Any top-biller with half a brain, after a while, will be thinking about this question.
After adding such an amazing impact for the companies you worked for or transforming a billion USD valued organization or leading a 100+ size team, the very exciting question always pops up to any top biller mind - "Shall I start my own consulting firm?"
There are tons of success stories that basically often hide the rate of extremely high failure rate of that initiatives. As someone who has a. done it b. seen others try it and c. business or digital transformation consultant or digital transformation expert.
Today I will not write to tell you to take off and have a horrible crash landing right outside the airport. But I am writing to help you so you can manage the risk and have a proper start if you are committed to doing so. So let's start - 0. Where are you NOW?
Ask yourself 7 times are you committed doing it? If you get 5+ times to answer "YES", then oki, you can think further. but it's the very basic steps, so it's call level 0.
1. Formula of an absolute DISASTER
If you starting your own firm because no one wants to hire you means you are in big trouble. Your firm will never take off, just forget about that and focus on your own personal or professional development. 2. You NEED a solid capital base/financial foundation Goes without saying, if you run out of funds to sustain your business, you'll be crawling back to employment again. 3. You NEED a low cost of living/good financial skills If your personal burn rate is outpacing your revenue growth and much of your income is used to pay off your cost of living, it will be really hard to turn a profit and soon you may be overburdened with mounting bills. *Note: this is why so many top-billers don't set up their own firm. They need the structure of employment to cover their downside risk.
4. You NEED a strong business team or at least a partner.
If you're all by your lonesome CONSULTING away, life can get really burdened with too many reqs and too little time. Plus, who's going to do all the marketing, admin, operating, selling/recruiting, financial budgeting, hiring, training... etc.? YOU. That's not a firm, that's ME-ME game! *Note: This is another reason why top-billers don't start their agencies. And that's really good for them too. 5. You NEED to have experience if you have not done yet, couple of billion-dollar USD business transformations, just forget to start your own. Because you don't have the experience, client, people and baseline yet. If you even start without those, yes, there is a little chance that you will be able to establish one day a firm (which actually generates revenue) but with effort, work and quality of life you could get most likely will be way too less rewarding. *Note: this is why my mind is boggled when a consulting or manager-only person or low-level biller thinks they can run a consulting firm. That's only could make way less than their job salary for years. 6. You NEED to have a strategy What is your business model? What is your operating model? what books did you read last few years? What's the end goal? Work til you drop? Make a few hundred thou and sail off into the sunset? What's the end game here? Why is this better than having a stable job and being a top-biller for someone else? What's your route to market? How are you going to make clients pay you? 7. You NEED to work your a$$ off The quality of life and work-life balance as a business owner is always going to be tough because the responsibility and mental burden is stronger than working for someone else. Summary of the story: 1. This. is absolutely FINE to join a team or working with others. If you don't like your company, change the job by finding a better manager. If no one wants to hire you means you need to build your new skills which are demanded in the labor market. 2. The skill paid you well yesterday at work, does not mean that skill will pay you well tomorrow too. So don't forget your regular professional and career learning plan. 3. Think long and hard before making perhaps the best (or worst) decision in your life. 4. Where there's a will, there's away. But it will be never easy which is GOOD.
5. Just make sure you're doing the right thing for you, your family and the people around you. This is never your alone game.