I have a friend who told me that I should go independent. That was in the late 1990s. He thought that I could make a comfortable living as an independent CPT engineer. Attending the site investigations and also doing the data interpretation. That was before I even had a master’s degree. The thought of leaving the relative comfort of a stable company did not appeal to me at the time. In fact, it was a rather frightening thought, way back then.
Fast forward some three decades, I am now (finally) independent. There is, of course, a huge difference between where I was in the late 90s, and where I am now. I am financially comfortable, and I can weather some ups and downs with the ebb and flow of project assignments, as they come and go.
Possibly in part because I began my blog and my podcast a couple of years ago (at the insistence of a very dear friend), but also because I’ve been pretty active in the international mining industry over the years, it is a little easier for me to attain new work assignments. I believe that my independence has led to many of the assignments that I’ve been involved with since I launched my own company. I cannot compete with large firms in many ways, and this creates a very nice niche business area for me. I am not a threat to take over other consultant’s projects, which should be reassuring to my clients.
Speaking of threats, I was told that when you buy a used car, you should take it to a diagnostic clinic, not a mechanic. A mechanic may have ulterior motives. A diagnostic clinic doesn’t repair cars, so they have no hidden agenda. That’s really my niche. As an independent reviewer, I don’t perform design work. To me, that is pretty beneficial to my clients, because I have no ulterior motives, no hidden agenda.
I won’t ever take my network of friends and associates for granted. It is through this network that I have been gaining traction as an independent service provider.
My advice for each of you, as you develop over your career, is to do what you can so that you too may become independent if you are ever moved to do so. And good luck.