10 Reasons to Hire an Independent Consultant

By Yolanda Lau

We’ve all heard that the “gig economy” is the future of work. Estimates put the number of Americans doing freelance work between 54 million and 90 million. In particular, there’s been an increase in the number of freelance strategy and management consultants, as well as marketplaces and platforms connecting businesses to independent consultants. Boutique sites like SpareHireHourlyNerdMBA and CompanyHillgateToptal Business (formerly Skillbridge) and 79 Studios’ own FlexTeam make top quality consultants more accessible to and affordable for smaller businesses.

As a CEO or founder of a small or medium business, you may benefit from hiring an external independent consultant. And once you do, you may find that you can’t work without them. Here’s why:

1. Independent Consultants are Affordable and Provide Cost Savings. Freelance independent consultants are cheaper than hiring a full-time employee. They require fewer overhead costs, in terms of office space, software licenses, benefits, paid time off, payroll tax, and other fixed payroll and office expenses. Moreover, while they often come at higher hourly rates than full-time or part-time staff, you’ll rarely pay them for 2,080 hours a year. And hiring a freelance independent consultant is much more affordable than engaging McKinsey & CompanyBoston Consulting GroupBain & Company, or any of the less well-known firms.

2. Independent Consultants are Experts. Freelance independent consultants tend to be highly skilled, extremely experienced, and educated at top universities. Many freelancers have worked at a big name consulting firm or are industry experts. At FlexTeam, we provide vetted MIT-educated women who are former CTOs, CMOs, COOs, CEOs, investment bankers, management consultants, industry experts, graphic designers, serial entrepreneurs turned consultants, and other top tier talent. Hiring freelance consultants gives you access to skills and experience levels that would come at a much higher price tag if you were to hire them as full-time workers, allowing you to scale your business efficiently and economically.

3. Independent Consultants are Ready to Go. Freelance independent consultants can work independently with little guidance. They have almost certainly worked on many similar projects in the past, and will efficiently work on yours. They hit the ground running and don’t require training, saving you time and money. And your patience.

4. Independent Consultants are Flexible. Freelance independent consultants are highly flexible and adaptable. They can augment your existing teams, or they can work on their own on special projects. FlexTeam, specifically, augments your management teams with on-demand executive level brainpower. Freelancers’ flexibility allows them to adapt to your company culture and the specific needs of your company, thus producing better quality results.

5. Independent Consultants are Easy to Hire. Freelance independent consultants can be hired within a few days. Compare that to engaging a consulting firm or hiring a full-time or part-time employee, which can be a lengthy (and sometimes unsuccessful) process. There are interviews, negotiations, compliance and legal issues, and other time-consuming aspects of the traditional hiring process.

6. Independent Consultants are Committed to Excellence. Freelance independent consultants are committed to customer success and happiness. They recognize that their ability to get future work is dependent on the quality of every work product they create. Since their livelihood is at stake, they are more committed than consultants employed by traditional firms.

7. Independent Consultants are Professional. Freelance independent consultants usually spend time upfront clearly scoping detailed projects. They like to work on deadlines with specific milestones and deliverables. They have their own consulting agreements, though many are happy to sign one provided by your company.

8. Independent Consultants Understand the Importance of Confidentiality. Freelance independent consultants work with dozens of clients across industries on varying projects. They are accustomed to working with confidential information and are comfortable signing Nondisclosure Agreements. Again, their livelihood depends on the quality of their work and keeping their word.

9. Independent Consultants Meet Short Term Needs. Freelance independent consultants allow businesses to meet their short term needs without the time-consuming, frustrating, and costly process of hiring full-time or part-time employees. With freelance consultants, companies can hire an on-demand Chief Marketing Officer to craft a marketing strategy, a Chief Operating Officer to create a strategic growth plan, an analyst to assess new markets or create a financial model, a data scientist to figure out your KPIs, an experienced entrepreneur to write your business plan, and more. All just for a short sprint at the right price.

10. Independent Consultants are Always Available. Freelance independent consultants work irregular hours, often more than 5 days a week. Since they work odd hours and don’t have to operate during business hours, they can work on your project when you need it done. Given clear milestones, deliverables, and deadlines, they create time to get the work done optimally.

Still not convinced? Try hiring a freelance independent consultant for one small project. Just a small investment of about a thousand dollars. You’ll see that once you outsource work to a freelancer or a team of independent consultants, you’ll gain breathing room to tackle the rest of your endless to-do list.

Yolanda Lau is an experienced entrepreneurship consultant, advisor, and Forbes Contributor. She is also an educator, speaker, writer, and non-profit fundraiser.

Since 2010, she has been focused on preparing knowledge workers, educators, and students for the future of work.

Learn more about Yolanda here.