Consulting for beginners
James Greig

I think there is a distinction that needs to be made between consultants and freelancers (or contractors). True consultants don’t actually fix problems, they assess and advise clients how to fix problems. Consultants have an outsiders point of view, are great at reading non-verbal cues and discerning differences between what people say and what people do. As mentioned here, consultants are free to speak their mind — and a good consultant will be morally obligated to do so. They need to remain outside of the disfunction of the organization that hires them. Freelancers are hired for their specific subject matter expertise and they do indeed ‘fix problems’. Contractors have specialty skills that the organization does not have within its base of employees, or that need supplementing. I called myself a consultant for years when I was really a contractor. And then I morphed into a consultant but with a lot of growing pains because the skill set required to be a good consultant vs. a good freelancer/contractor is very different. I think spending some time thinking about which you are and which you want to be could be very useful to those pursuing a career of self-employment.