How I got started in my career as an independent statistical consultant (created 2010-05-24).
This page is moving to a new website.
LinkedIn has a question and answer board, and one of the questions inspired me to write up the story of how I got started in my career as an independent statistical consultant. Here's the original question: I'm very curious as to what events or conversations enabled you to change direction in your career. What thought process did you go through? What resources did you use or uncover?
I was working full time as a statistician at a local hospital, and my work kept me busy enough that I turned down almost all the requests I got to work as an independent consultant on the side. The money was good, but my time was more valuable than the money.
In February 2008, I was offered a chance to work on a project involving risk adjustment models at a nearby academic center, and the way the deal worked was that my employer would get the money and I would get the time during work hours to help out on these models. I looked at the amount that my employer was getting and it was substantial. So I asked what would happen if I quit my job and applied for the work independently. I was told that they would cancel the contract with my employer and hire me directly.
For a variety of reasons I could not leave my job so quickly, but that incident inspired me in July to take a leave of absence so I could explore the possibility of working independently. My boss, by the way, was very gracious to allow me this indulgence. During the leave of absence, I got two very good projects, but they were in September which was the month I had promised to return. So I ended up doing two jobs for a month or so before I went full time as an independent consultant in November 2008.
It helped a lot that my wife had full time work, especially for the insurance coverage. She has been very supportive of my move.