Finding the right balance between career and home life continues to be a significant issue for parents of young children.
According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, more than half of American women believe that children are better off when a parent stays home to concentrate on family. But at the same time, 51 percent of women with children younger than 18 have told Pew that being a working parent made it harder to advance in their job or career.
While women may be concerned that temporarily becoming a stay-at-home mother hampers their career aspirations, many professionals are discovering a new way to achieve both professional and personal goals: independent consulting.
“It’s possible to keep a foot in both camps and be very successful,” says Aaron Zwas, an independent consultant and author of “Transition to Independence” (www.t2iplan.com).
As an independent consultant for 15 years, Zwas works from home and shifts his hours in a way that lets him actively manage the family and home with his wife. “I help out with the usual school and activity drop-offs,” says Zwas, “but we also have much more quality time with each other, too. And that’s something that everyone wants.
“Independent consultants are becoming a mainstay of the modern workforce, injecting businesses and organizations with fresh ideas. In the last four decades, independent consulting has been one of the biggest growth areas in professional employment.”
That’s because the world is changing as many employers reduce their staffs and contract out for more services.
Zwas says a few tips to keep in mind if you plan to become an independent consultant are:
Have A Conversation
Talk with your spouse, other family members and anyone else who might be affected about what you’re planning to do and explain why it’s important to you. Be patient and listen to any advice and feedback they have.
Stick With What You Know and Like
Many independents get sucked into investing too much of their time in activities that are not related to their expertise or are undesirable.
Consider Services You Will Need
Even as an independent, you may need to rely on the services of others.
Be sure to include in your planning whether you will need to contract out in such areas as accounting, website development and marketing. “I know many women who have made the choice to take a couple of years off from work to focus on family,” Zwas says. “The majority of them absolutely want to get back into the workforce, but feel that it’s like going from zero to 100 immediately. This is one way to get back on your own terms, without having to spend an hour commuting to an office each day and without necessarily committing to a full 40-plus hours a week.”
About Aaron Zwas
Aaron Zwas, the author of “Transition to Independence” (www.t2iplan.com), is a consulting journeyman with 15 years of independent experience as a strategic technology advisor. His T2I Plan (for “Transition to Independence”) provides a step-by-step approach that helps people move from traditional employment to a career as an independent consultant while minimizing the risks associated with career changes.