So you want to be a consultant

What’s it like having your own business as a medical device project management consultant?  We will share our views with you below.

There are risks and rewards to having your own business, and Waddell Group will help World Class Medical Device Project Managers make the leap by being your sales and marketing arm .   In short, we make it easy for you to be in business for yourself.

The “great resignation” and COVID are changing the way we work, and this gives the employees – and contract employees – additional leverage when it comes to negotiating their compensation and work.

Waddell Group works with World Class Medical Device Project Managers as consultants.  The relationship is set up as business to business where you are the sole employee of your business.

Here are some things to keep in mind.

Rewards of being a consultant

  1. You get to choose your own projects

When you work for an employer, they assign you to projects and you join a team. As a consultant, you can seek out the projects that are a better fit for you. You can also work with people you would prefer to work with. Being a consultant means you can be selective when it comes to the teams you want to join. You are also in charge of your own schedule and projects. Finally, you can work as much – or as little – as you want. Some of our project managers work less than full time. Others love working full time or more.

  1. You negotiate your rate

At your W-2 job, you negotiate your salary, and then any future compensation is determined mostly out of your control. As a consultant, you can negotiate your rate every time you start a new contract. Your prospective client may or may not pay that rate, but it’s usually higher as a consultant.

  1. You don’t have all your eggs in one basket

Companies like to describe working for them as being “Permanent” but your employment is “At-Will” in the state of Minnesota, meaning they can terminate your employment at any time. To describe W-2 employment positions as permanent is misleading. As a consultant, you can work multiple projects. You can diversify your sources of income   With Waddell Group, you are also being marketed even when you’re working.   It’s our job to find you that next opportunity, and we’re very good at that.

  1. You can structure your compensation to be the most tax advantaged

Often overlooked for consultants is the advantage of structuring your benefits program exactly how you want it. You have the power to structure how you get paid, what tax advantaged buckets you want to take advantage of, and what deductions you want that reduce your taxable income. For example, you can invest 25% of your income into a SEP investment plan on a pre-tax basis versus a cap of $6,000 for your IRA. Your employer might put some money into a 401k program, but you have options with the money instead of being allocated in a manner dictated to you by the company. Depending on your age and how you use healthcare, you might prefer to put more money into an HSA and have a high deductible health plan. You also get to write off a lot of expenses as deductions on your taxes. The big benefit is that you get to decide what works best for you.

  1. You join a group with like-minded people.  We are all World Class Medical Device Project Managers

Waddell Group engages only the best. In being part of a team like Waddell Group, you can ask questions of the team if you want to know how other fantastic project managers would handle certain circumstances.

Risks.  What are some of the concerns about having your own business?

  1. You don’t have guaranteed income

If you do not have work, you do not have income. This can be a major concern. When you have a job as a W-2 employee, even if they decide to terminate you, there will be unemployment and COBRA. You might even get severance from the company that terminates you.

  1. You aren’t necessarily part of a long-term project

Some consultants work on multiple projects in a row. This can be frustrating if you are looking for a long-term team to be a part of. However, many Waddell Group project managers have been with their clients for several years.

  1. You are responsible for your own services like IT, CPA, payroll, office space, insurance, etc.

This can be a hassle. However, Waddell Group has several great resources that can help you get that set up.

  1. There might not be a general sense of long-term security.

We would argue that this is illusory. Many years at a large medical device firm can provide a sense of security, but because you’re reading this page we hope you are considering an alternative. If you are willing to accept a bit of risk, the rewards are excellent (see above in Rewards).

  1. You must pay your own social security, income taxes, and other taxes that come along with being a small business owner.

This is true.. However, a smart CPA with a good strategy for how you pay yourself can usually help you pay less in taxes as a small business consultant than you would if you were working for an employer. If you make more money as a consultant, and pay less in taxes, then that’s a win.

  1. Networking is part of your job.

If you love networking, it’s part of your job. If you don’t love networking, it is still part of your job. You must keep your name and face out there as a World Class Medical Device Project Manager! It is not sufficient to exist, you must let people know you are available so they can refer you to potential needs or hire you if they are looking for someone like you.   A caveat…   Waddell Group’s job is to find you consulting positions that are a fit for both you and the client.  So although networking is your job, we do a lot of that for you.

  1. You are responsible for getting new clients.

You are your own sales force. Not everyone is cut out to be a salesperson. But one advantage of working with Waddell Group is we act as a sales and marketing arm for our Project Managers. This can help take the burden off your shoulders.

Challenges or benefits?

The items above might be challenges for you, depending on your willingness to accept some risk. Some people love being a consultant and others do not.

What do you think?

Are you ready to make the leap into consulting? If yes, please reach out to Tom (952-221-3333) or Rich (651-214-5761) to schedule a discussion!