There are lots of people that are “consultants”. It’s easy to become a consultant — you just add the word “Consulting” to the end of your name, and “George Nobody Consulting” is born. You might incorporate for the tax and liability benefits, thereby adding a “Inc.” or “LLC”.
A lot of people become consultants as a way to make some money and develop contacts after being laid off. Another job comes along, and they’re not consultants anymore. It’s sad to see them let the contact list rot in a drawer until they’re laid off again.
It’s hard to stay a consultant. In order to get work, you have to be willing to sell your services. And that means taking risks like talking to strangers. If you can’t do that, you won’t survive as a “real” consultant.
I was trained as an engineer. Nothing in engineering school teaches you how to sell. But you are selling, even if it’s just convincing your client to do the right thing. If you want to be more effective in your job, some sales training might be a good thing.
Me? I’ve been a consultant for 17 years. I’m not “between jobs” — I’m a real consultant.
P.S. My parents still think I need to get a “real job”. *sigh*