Thinking of Becoming a Consultant? 4 Considerations Before Telling Your Boss to Take This Design Job and Shove It

by Curt Moreno
- Jan 27 2015 - 4 min read
becoming a consultant
Micke Tong

Do you hate your job? Are you ready to quit the rat race? If so, you may be thinking about becoming a design consultant and starting your own business.

You may have the right experience, and it should be low overhead. But before you toss a lit match into your office and walk away to start your own business, there are some important things you should consider. In fact, there are four especially important things you need to consider before making this sort of life-changing decision: 1) Why are you quitting? 2) Are you ready to be in business? 3) Is “preparedness” on your list of to-do items? 4) How will you face failure?

So before you make a hasty decision and tell your boss where to stuff it, take a moment to review these four questions you need to ask yourself first.

1. Are You Quitting for the Right Reason? There comes a time in everyone’s life when you think that working for “the man” just isn’t working for you. This is when thoughts of starting your own business can sound the most attractive, but you can’t let that sway your thinking. Before you jump ship, you should consider exactly what it is that is pushing you over the side.

Are you not advancing? Is there too much “passing the buck”? Are you suffering a lack of recognition? All of these are among the reasons lists as the most common reasons people leave their jobs. Whatever you think is the reason to leave your job and become a consultant, be sure it is the right reason.

quitting a job

Examine what you think is the problem and walk it back to the absolute, real cause. You might be surprised to find an entirely different matter at the root of your discontent. Perhaps you’ll find that the real issue is one that can be solved without quitting your job.

In the end, if the reason you are leaving your career to start a new one is anything short of “I’m filled with passion and drive to start my own company,” you may be quitting for the wrong reason.

2. Are You Prepared to Start a New Business? You may have determined that you are leaving your job for the right reason, but are you ready for the next stage? Starting your own consulting business takes more than gumption and a nice smile. Before you turn in the resignation letter, there is plenty of research to be done.

You’ll have to examine the real market potential of your new consulting business. From researching tax responsibilities to legal advice, there is a lot of legwork to do before you can open your own business. Of course, good legal advice from the beginning can be invaluable.

For some people, these items could seem like an insurmountable set of obstacles, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Fortunately, there is a wide range of help when it comes to preparing to open your own consulting business. From the United States Small Business Administration to sites like, there are several resources available to help you research your move to strike out on your own.

interior design consultant

3. Are You Prepared to Avoid Failure? Starting your own consulting business is the beginning of something with the potential for fantastic success. Unfortunately, not every new business can live up to that full potential. The key to avoiding failure is preparedness! Before you call it quits, take a moment and review the many important matters that will give your new business the greatest chance of success.

Have you nursed your fledging business along, while employed, and is it ready to fly solo? Do you have a lock on one or more solid projects to get you off the ground? Do you have a tidy nest egg set aside to weather the lean times?

Preparedness is not simply “wise”; it is essential. Derek Sivers often refers to this as the “Tarzan technique.” Your grandmother may have called it “Looking before you leap.” Whatever you call it, be certain you place “being prepared” before “being unemployed” in your business plan.

4. Are You Prepared to Fail? You’re just about ready to turn in your resignation. You’ve made sure you are quitting for the right reasons. You’ve got your research ducks in a row, and you’re sure you are prepared to succeed. So… what will you do if you don’t succeed?

Can you handle financially lean times? Are you the type of person who is easily discouraged? Or are you the sort of person who has a nice “cash cushion” and positive attitude to land on when you get knocked down? Failures and mistakes may be inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be terminal if you take Guy Winch’s advice and learn from your failures.

business failure

The temptation to quit your job and strike out on your own is something that we have all probably felt. And it is one that could prove to be a great move. However, before making that big move, make sure you have examined all the important aspects and that you are seeing past the romance and bliss of being your own boss. Take a good look at the realities of being self-employed.

Have you looked over these four points and realized now is the time to strike out on your own? Or have you discovered that your plan may need a little longer to bake?

Whether you decide to open your own consulting business or not, a moment of self-examination could be the difference between the best and the worst career decision you’ve ever made.

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