Project Management

12 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Becoming an Independent Consultant

Lonnie Pacelli is an Accenture/Microsoft veteran with four decades of learnings under his belt. He frequently writes and speaks on leadership, project management, work/life balance, and disability inclusion. Reach him at [email protected] and see more at

In my four decades as a professional, I’ve worked as a consultant at Accenture, hired consultants at Microsoft, and engaged with many clients while running my own firm. I’ve seen consulting from many different vantage points—some very positive, others not so much.

Of all these, I have by far enjoyed working in my own consultancy the most. I’m in no way trying to dismiss Accenture or Microsoft; I’m still on friendly terms with them, and strongly advocate them as employers. But going off on my own worked out best for me.

Hanging your own shingle is a bit like a bungee jump: it’s exciting, exhilarating and scary all at the same time. I’ve learned that branching off as an independent consultant isn’t for everyone, and that the most important first step anyone could take is to do some honest introspection on whether being an independent consultant is for him or her.

To that end, I have developed 12 questions that I believe are important to ask if you want to be your own consulting boss:

1. Why do I want to do it? Control over your time? Freedom to choose what you work on? Financial benefit? Whatever your reasons, be honest with yourself about why you want to be an independent consultant and why it is important.

2. Am I comfortable with risk? Hanging your own shingle means you’re operating without a financial safety…

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Waiting for the time when I can finally say that this has all been wonderful but now I'm on my way.

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