Keep consulting or go back to full-time work?

Post date: 2024-02-07 15:25:37
Views: 21
I've been self-employed as a consultant for six years. Business is slow and my life circumstances are changing... would it make sense to go back to working for someone else again?

(Previously asked a variant of this five years ago. Time flies!)

I'm self-employed as a consultant in the marketing/PR world mainly doing corporate communications and trade show work. I have several contractors I rely on for administrative support and creative work, but am the only full-time employee. Am a guy in my early forties, married with a young kid.

The big problem I'm facing is that business has slowed down a lot due to industry-wide stuff (reduced budgets everywhere in the advertising and marketing worlds) and specific stuff for my company (both of our anchor clients merged/were acquired by much larger companies and laid off our contacts). I used to be able to gross $125,000 a year w/o doing any marketing at all and gross $200,000 if I tried, but last two years we barely cleared $75,000 while aggressively reaching out to new clients.

I'm lucky that my wife has a well paying job with benefits so the loss of income hasn't been catastrophic to us, but I'm seriously thinking about finding an in-house job or returning to agency life. My kid is starting kindergarten in the fall, which will make childcare much more stable.

My thoughts:
1. Age discrimination in my industry is very real and I'm already in my forties. I feel like this may be one of my last chances to work on "big" projects instead of the more modestly-funded projects my consulting business typically works on.
2. With my skill set, I feel there's a decent chance I could earn more money as an employee than being self-employed in the current economy.
3. After being self employed for more than five years, I feel like any more time running my own business might make me unemployable in the future.

With that said, I'm hesitant to throw away a small business with regular customers that I've spent years working on.

What's the best way to approach this
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