How to Become a Solo Consultant

Exploring Pathways to Self-Employment

Unleash your inner entrepreneur and break free from the chains of traditional employment, and explore the diverse pathways that lead to the realm of self-employment!

The recent period of work-from-home led to the so-called  ‘Great Resignation’. Self-employment has become increasingly popular as professionals look for greater independence, adaptability, and control over their work lives.

Why? You might ‘hate’ your work/long hours/boss/colleagues/commute/travel and need a change. 

The road from employment to self-employment can be both stimulating and difficult. Fortunately, there are a number of routes you can take to make this adjustment. 

We will look at a variety of tactics in this article that can successfully transition you into self-employment.

In this article, we’ll examine some of the pathways you can take to make the shift to working for yourself.

🧗Pathway 1. The Leap

Some professionals possess an entrepreneurial spirit and are ready to take a bold leap into self-employment. This approach involves leaving your current job and diving headfirst into your own venture. While it can be a risky path, it allows for complete focus and dedication to your business idea. Taking a leap requires careful planning, in-depth market research, and a strong network of contacts to support you during the initial stages.


  • Focus: You can give your undivided attention,  dedicate the necessary time, effort, and energy to your business
  • Quick Start: Start your self-employed venture without delay, hit the ground running, make decisions swiftly, and take immediate action to establish your business and attract clients or customers
  • Freedom: Self-employment provides a higher degree of freedom, and autonomy compared to traditional employment
  • Earning Potential: Have the potential to unlock greater financial rewards..


  • Financial Risk: Starting a business from scratch requires an initial investment, and there is no guarantee of immediate or sustained profitability
  • Lack of Stability: Leaving stable employment means leaving behind a regular paycheck, benefits, and job security (if that exists anymore!). It is essential to have a financial cushion and be prepared for potential income instability
  • Limited Support: You no longer have the support of a company structure
  • Skills: Requires developing a diverse skill set, such as managing finances, marketing, operations, and more. 

🏃Pathway 2. Transition 

For those who desire a more gradual shift, transitioning to part-time employment can be a viable option. This approach allows you to maintain a stable income while investing time and energy to grow your own business. By reducing your work hours, you can explore and validate your business idea, establish a client base, and test the waters before fully committing to self-employment.


  • Security: Maintain a stable (lesser) income from your current job while gradually building your own business. 
  • Reduced Risk: Mitigates some of the risks associated with self-employment – test the viability of your business idea, refine your offerings, and assess market demand
  • Smooth Transition: Provides a smoother and less abrupt change from being employed to becoming self-employed
  • Benefits: Retain access to health insurance, retirement contributions, and paid time off continue in the short term.

Disadvantages of Transition

  • Time Challenges: Balancing part-time employment with your self-employed venture can be challenging
  • Slower Growth: While dividing time between your part-time job and self-employed business, the growth of your business will be slower.
  • Limited Availability: Part-time employment means having limited availability for client meetings, networking events, and other business-related activities
  • Delay: Transitioning to part-time self-employment prolongs the time it takes to fully commit to working for yourself. 

🚶Pathway 3. Hybrid

An alternative pathway is to take a job with a consulting firm before transitioning to solo consulting. This approach allows you to maintain a stable income while learning the consulting business. 

Advantages of Hybrid

  • Industry Exposure: An opportunity to work on diverse projects and gain exposure to different clients and build a strong professional network and connections
  • Build Skills: Consulting firms often provide extensive training programs and skill development, including problem-solving, critical thinking, project management, and client relationship management
  • Credibility: Working for a reputable consulting firm enhances your professional credibility and reputation
  • Security: Maintain a stable income, retain access to health insurance, retirement contributions, and paid time off continue in the short term 
  • Smooth Transition: Provides a smoother and less abrupt change from being employed to becoming self-employed than The Leap
  • Side Hustle: Begin your journey by starting a side hustle in your spare time (if you have the energy!)

Disadvantages of Hybrid

  • Time: Working full-time employment means limited time to build your own business. Consultants are expected to work long hours to meet deadlines in a high-pressure work environment and travel frequently
  • Lack of Control: You may have to work on projects that don’t align with your personal interests or expertise and operate within guidelines set by the firm
  • Delay: Transitioning to self-employment will be delayed. 

This is the path I followed, transitioning from 20+ years as a public sector employee to a multi-nation consulting firm. I started while working full-time as an unpaid adviser to a couple of small consulting firms. Moving to consulting was a very steep learning curve for me, together with having to constantly bring in new business, I had to work long hours and it was very stressful. But I learned a lot.

By carefully weighing the advantages and disadvantages, you can make an informed choice that aligns with your ambitions, and risk tolerance.