Should you go consulting? Here's a helpful guide to help you decide whether becoming a self-employed professional is the right idea for you and your goals.


Take this speedy quiz to find out if you're ready to take the leap and start your own consulting business!


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There's never been a better time to be a self-employed consultant - which explains why self-employment is on the rise! In a post-COVID environment, many people, fed up with the constraints and bureaucracy of traditional employment are starting their own business… but some are better equipped than others.

The most successful self-employed professionals (SEPs) are those who have a clear understanding of why they're choosing self-employment, how they're going to live and work, and what value they have to offer their clients.

In this guide, learn more about what a self-employed professional is and why it's a great career option,  get clear on your purpose, values and goals, and define a compelling value proposition for your business.

What you'll learn:

  • What a self-employed professional is
  • Different self-employment modes
  • Why self-employment is a great career option
  • What skills you need to succeed as a self-employed professional
  • How to get clear on your purpose, values and goals
  • How to write your SEP Statement of Intent.

Who this guide is for:

  • Employed professionals who are thinking about going out on their own
  • Contractors considering a shift into consulting
  • Consultants who want to get clear on their intentions and future



Not everyone is cut out for self-employment. Many people are best served in the safety and security of a traditional job.

Being good at what you do is not enough – running a business as a self-employed professional requires you to have or build a full toolbox of complementary skills.

Here are 8 of the most important skills you need to master for success. 

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Here's three excellent reasons why now is the right time to start your own consulting business.

1. The rise of remote work

2. An economic downturn brings opportunities

3. Automation and AI are changing the game.

Read more to find out why this creates the perfect environment for your self-employed venture.

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For years, people have put up with the constraints of corporate bullshit in exchange for the security of steady employment.

Self-employment offers flexibility, fulfilment and financial rewards... if you design your business correctly from the beginning. 

Here's how you can get it right.


No problem!

Just hit the button and fill in your details, so we can send it to you. 

(You can read the full guide without giving us your email - keep scrolling!)

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What Is a Self-Employed Professional?

There’s lots of options aside from working in an employed job - and there’s never been more ways to become self-employed.

However, if your social network is filled with people claiming to be self-employed, it can be confusing to work out who’s credible, and what they’re really doing.

Maybe you’ve seen ‘influencers’ or ‘course creators’ online and you’re dubious about looking like another online wannabe.


  • What's the difference between contractors and freelancers?
  • How is a thought leader different to an influencer?
  • What's the difference between a contractor and a consultant?

Jump to the descriptions below, or scroll through.



  • Temporary employee for a specific organisation
  • Offer services on a temporary or project basis, scoped by the employer
  • Self-employed
  • Not generally required to undertake management, marketing or sales activities.


  • Self-employed
  • Offer services on a project basis, usually scoped by the client
  • Hired by organisations to provide specific services, such as writing, graphic design, or web development.


  • Own their own business
  • Offer a variety of products or services - may be scoped independently or by the client
  • Are responsible for all aspects of the business, including management, finance, marketing, and sales.
  • Business owners have employees and may have a longer-term vision for the business


  • Experts in their field
  • Trusted source of information in their industry
  • Independent ideas that inspire new thinking and action
  • May be authors, speakers, or consultants
  • Tend to have a large following on social media or a website
  • Are responsible for all aspects of the business, including management, finance, marketing, and sales.


  • Tend to have a large following on social media or a website
  • Often focus on teaching a skill or providing information on a particular subject
  • Help people to learn new things and improve their knowledge
  • Often paid by brands or companies to promote their products or services to their followers
  • Known for their ability to influence their followers’ buying decisions
  • Are responsible for all aspects of the business, including management, finance, marketing, and sales.


  • Experts in their field
  • Trusted source of information in their industry
  • Independent ideas that inspire new thinking and action
  • Own their own business
  • Offer a variety of products or services, scoped independently or in partnership with a client
  • Are responsible for all aspects of the business, including management, finance, marketing, and sales.

As you can see, the different kinds of employment vary based on expertise, independence, agency, diversity and responsibility.

There is no right answer – the path you choose will depend on your skills, reputation, comfort level and preferences.



If you are looking to take a small step, perhaps on the side of your current employment, freelancing or contracting could be a great place to start. This way, you gain comfort with managing time, money and deliverables without the guardrails of employment.


If you’re hoping to build a business or agency, test the waters with an SEP model, unless you have a partner or team who are already experienced in running a business.


If you are looking to become a high-profile thought leader, influencer, or course creator, but you haven’t yet gained enough experience consulting in your field, I would also advise starting a as an SEP.

Then, you will have the reputation to back up your claims (rather than becoming another snake-oil salesman in the Wild West of the Internet.)


