In the past, when there were economic downturns, people would generally look for another job in their line of work. In the last couple of downturns, however, full-time employment was hard to find. Enterprising and entrepreneurial-minded workers, however, found a way to benefit by launching a new paradigm for small business consultancy - the Niche, or Gig, Economy.
During the 1990s, companies had come to realize the efficiency and cost saving that were possible by outsourcing some aspects of their work, usually to companies that performed a certain specialty task. They were able to both eliminate the carried payroll, including benefits, for the people performing the task internally and only pay for the work completed.
This was on a voluntary basis and was part of the efficiency mantra of the 1990s. When the recessions came, however, companies were forced to cut their workforce but were faced with many jobs that still needed to be done. Those entrepreneurial workers mentioned above had the presence of mind to go back to their employers and volunteer to do their same work as a contractor. Computer programmers were particularly known for launching this type of business. Knowing that they couldn’t survive on what was essentially part-time work, these same workers went to similar companies in the same industry and offered those companies the same contract proposal. By filling this niche these enterprising souls ended up working for several different companies, under contract, doing the same job for each. This became the Niche or Gig Economy that is still very much present today, no longer a mad scramble but a business, a choice, and a plan.
How to Start
Generally, if you have a marketable skill you can start your own small business selling your skills to companies or individuals. If you are a machinist or mechanic, you may start your own shop. A carpenter may build cabinets or furniture or do renovations. As a professional, such as an accountant or similar professional, your model will involve selling your skills and expertise to other businesses. If you are laid off, this can take the form of doing your old job part-time under contract to the same company. At the same time, however, you can hire yourself out to three or four other firms doing the same work. You will be working more hours and paying for your own benefits, but you will also have freedom, a larger cash flow from several jobs, and stability. If one employer or contract goes away, you can always backfill with another while still working for your other customers.
The key to success in this model is balance. You need to balance and manage your time to minimize conflicts in either the work you do or the time you spend on each client. In general, this business model can provide you with a sustainable small business that will provide for your financial needs, in addition to a challenge, while allowing you stability and freedom.
If you put all the elements in place to run a business and you are having success, one result is that you may become overloaded. This is an opportunity, too! You have systems in place to run a business and adding an associate to work with you, to split the load and increase the number of customers you can serve, can lead to a growing consulting business. Once you start down this path, however, you are the one in control. You can grow as much or as little as you want.
This is the concept behind business such as contract accounting, CPA, and CFO services. Companies may not be able to afford a full-time accountant, CPA, or CFO, but by tapping into a contract firm like CustomOne CFO & Controllers, they can get the services without hiring a full-time staff. If you want an example of how this type of consultancy can work, explore contract CPA services from firms such as CustomOne CFO & Controllers. These firms can provide you with a model for your small business consultancy.
Outsourcing CPA for your business