Stickynotes episode 8, July 30 2020
Details from this session
Let’s dismiss some misconceptions about what it means to be a user experience consultant.
“You’re just a consultant because you can’t work in a corporate culture”
“You’re like a seagull – you fly in, poop on us, then fly off again”
“Those years of consulting experience don’t count because you didn’t demonstrate team or management skills”
All of those statements and more are familiar to people who work as independent consultants. Individuals on client teams often have a misperception of what we bring to the team. Managers and recruiters often see consulting as a second-rate career decision.
The three of us are probably in a position to smile about that kind of misconception rather than get angry about it, but it was worth explaining things from the consultant’s perspective to try and set the record straight.
During this episode we talked about the difference between working for a company, working for an agency, and working as a consultant, either as part of a consulting company or as a freelancer.
We agreed that it’s not fair to yourself or your clients to move into a consulting role without experience in the area you’ll be consulting in. That experience is something you can pick up working as an employee in a company, working as an agency staffer, or working in a larger consulting company that has junior roles.
After you have experience, some people still prefer to stay in a role inside a company. And that’s fine. It gives stability, a regular paycheck, and most often also some set career advancement opportunities.
But all three of us decided that we enjoyed the type of work that gives us frequent exposure to new clients across different industries. That’s pretty much what led each of us to become individual (freelance-style) consultants.
The trade-off is that you don’t get to see things through to fruition. Often your engagement is very short and specific. You might not even see your recommendations get implemented. If you’re OK with that, consulting might be right for you!
If you want to learn more about consulting and freelancing, Cory created two LinkedIn Learning courses that might help you out. Remember, if you click through on the links and then sign up for LinkedIn Learning, we may earn a small commission.
First is Freelancing and Consulting in User Experience. Cory provides a brief introduction to life as a UX freelancer, and shares tips and tricks for maintaining a successful independent UX career.
Then, Strategies for Successful UX Freelancers provides guidance to both experienced freelancers and those who have recently entered the world of freelancing, helping you to scale up your projects and clients.
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