Consulting in Retirement
Your Retirement Is The Gateway
To A New and Lucrative Career in Consulting
by Richard C.
Consulting in retirement. Thousands of people each year turn to consulting in retirement to provide a supplementary income and a stimulating part-time second career.
Working as a consultant is a particularity attractive option for someone who is recently retired. The flexibility and potential financial rewards are particularly attractive. An individual who has recently completed a career in a particular field will have a wealth of experience that can be exploited to bring tremendous benefit to clients.
Individuals who are recently retired have significant advantages when entering the consulting profession. This page contains a summary of information that seeks to present a balanced view of consulting in retirement, why it might be suitable for you, and a consideration of the advantages and disadvantages.
Wisdom and Experience
You are quite likely to have many years of hard-earned experience working in a particular profession, industry, or discipline. As the saying goes, 'There are certain things that money just can't buy'; experience, and the wisdom that comes with that experience are two prime examples.
Throughout your career you will have seen highs and lows, peaks and troughs, booms and busts. You will have seen fads, gimmicks, and schemes come and go and you will have the advantage of a medium to long term perspective on such things. This wisdom automatically puts you in the premier-league of candidates to act as an adviser or consultant to a business or institution at a senior level.
In simple terms a consultant is an individual who has a depth of technical skills and experience, combined with an ability to understand the challenges and problems
that his client is facing. The consultant provides practical advice, ideas and recommendations on appropriate solutions and responses to those challenges and problems.
Few individuals can match the levels of experience and therefore credibility
that someone who has fairly recently retired can bring to a situation. One frequent criticism of large consulting firms is that a significant percentage of their front-line consultants are recent college graduates with little professional and life experience.
A mature individual is better placed than someone who is at an early stage in their career to provide coaching and mentoring to members of the leadership team within any organization or institution. You are most likely to have the patience and perspective
combined with the empathy and strong communication skills
that are required to provide high quality consulting services.
It is a sad indictment of educational systems today, but all too often younger people do not have a full suite of basic life skills that are required to provide professional consulting services on a freelance basis. For example the ability to communicate effectively in writing
, using correct grammar, spelling and punctuation are skills that many younger people simply do not possess. In addition, basic numeracy skills
are sometimes lacking.
Your years of experience will also instill confidence in face to face communication and give significant additional credibility when presenting ideas and recommendations to small groups.
Throughout your career you most likely will have built a tremendously broad and deep base of contacts across a number of diverse dimensions. If your client is looking for a particular individual with specialist skills and experience of tackling problems of a particular nature and then it is quite likely that you will be able to introduce someone either directly or indirectly who can assist.
Nothing to Prove
A consultant who is semi-retired will have a different perspective on assignments and working with clients. It is likely that you will have a reasonably stable income derived from the pension from your working life. You will not be reliant on the fees earned from consulting work and as a consequence your perspective will be different as will the advice that you will give.
It is likely that you will be more objective and independent in your work and your views will not be influenced by commercial considerations or factors associated with job retention or career advancement. Your clients will recognize this and value your input, advice and opinions more highly than if they were delivered by a career consultant.In simple terms you are much more likely to "tell it as it is."
Consulting in retirement is considered by many to be the ideal business model.
A key advantage is the flexibility offered by consulting on a freelance basis. As a freelancer you can pick and choose the assignments that you accept and retain significant control of how your time is allocated through the year between working and relaxing.
For example, you could determine that you will be available to work with clients through the winter months but that through the summer you will be unavailable. An alternative model would be to work two days per week leaving the remainder of the week and the weekends available for travel and relaxation.
Consulting in retirement offers the potential for significant financial reward in exchange for relatively little time invested. The day rates that an experienced consultant can command are significant; clients happily pay a premium for a short and focused intervention from an individual who has real depth of experience in a particular area.
Furthermore, the setup costs and ongoing overheads can be relatively low if you are able to establish a simple office facility in your home. Most freelance consultants spend the majority of their working time on client sites and never receive visits from their clients at home. To work effectively as a consultant in retirement your main expenses will be the purchase of the laptop and printer; sourcing some business cards and stationery; occasional travel and accommodation and professional indemnity insurance.
Another advantage to consulting is that it is brain work rather than a physical work. Working with clients provides tremendous variety and challenge and the stimulation required to keep the mind active and buzzing into later years.
Some Practical Considerations
Consulting in Retirement Is Not All A Bed Of Roses
There will be some challenges and tasks that you will need to handle as a consequence of working as a consultant in your retirement. For example you will need to promote your services and market yourself effectively.
This requires persistence, time and some effort.
It will inevitably be the case that sometimes you will be offered an assignment where the timing does not suit you perfectly, or put another way, your sales pipeline is likely to be lumpy at times
. However, on a positive note, as a retired individual with greater discretion as to how you use your time, you are likely to have greater flexibility to respond positively to unexpected requests from clients.
Another important consideration is that you will need to deal with, or pay someone on your behalf and to deal with, the administration, accounting and taxation matters
associated with providing consulting services in retirement.
Finally, there are a number of risks
that you will need to anticipate and manage. For example, the risk that a client becomes over reliant upon you and requests more of your time than you are willing or able to provide. Another risk is that the scope or duration of an assignment expands beyond initial expectations. A simple engagement letter defining the terms of reference for the assignment will allow you to manage this risk effectively and maintain the ongoing integrity of your relationship with the client.
Consulting in retirement offers the potential of significant reward, enjoyment and flexibility. For a wealth of practical information and tools visit www.independent-consulting-bootcamp.com