If the SEP description sounds like you… you’re in the right place. Check out Consultants of Choice to learn how to make this business model work for you.


No problem!

Just hit the button and fill in your details, so we can send it to you. 

(You can read the full guide without giving us your email - keep scrolling!)

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Why You Should Be A Self-Employed Professional

Self-employment is an alluring prospect for many. It’s a chance to live your life on your own terms, to achieve more fulfilment and meaning from your career, and to earn enough money to create the lifestyle you desire.


But not everyone manages to create the self-employed lifestyle they were hoping for. Many self-employed professionals find themselves trapped in a situation where they’re overworked, underpaid, unhappy – or even all three!


There are three great reasons to become self-employed:

  1. Flexibility in how you live your life
  2. Fulfilment in the work you do
  3. Financial rewards for taking a risk on yourself.


Self-employment offers a shot at freedom, autonomy and independence. You have unlimited potential for professional development and growth, and absolute responsibility for making that happen.

When you design your business, it’s important to begin how you mean to continue. Many consultants are so nervous about not being able to attract clients, that they take on more than they can handle and make compromises they’d rather not have to. However, if you don’t draw some boundaries around your life early, you risk getting burnt-out.

Before you start your SEP journey, ask yourself a few important questions, so that you can build your business with flexibility in mind:

  • What aspirations you have for your life that aren’t to do with work?
  • What kind of work/life balance will you need to achieve these?
  • What kind of people do you most like working with?
  • How do you most prefer to work – location, time, relationships, et al?
  • What boundaries will you need to draw around your time, energy and personal life?


Two of the biggest frustrations experienced by employed professionals are the compromises they make in their values, and the deficit they see in their impact.

They do great work, only to find themselves hamstrung by corporate constraints, bureaucracy and delays.

Self-employment offers a career pathway outside of those constraints, where you can have the impact you’ve been craving for all of your career.

However, this won’t happen by accident. Those constraints on progress and impact are there for a reason, and unless you’re clear on the difference you want to make in the world, you’ll find yourself in the same trap.

Even the most well-intentioned SEPs can find themselves working with clients they don’t like, or doing work they don’t believe in.

In the early days, when you’re designing your business, consider some of the following:

  • What are your most important values?
  • What does success look like to you?
  • What kind of work are you not willing to do?
  • What are your criteria for clients and projects?


So many consultants are struggling with cash-flow – despite entering self-employment with the hope of bringing more home than they were in their job.

This is usually a result of inaccurate pricing calculations, fear and under-charging. When you’re used to a salary, you compare your chargeable hourly rate to that, rather than the overall amount of time you spend on your business and the value you bring to clients.

Some people are so grateful to have any work at all, and to achieve the kind of freedom and fulfilment they’ve been craving, that they feel uncomfortable charging appropriate rates.

But values are not incompatible with value, and if you don’t capture enough of that value for yourself, you’re choosing to take a purpose penalty – when it isn’t needed.

Here is some useful advice for determining how you price your services:

  • Calculate the value of your work to clients (How much time, money or energy will this save my client? What is the value of my expertise, long-term, to their business?)
  • Consider the total amount of time you spend in your business (Chargeable time is rarely more than 50%. This necessitates an immediate doubling to capture your target hourly or daily rate)
  • Compare your rates to your target competitors (What are people paying for this kind of service? Remember to consider all their add-ons and extra staff in this number, and add it to your business-of-one rate.)

Are You Cut Out for Self-Employment?

Self-employment isn't for everyone. It's risky, it requires a huge amount of self-motivation and a high tolerance for rejection.


If you're wondering whether you're cut out for self-employment, check out the below list for what makes a great SEP.


Great SEPs are


You should have deep understanding and expertise in your industry or area, a lot of relevant experience, and a genuine passion and interest in making things better.

Otherwise, you’re a snake-oil salesman and you won’t last lone.


You’ll be talking to people… a lot. If you’re not good at chatting to potential clients, writing copy, drafting proposals, preparing great reports and working closely with clients, your business won’t fulfil it’s potential.

The best SEPs are confident in clearly and effectively communicating, both verbally and in writing.


People are hiring you to take their problems away, because they don’t have the time, expertise or skills required to do it.

These problems are going to be complex - otherwise they’d already be solved. You’ll spend most of your time taking initiative, digging deeper and finding solutions, so having the ability to think critically and creatively is vital.


You will be responsible for every part of your enterprise at the beginning: admin, sales, marketing, operation, comms and delivery. You’ll be managing multiple tasks, clients and projects at a time, so if you’re not a great juggler, and time management isn’t your forte, you’re going to struggle.


Starting a business isn’t for the faint-hearted. It’s challenging work, and finding the motivation to get up every day and keep going, especially in the early days, isn’t always easy. There’s no boss keeping you on task, so SEPs need to have the grit to stick to their goals and stay focused.


