In the September 26, 2017 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter, a reader asks whether it’s worth trading a budding consulting business for a “real” job.
I’m an avid follower and have found Ask The Headhunter positively inspirational. I especially enjoy pushing back on senior executives for their lame hiring practices and nonsensical rejection methods.
Anyway, here’s my situation. I set up my own consulting practice while job hunting. It’s been 15 months and the business is growing, but I’m also finally getting close to a job offer. The role is in my field of expertise and it’s as full-time internal consultant for a huge multinational.
I’m toying with the idea of pitching an outsourcing (consulting) arrangement for my firm in place of taking the job they’re interviewing me for. It makes sense as they would gain extra manpower, and I know we could do a better job for the same cost. But I’m concerned this proposition might derail the process. What do you think?
Ask The Headhunter is largely about helping people get jobs, because few people are capable of doing what you’re doing – starting and running their own little business.
I make no bones about preferring to see people run their own show rather than get a job, but it’s not for everyone. Neither option is very secure, and when you work for yourself you usually come to realize you work for a slave driver who’s often a jerk. (Believe me, I know!)
But when things go perilously wrong in either scenario – having a job or a business – it’s only when you’re your own boss that you get to make the critical choices. You always have the chance to right the ship.
It sounds like you have some employees in your little firm, and you may be willing to let them all go. But regardless, I think the bigger question to ask yourself is, Does it really matter if turning your interviews into a sales presentation does derail the hiring process?
This leads to more good questions. So start consulting yourself:
- If you pitch a consulting option to the employer that turns them off, can you replace the lost job opportunity with other new clients?
- Even if you try to switch this to a consulting gig and fail, will you learn enough from the experience to make you a better salesman the next time you try?
- Can you afford to give up this job opportunity and continue what you’re doing on your own? That is, do you need the kind of security a job offers more than the benefits your own business provides?
- Is this job opportunity worth giving up the progress you’ve made with your own biz?
What’s the risk?
You’re worried about the risk of losing a job offer which, by the way, you did not say is a sure thing. All I see is an expected bump in the road for someone who is growing a little consulting business.
It’s hard to shake the idea that you need a job. If you accept a job offer, will you be able to shake thoughts of what you might have accomplished with your own business?
I offer you no advice. I just don’t know enough about you and, besides, this is a choice you must make. If you need the salary and “security” a job offers, I’m the last guy to criticize you if you decide to accept it.
Songwriter Paul Williams wrote during the Viet Nam War that, “Peace is just the impossibly high first step.” So is taking any risk if you have a worthy goal.
I wish you the best, and I’d love to know what you decide and how it turns out. Thanks for your kind words about Ask The Headhunter!
Have you traded a job to start your own business? What questions would you tell this reader to ask? Has anyone out there made the move to start a business, and then gone back to a regular job? What did you learn that might be instructive for this reader?