As a consultant, you will enjoy income that is much higher than the average.
You will travel relatively often and will accrue many benefits related to travel. You will be able to visit new and interesting places and you will earn frequent flyer miles, credit card points, hotel points, rental car points and many others. You can use those benefits to reduce your actual out-of-pocket expenses for your business travel. You can also use those benefits for personal travel. I have even given some of these awards to family and friends as gifts.
Your work will usually be interesting and will involve the latest technology. You will also have a lot of variety in your work. I have worked in many different industries for both public sector and private sector clients. I have worked in every region of the US and have worked internationally in Canada, Mexico, Australia, Colombia and Trinidad. The challenges and variety will lead to a lot of personal satisfaction.
You will be treated well by clients and associates who recognize your expert status. Service people will treat you well due to your status as a frequent traveler. Your family will treat you well simply because of the benefits that your career provides to them. They will also have pride in your status as an expert.
You should have more time away from your work than a regular employee typically has. That happens because consultants usually work four 10 hour days per week. They travel on Sunday evening or Monday morning and return home on Thursday evening or Friday morning. That means that consultants have a 3 day weekend almost every weekend.
People you encounter will sometimes defer to you.based upon your status as an expert. Your opinion will be sought out and you will lead meetings and conference calls.
Constant travel places burdens on your personal life. If you have a significant person in your life, they will have to deal with any household emergencies that come up when you are gone. That can be very hard on them and on your relationship.
You will miss important events that occur during the week when you are traveling. That is an especially strong negative when you have children. This negative alone causes many people to leave the profession or to avoid becoming a consultant in the first place.
Constant travel may impose some health risks. For example, you will go through airport screenings several times a week. The effects of that could accumulate over time. You will also sit in an airplane seat many hours every week. Limited motion can lead to circulatory health issues.
Stress can be very severe. When a consultant arrives at a client site, you will typically be working on an issue that is critical to them. As you move from client to client, the constantly high priority work can cause stress and stress related health problems.
Consultants must constantly study in order to keep their skills and knowledge current. During my career, I have spent hundreds of evenings in hotels reading and studying.
The constant separation from your spouse can lead to stress in the relationship. It is not uncommon for consultants to experience divorce. Even if it does not lead to divorce, it can still cause jealousy even if there are no in-appropriate relationships.
Consultants must be able to endure quite a bit of time alone. That may not seem like a serious negative until you consider the scale. I have personally spent 4,000 nights in a hotel and I have taken 4,000 flights. That is a lot of evenings alone. It is a lot of meals alone.
For another perspective on the Positives and Negatives associated with a consulting career, please watch my free video. Click on the link below: