Define Consultant, Freelancer, Contractor

What is a consultant? Zach knows. (scroll down for video)

Zach is a consultant, and the head of consultants. So he knows what a consultant is. Zach says, consultants used to be people you brought in for one or two days, maybe a week tops, that would explain a certain issue to you. Once explained, the consultant would leave. You consulted with consultants, and that was it. They were experts, and they explained things. You asked them specific questions, which they knew the answers to. Once you got the answer, you went off and did what they said.

That was before the internet and YouTube.

Now consultants are much like full-time employees. They often sit in the same offices and attend the same meetings. If you don’t ask, you may never know that your coworker is a 1099 freelancer. They still have expertise in a certain area, and apply that expertise like regular employees.

The big advantage to employers is their temporary stay. A months is usually enough. No pesky benefits package, no nurturing, no investment. Just raw performance for a price you can live with.

The thing is, consultants have to learn how to make good money. If they don’t, those short-term contracts turn into vicious cycles of feast and famine. You have to know how to up-sell and extend your stay. Plus, charge enough to tide you over during the down times. Without that, you’ll be out of business in no time.

Plus, consultants have to become very familiar with things like effective billing rates, utilization percentages, and billable hours. Working for a consulting firm removes you from that tedious treachery. You just work like an employee, and everything is okay. But the freelancer definitely has to watch his numbers, or he’ll end of working for two dollars an hour.

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