Your business, clients and projects are going to change all the time and there will always be a new spanner in the works for you to handle. If you’re not good at rolling with the punches and pivoting quickly, business might not be for you. 


Building and maintaining relationships with clients and other contacts is the life-blood of your business. Great SEPs are confident putting themselves out there online and at events, following up opportunities and new contacts and connecting people with mutual interests.


Starting a business involves taking a lot of risks - there’s no way of knowing whether your new idea is going to work, whether your clients are going to come through, or whether you’re going to make enough money to cover your mortgage in the first few months. If you’re not comfortable taking a leap, don’t do it!

Consulting Readiness Assessment

Take this handy quiz to determine if self-employment is the right path for you.


Set Your Intentions

You should have a clear idea of WHY you’re going into business, before you work out what you’ll do, who you’ll help, and how your business will run.

It will be this clear sense of purpose and intention that keeps you on track when everything is hard or uncertain.

Before we launch into designing your new business, we need to bring your why together, which we can use as a guiding light for the decisions we make from now on.

You should consider working on a personal SEP Statement of Intent (SOI), which will include three key things:

  • Your purpose: What do you think you were put on this world to do? What change do you want to see in the world? What problems do you want to solve, and what needs do you want to meet? What lights you up?
  • Your core values: What are your ethical standards and bottom lines?
  • Your goals: What do you want out of your life, and out of your business? How will one serve the other? Set short and long term goals to keep you focused and on track.


You’ll achieve maximum fulfilment from your business if it helps you to get closer to your purpose.

Purpose gets a bad rap. It’s the domain of the out-of-touch woke millennials who spend more time thinking about working than actually doing it… wants to shirk the real work… right?


Purpose isn’t fluff – it’s a responsibility. It’s how we get motivated, and it determines the energy we bring to others. Purpose is not about transcendence or self-development. It’s about tapping into the potential to do work that matters by getting clarity on why it matters.

Mark Manson, author of Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope, tackles purpose head-on. He recommends seven things we should think about when we try to find ours. You can read his full advice here - or read on for the summary.

In brief, he suggests asking:

  1. What struggle or sacrifice are you willing to tolerate? The thing you’re most willing to struggle with and stick with is a good start.
  2. What did you love to do as a child, that you were truly passionate about, even if you weren’t rewarded for it?
  3. What do you get obsessed with? The stuff that you get so focused on, you forget to eat or sleep? Look at the principles behind those things and use them for good.
  4. How would you like to embarrass yourself? The more scared you are of doing something, the more likely you need to do it.
  5. What problem do you care enough about to start solving it?
  6. If you had nothing else to do, and nowhere else to go, what you most want to do with your time?
  7. If you knew your life was coming to an end, what would you want to be remembered for?

This conception of purpose is ideal in its simplicity. Discovering your purpose is about finding the things that are bigger than you, not so you can accomplish world-changing achievements, but so you can spend your limited time as well as possible.

Spend some time with Manson’s questions, and think about how you can draw on those in your business. If it all looks overwhelming, try these:

  • What do you think you were put in this world to do?
  • What change do you want to see in the world?
  • What problems do you want to solve, and what needs do you want to meet?
  • What lights you up?


Every day, we make decisions about how we spend our time, attention, and energy. Those actions reflect our values. When we know and live our values, we’re more connected to our behaviour and we can focus on what matters.

Living your values is extraordinarily freeing. When you know what you’re not willing to compromise, you can let go of everything else.

Core values are an expression of who you are, not necessarily how the world should be – which gives you the freedom to put a stake in the ground and be the master of your own destiny, and bring that into your business.

To find your values, try asking what you most detest in others. The reverse is what you care about. If stinginess is upsetting, then you value generosity. If lateness offends, you value promptness. If groupthink grinds your gears, you value independence.

For bonus points, try upgrading your values.

Replace low-level values with more abstract versions. If you chase money, seek freedom. If you crave popularity, prioritise connection. Most importantly, commit to values that you have agency over.

You can’t always control how much money you have or whether people like you, but you can control how you manage your time and how genuine you are.

Try these three questions to determine your core values:

  • What do you detest or resent in others, especially at work?
  • What matters most to you? How will you protect this?
  • What are your bottom lines, that you refuse to cross?


Now that you’ve decided SEP life is for you, you’re clear on your purpose, and you know what your values are, it’s time to set some goals for your new life and venture.

Consider goals around your:


Before you have a business, or a career, you have a life. Putting your lifestyle front and centre increases your chances of designing a business that will serve your overall life and wellbeing.

