Why independent consultancy is the best career move I’ve made

Today I wanted to blog about something a little bit different: why I love being an independent consultant. I’m pulling back the curtain and telling you everything about my route into consultancy and why I love it so much. 

My route into consultancy

Before I set up my own business, I had been an academic researcher for over 10 years. To begin with, I loved it, but when I became a mum, it stopped working for me. I struggled to get the balance right, despite seeing other mums who did make it work.    

It was while on maternity leave after having my second baby that I had the chance to really think about what I wanted to do long-term. I realised if I didn’t take the leap out of academia then, I probably never would. 

So I decided to make a complete pivot. I went into industry and worked as an analyst and project lead for the retail industry – completely different from the work I had been doing as a medical statistician in a university!

I really enjoyed working in industry. It was such a positive experience, working alongside a great team and a supportive manager. During that period of my life, I learnt a lot and I’m really glad I made that move. 

But, despite all of these positive things that happened, I realised fairly quickly that my heart still really lay in health research. I missed that aspect of my academic career, as well as some other aspects too. So, while on maternity leave for my third baby (maternity leave is clearly a period of change for me!), and after a few chance conversations, I took an even bigger leap of faith. Instead of going back to work, I started my own business! 

Why I love it

My consultancy work keeps me in touch with everything I loved about working in academia. In this way, my business is a little bit like a jigsaw! I take the bits I loved about academia, and fit them together with the things I love about coaching. In the process, I’ve left behind anything that didn’t serve me. 

I do a mixture of consultancy and hands-on work for people.

As well as designing studies and carrying out analyses, I write grant applications and papers, and do critical reviews and edits of these for people too. The people I’ve worked with have all found my skills incredibly valuable. Often, the scope or direction of the project will change for the better as a result of the insights I’m able to offer when I do a review and/or edit. It’s where I find my dual skill set of statistics and medical writing really shining!

Does this sound like something that could help you?

If you’re reading this blog thinking “yes, I need help with this!” I’d love to chat more about how I can support you.