Just over five years ago, I decided to set up my own independent consulting firm after more than two decades of corporate and agency work. While I have learnt a lot during these years, nothing beats independence. Here is why:
- Compared with large agency work, the main benefit of being solo is that your entire focus is on the client, not on your agency. No discussions about your profitability as an employee, no excel sheet to fill in trying to guess what might come in and no endless new business chasing to make the numbers that someone else assigned you. You set your own goals and choose the path to get there.
- Compared with corporate work, the advantage is clearly freedom of thought vs. internal politics which ruin many organisations and teams. You are invited in as an expert for that precise reason that you bring some disruption to traditional corporate thinking, silo work and fresh guidance which is not adversely impacted by internal issues.
- Finally, the variety of assignments make the job fun and rewarding! In the past six months, I have taught advocacy to senior executives from various organisations around the world, designed an online external engagement platform for a global consumer health company, evaluated the advocacy work of a trade association in Africa and co-created the five-year communications strategy of a public institution in Switzerland.
Aren’t you missing teamwork you might ask? It is indeed sometimes a challenge when you are about to press the “send” button and would have liked a second pair of eyes to review that piece. Yet, working in close cooperation with the client team and sometimes partnering with other independent experts in their field can largely replace this lack of teamwork component. Let’s get on with the next five years now!