Try asking yourself the following questions:

  • What are the most important priorities in my life? i.e. family, health, career, or travel?
  • What do I want to achieve in the next 5, 10, or 20 years?
  • How do I want to spend my time? What activities and pursuits do I enjoy and want to make more time for?
  • How do I want to feel on a daily basis?
  • What kind of community and support system do I want to have? How can I foster that?


Running your own business can be an excellent way to achieve financial stability, security and independence.

When you know where you’re at, and what you’re aiming for, you can design a business to suit.

Try asking yourself the following questions:

  • What is my current financial position? i.e. current expenses, debts, savings and assets
  • What are my big picture financial goals? i.e. paying off mortgage, passive income, saving for retirement
  • How much money do I need to save or invest to reach my goals?
  • How much do I need to earn each month or year for this business to be a viable primary income source?
  • How much will I need to earn each month or year to achieve my big picture financial goals?


Striking out as a SEP gives you the power and freedom to shape a fulfilling career that you can be proud of. This is your opportunity to grow and explore your industry or area in new and exciting ways.

Try asking yourself the following questions:

  • What technologies, methodologies, best-practices, challenges and opportunities do I need - and want! - to know more about?
  • What skills and knowledge do I need to acquire to stay competitive? Are there specific skills or certifications required to establish my expertise?
  • What are the best resources for professional development? Think about books, courses, workshops or training programs you can take to boost your knowledge.
  • What are my networking options? Are there any professional associations or groups that I can join to connect with others in my field?
  • How can I measure my progress and success?


Now that you’ve got more agency over your work, you’re unleashing incredible potential for impact in a field you care deeply about. When you’re clear about the kind of impact you want to make in the world, you can leave a brilliant legacy.

Try asking yourself the following questions:

  • What are the most pressing challenges facing my industry or niche? Which of these do I want to play a role in addressing?
  • How can I live my core values to guide my work and decision-making? What can I change that really matters to me?
  • What kind of legacy do I want to leave? What are the key contributions or accomplishments that I want to be known for?
  • What do I want to achieve in the next 5, 10 or 20 years?
  • How can I measure the impact of my work on my clients, customers, and the wider community?


You’re making a huge change in your life, and you’re going to be forever changed as a result. Becoming self-employed pushes you to the edge of your comfort zone, as you discover what you’re capable of. Setting personal goals helps you to shape this development.

Try asking yourself the following questions:

  • What kind of person do I want to be?
  • How do I want people to describe me?
  • What weaknesses do I most want to work on?
  • What strengths of mine do I want to build on?
  • What passions or interests do I want more of in my life?


Now that you’ve considered the ways you want to shape your life, business and impact, it’s time to express these as a series of 3-5 clear, specific, measurable goals.

Here’s some handy tips as you shape up those goals


Be specific about what you want to achieve. Instead of saying "I want to improve my marketing skills", set a goal to "Learn and implement digital marketing strategies to bring 1,000 people to my website in the first three months".


Make your goals measurable so you can track your progress and know when you've achieved them. For example, "Land six new clients in the next 12 months” or “Generate $100,000 in revenue in the next 90 days” are measurable goals. .


Give yourself a deadline to achieve your goal, to create a sense of urgency and motivation to get the work done. For example, "Develop and launch a new product within the next 3 months".

Here’s some examples of the kind of goals you might like to set…

"Improve public speaking skills by taking a course and delivering X number of presentations in the next 6 months"

"Improve time management skills by scheduling and sticking to a daily routine for the next 3 months"

"Increase my network by attending X number of industry events and connecting with Y number of relevant professionals in the next 6 months"

"Improve my technical skills by taking a course and getting certified in Z technology within the next 12 months".

Write Your Statement of Intent

You’ve done some serious personal interrogation here. Congratulations. The work you’ve done to get clear on what motivates you and set intentions has positioned you to create a life most people only dream of.

Now it’s time to pull everything from this module together, into your SEP Statement of Intent (SOI).

Fill in the SOI Worksheet bringing together your purpose, values and goals.

Using the information from your worksheet, craft a statement of intent that clearly communicates your purpose, values, and goals for your business as a SEP.


"I am driven by my passion for (insert passion) and my goal is to (insert goal) by leveraging my expertise in (insert expertise).

My core values of (insert core values) will guide my work and decision-making as I work to achieve my personal development goals of (insert personal development goals), professional development goals of (insert professional development goals) and business development goals of (insert business development goals).

I am committed to making a positive impact in my field of expertise and to building a successful and fulfilling business as a self-employed professional."

Get your free Statement of Intent worksheet in your Module 1 workbook below.



Get a sneak peek into the Consultants of Choice curriculum with the Module One workbook - Plan Your New Life.


  • Design Your SEP Life

  • SEP Statement of Intent template

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