I’ve been thinking a lot about the excitement of being an entrepreneur or an innovator and how that compares with being a consultant. While I could find a few articles out there comparing these two career paths, I thought I would share my observations.
I think the two have some of the same fundamentals:
- Self-motivator – In both cases, you have to able to drive yourself. You’re responsible for your career and your success. You’re always under pressure to perform, and you’re typically part of a small, core team. It’s important that you can motivate yourself to push past the finish line. I think of both like running a marathon.
- Quick learner – Your role in both types of organizations is constantly changing. You’re adapting with the business and the market. This requires the ability to understand and see trends. It requires the ability to connect with clients and monitor the market. It requires the ability to learn new things and to have a desire to learn new things.
- Able to pivot quickly – Change is a constant in almost any role in business today, but the pace of change in the start-up world is amazing. You need to understand this pace of change and how to be a change agent in both these roles. How do you help people with the organizational change that’s required to make your project a success.
- PPTS – No…this isn’t being an expert at PowerPoint although that may be an important skills. PPTS stands for People, Process, Technology, and Strategy. You need to understand all four of these areas of the business. You don’t have to code to be a great consultant or entrepreneur, but you need to understand technology and its impact on business.
- Think and do – While there are a few opportunities to just develop strategy and move on or to simply operate an outsourced project, I think you need to understand how to take ideas from concept through implementation. This means that you understand how to work with the CEO and how to work with the call center agent.
- Motivational – Most entrepreneurs and consultants are somewhat evangelistic and they’re always involved in the selling process (in any role). They are selling and building ahead of the curve which means they have to compel people to act. They are also working with multiple vendors and cross-functional teams that don’t report to them. Success is dependent on their people skills and the ability to motivate these different groups.
Agree? Disagree? Thoughts?