In-House or Consultant? How to Transition for Both

Are you an in-house employee longing for more freedom as a consultant? Or maybe you’re a consultant looking to hop off the work roller coaster and settle into something more stable. Either way, before you make a career transition, there are some big things to consider.

At a recent UXPA event, Samantha Bailey, a consultant turned full-time UX director, and Lori Baker, a senior UX manager turned freelance consultant, both spoke about their reasoning behind their career changes. They had great pointers about what people should consider before making a transition.

So whether your goal is to go in-house or consult, here is what you should know:

In-house to Consulting

Come up with a plan – Self-employment comes with highs and lows. Baker suggests building up enough of a savings to support yourself for at least 2 to 3 months once you’ve quit your job. You also need to develop a specific plan for your first year of consulting. Speak with an attorney about business legalities and make sure you are covered with the health insurance you need before leaving your full-time role.

Determine your rate – When you are self-employed, you work in every department of your own company, so 30 billable hours may really mean 40 plus hours of work. Try asking other consultants what their rates are and don’t forget to factor in costs like conferences, vacations and taxes. For invoicing and tracking hours, Baker suggests Harvest app.

Figure out your taxes – You may want to reach out to an accountant who specializes in helping small businesses. This person can help you determine how much of your gross earnings need to go toward quarterly taxes. Whatever is left can be put toward expenses, savings and retirement and living expenses.

Prepare your office – If you are going to be working from home, make sure your office is fully equipped for full-time duties. You may need to purchase a faster, more reliable internet service and order a printer, scanner and the proper software for working with various clients. Paid working spaces like Coco are also a good option for consultants who don’t want to give up having the work community of an in-house position.

Consulting to In-House

Prepare for the job search – Looking for a job typically includes a lot of rejection, so prepare for some difficulties. Figure out your salary rate, utilize your network to its full extent and research the type of company you want to work for. Look closely at job requirements to get a feel for what skills to highlight on your resume.

Update your profiles and resume – A big part of job searching is effectively managing your online presence. Make sure your LinkedIn, Twitter and other profiles are up to date.  Once you start applying, the process may move quickly so have your knockout resume ready to send to employers, as well as a portfolio of work samples if the job calls for it.

Revamp your business attire – While as a consultant, you may have survived with just a few business outfits for occasional client meetings, you will now need professional wear for each day of the week. Pajama pants are most likely not appropriate for your new job, so make sure you have enough outfits to last one to weeks at your new job.

Close down your business – You’ll want to tie up the loose ends of your consulting business before your full-time role begins so that you aren’t overwhelmed with two jobs when you start. Speak with your accountant about tax requirements, cancel any insurance covered by your new company and notify all of your active clients about your career change.

 

Connect with Samantha Bailey and Lori Baker on LinkedIn for UX strategy today!

Want to read more career insights? Check out our other articles on the Scoop Blog here!

 

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