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.