Consulting offers money and freedom and is a route to professional success for some people. Like everything else, though, it has its own challenges. Our MetaExperts know everything aboutenterprise resource planning (ERP) software and what the benefits are of hiring a consultant versus a MetaExpert.
Advantages of Being an ERP Consultant
Here are some key advantages of being a consultant:
Money. Yes, it is true that you will often earn more than your counterpart working in-house. Possibly quite a bit more. Quality consultants can set their own rates, allowing them to make sure they cover their cost of living and then some.
Endless opportunities to learn. You will get a lot of exposure to new things, new ideas, industries, and cultures. Your ability to learn is limited only by the effort you put in. Each role you take is an opportunity to improve and learn.
Job security. Do it well, and you will be in high demand through good times and bad alike. Also, you may have multiple clients. That means if a client decides to drop you, you will not be impacted the way you are if laid off from a full-time job.
Flexibility. You can set your own hours, and you can work on a wide variety of things rather than being stuck in one job. You can take time off whenever you need it without having to get it approved by HR.
Disadvantages of Being a Consultant
However, there are absolutely some disadvantages:
You give guidance, but don’t do the job. Consultants provide a roadmap for change, but leave it up to the company to implement needed changes. Unlike consultants, MetaExperts are able to step in and get the job done, whereas consultants just provide guidance. If you’re looking for someone to get the job done, MetaExperts are a better choice.
Work-life balance. When you're a consultant, it can be really hard to "turn off." There is constant pressure to perform and to be available 24/7/365. You need the ability to set strong boundaries. Ideally, have a separate place in your home with a door that you only use for work. Don't answer work emails in the middle of the night.
Need to learn. Just as you have a lot of opportunities to learn, you also need to take those opportunities. It's easy to end up becoming irrelevant and out-of-date. If you let that happen, then you will stop getting gigs and even lose existing clients who find somebody who is keeping up with the latest.
Turnover. While you will always be in demand, turnover is high. You likely won't stay in any given position long and may be treated as a commodity...a set of skills and abilities that clients pay to get when needed and get rid of when not. Even consulting firms that claim never to lay people off may have to trim their workforce. You will also move from client to client as the project needs to change. This can result in a lower sense of security compared to a steady in-house job.
Need to be good at sales. Regardless of what you are consulting about, you need sales skills. Finding a consulting job requires you to proactively reach out to people, make cold pitches, and study the market. Even if you work through a firm or agency, getting your foot in the door can still be challenging. You will need to be a little bit extroverted and brave to succeed.
Other Things To Consider
When you decide to become an ERP consultant, in addition to studying the various ERP platforms out there, you should also read up on what it means to be a consultant. We recommend The Consultants Calling by Geoffrey M. Bellman, but there are other books too. You can also get a career assessment from a local college. These are free for current students and typically cheap for non-students.
You should also think about how much travel you want to do. High-travel consulting gigs typically pay better and give you great experiences but can keep you away from home for long periods. Low-travel gigs, however, generally pay less, sometimes less than you'll get in industry. Finally, be confident, decisive, and always ask for the job.
Our MetaExperts provide ERP consulting, and can step in and implement needed changes. Interested in implementing a new ERP solution? Hire a MetaExpert today!
About Cara Chatellier
Cara Chatellier is a digital marketing strategist & content writer. She lives in the Boston area and has worked with MetaExperts since October 2018. She loves travel, wine tastings, and podcasts.
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