A friend of mine ran a global consulting practice for a Big 4 firm in the 1990s. Eventually his firm spun off the consulting group and went public. After the IPO, he left to start his firm.
When he was with the larger firm in the 1990s, he frequently lost consultants who were finding work for more money. When he surveyed the independent consultants, he found most were leaving for lifestyle reasons. They loved the autonomy and freedom to choose their projects and they liked having the ability to control their travel situations. It was the dislikes that he found interesting. Some of those issues were:
- Isolation and loneliness
- No career development
- No role in a larger venture
The feelings of isolation and loneliness catch many newly self employed by surprise. The inability to test ideas and having a mentor is often a challenge. Some even miss the day to day chatter and camaraderie.
Many independent professional services consultants combat isolation through networking or mastermind groups or other practice networks. This would work with tax and accounting professionals too.
Why should you consider this? Five immediate reasons come to mind:
Moral Support: Even if they have differing goals, members are there for support.
Inspiration and Motivation: Active participation in the right group will challenge and inspire you through tough times. It is easier to maintain a positive attitude when you have someone with whom to talk through issues.
Differing Viewpoints: Discussing different viewpoints with group members gives you varied perspectives on challenges and problems. This is your opportunity to test ideas. Even while disagreeing with others’ points of view, you can gain a better perspective and enhance your ideas.
Peer Accountability: Group members will hold you accountable for your actions helping to achieve your goals and objectives. Realizing you will be held accountable to your peers will also drive growth and development. The fear of letting down the group can be advantageous to your desires.
Wisdom and Experience: You can rely on the experience and wisdom of the entire group. Many heads are collectively smarter than one.
Whether a solo practitioner or a member of a larger firm which is compartmentalized, you can benefit from the right network or group. Many people find that they can stay on the right career track. Others find that they are building a firm, rather than just creating a job for themselves. They are more likely to overcome marketing and business development challenges through the motivation, feedback and accountability from the group.
Have you ever felt isolated while building your firm? What are some of the ways that you overcame those feelings? What would you add to this list?
Leave your comments below.