are missing in their career - stability, client acquisition and a network of complementary skills. These companies believe in empowering the individual, placing emphasis on creating a support network that independent consultants missed when they were part of a big firm. Yann Rouselot- Pailley, founder and CEO of 2PS.com INC is aligned with this ideology stating “Personally, I think that working with a group of independent experts should be as effective as doing business with a large international consulting firm. The only difference should be the price.”.
In this way companies like 2PS are not Uber - aggressively attacking a monopolized industry with a new solution and creating new jobs. They are creating a solution for difficulties people already within the industry face, and in the process, providing an alternative for businesses who couldn’t afford the big names.
Yann stated why this was such an attractive opportunity for him to begin 2PS. “ For reasons like family work balance, the individual loses a lot of the power they enjoyed in their old consulting firm. 2ps is recreating the consulting company experience customers and consultants alike are accustomed to, simultaneously fixing an existing problem and providing an affordable solution.”
Is there a life after consulting?
Almost 60% of consultants plan to remain independent for at least eight years with only 6.3% planning to leave in less than 2.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are planning to leave the consulting business entirely. Many said they were planning to begin their own consulting company or start their own business entirely. A small portion chose to work as an employee whilst many planned to work in independent consulting until retirement.
Is This the Future of Business?
The business world has always changed at a rapid pace. However the gig economy seems to be one of the most recent revolutionary changes within the workforce. With the rise of small and medium enterprises and sudden popularity of start-ups it could be argued there are more opportunities out there than ever - for those willing to go against the constraints of tradition. Will other service industries be revolutionized as much as the Taxi industry by Uber and the accommodation industry by AirBnB? The outcome of encouraging individualism and opportunistic behaviour remains to be seen, however if there is one thing to be derived from these results it is that for the right person at least, making your own path is indeed the road to happiness.