This was my dream! In 1992, I decided that although I was enjoying my job as an internal leadership development resource, I would like to be on my own someday. Five-and-a-half years after dreaming it, I did it—I became an independent consultant for leadership, management and personal development . . . and I am successful!
How did I do it? There are three ingredients: skill, network and reputation. All three are critical factors for success.
Skill—To be on your own, you need to have something people want and, furthermore, you have to be adept at it. Degrees and experience are two ways to build skills, but there are other options as well.
Through internal mentoring and prior experience, my skills were good, but I felt I needed more depth. After considering my options, I participated in the University Associates (UA) Intern program (three nine-day sessions extended over eight months.) While there, I built an aggressive plan for learning which included reading, attending classes/conferences, and connecting with people who had the skills I desired.