The Pros and Cons of a Contracting Business Analyst

This post lists some of the main advantages and disadvantages I have identified with working as a contracting business analyst or self employed consultant.

Pros. The advantages of contracting your business analysis services are:

  • You are more likely to work on a variety or projects which reduces the potential for boredom and complacency.
  • You meet new challenges on a regular basis, and network with and learn from, a range people.
  • As a result, you develop new skills from new challenges and people you encounter on the way.
  • You usually earn more money than working as a permanent or long term tenured employee.
  • There is greater flexibility in choosing when you work and on what projects, and it is easier to plan holidays if you are willing to take time off between contracts.
  • You usually have the luxury of focusing on specific outcomes and deliverables for which you are employed, and not encumbered with various other unrelated tasks that take time away from your primary purpose.

Cons.  The disadvantages of contracting your business analysis services are:

  • You usually do not receive any kind of entitlements or benefits such as health care or employee shares. Although, I have seen cases where businesses have given contractors or consultants employee share options, these opportunities are rare.
  • If your personal circumstances change, i.e., if there is a loss in your family or an illness, you are not paid for time away from work hence a potential loss in significant income.
  • Contracts are usually for a short period, i.e., for 3, 6 or 12 months, with no guarantee of further work. Therefore, there may be gaps between contracts meaning that even though you are earning a higher hourly or daily rate your annual earnings may equal that of an permanent employee, or sometimes less.
  • Opportunities to attend formal training, conferences and workshops are usually limited, unless you pay for it out of your own money.

In terms of financial security the cons outweigh the pros. However, I favour the advantages of a contracting lifestyle for the very reasons stated above. Further, I believe I am as only as good as my last project, which gives me the impetus to stay focussed on producing the best quality work possible, and not become complacent or lazy.

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