Are You an Economic Slave???

Ninety percent of Americans have virtually no savings… so says the latest issue of Money magazine. If you are in the ninety percent, consulting may offer a way out.

The problem with most jobs is that the income is fixed. Unless you are in sales (commissions) or an executive (bonuses), you have little opportunity for upside. But a consulting side-hustle can change that, and may even lead to full financial freedom.

Of course, making more money alone won’t do it. You need to cut your expenses too. Fellow engineer Pete (Mr. Money Mustache) saved his way to freedom in seven years, by cutting his expenses by 75%. Yes, it can be done purely by aggressive savings.

But you’ll get there faster, and with less pain, if you combine frugality with some extra income. I’m a strong advocate of combining both approaches — make more/spend less.

There are lots of ways to make more money. Unfortunately, many are scams or borderline scams. You know what I mean – multilevel marketing, on-line schemes, too many franchises, etc. Most of the money is made by the promoters — not the producers.

But consulting, even part-time, allows you to control your own destiny. The start-up costs are low, and you get to keep the profits of your labor. Other than the IRS, you don’t need to share those profits with those further up the food chain.

This is not meant to disparage other small businesses, such as restaurants, shops, specialty manufacturing, etc. But most of those require capital, commercial space, and employees. Not a problem if that is the way you want to go – or have already gone. 🙂

Since you are reading my blog, however, I assume you have at least a passing interest in consulting –which I define as marketing/selling/delivering professional advice, with the goal of  improving your client’s situation.

No, you are not selling products or get-rich schemes – just your time and advice. You are joining the ranks of other professionals – doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, architects, business advisers, and more.

Doing so part time is a good way to start. That is what I did. For several years, my business partner and I moonlighted on engineering projects. Eventually, the itch got so bad we went full time. But is was much easier making the transition from part-time to full-time, than from ground zero.

Two final pieces of advice:

  • First, avoid conflicts of interest. You don’t want to lose you day job, and you don’t want to affect your reputation. Integrity matters.
  • Second, keep a low profile.  You don’t want to inflame petty office jealousies. The voice of experience speaking.

My challenge to you — As the new year begins, give some thought to your own economic freedom. Remember, Uncle Daryl wants YOU — to be FREE. Happy New Year!

P.S. Back in the game… My goal is one post per week each Monday, with additional ones as the mood strikes. So join us Mondays, or sign up for our feed and newsletter.

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4 Responses to Are You an Economic Slave???

  • Thanks for the great advice. How does one get started in the consulting business? What are the steps to making it happen?

  • Daryl ,

    Been a long time for sure but I want to commend you on your take on Consulting . I have over 40 years of Consulting ( worked for one of the largest , with a partner started and developed a company and finished a full time career leading a smaller ESOP established consulting firm . You have to have a passion and fire in the belly to be a private consultant . But is over 40 years I have never had two days a like . You look at each day as an exciting opportunity to donn your armor, get on your horse and lower the draw bridge not knowing if you will get the dragon or he will get you .
    To start consulting you must Develop your business plan and a plan you can sell to a banker . If it sells , assemble a trusted team. ( lawyer , accountant , insurance and other key members) all to keep your ass out of trouble .
    Give it your all and the rewards are awesome .

    • Thanks, Roger! Been a while since we were young engineering students at UNL. (Go Huskers.) Did you have any idea at the time that you might spend your career this way? I certainly didn’t.

      Appreciate your chiming in, as this blog is about helping our colleagues (young and not-so-young) make the jump, just like we did.

      And love your analogy regarding the dragons. Slain a few here, and also been burned by their fire. But it has been great fun – I’d do it over again in a heartbeat!

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