Hazel ManktelowIn October 2015, I gave up my financial security. I left my employed position as solicitor, mediator and head of department at a local Hampshire solicitors firm and became a consultant with Family Law Partners. Why did I do this? Well, there were lots of reasons, but anyone who is thinking about a role as a consultant with FLP will probably be experiencing one, or all, of the following: dissatisfaction with their current career path, perhaps be feeling unappreciated, not supported enough, not having enough autonomy in their role.

I had to think long and hard before taking this step to become a consultant, before becoming self-employed, before jumping on the ride that is running your own business. I was told by FLP that I could have a better work/life balance, my income could increase, I would be making the decisions about my workload, running my own business. How could I know whether this was true and is what would happen?

Here I am, 18 months on, is it true and was it worth it? YES

It is a resounding yes from me –  I have not made a better career choice to date.

My three biggest concerns about taking on a consultancy role were:-

  1. Would I be able to support myself financially and generate enough work?
  2. Would I be isolated working from home, and without a physical team around me?
  3. How would it work in practical terms?

I am able to support myself financially and 18 months on my income has increased beyond that which I received in my employed role. There have been some months where it has been lower (but not many) and I’ve had my set-up costs to factor in. However, after only 18 months I already feel that I am regularly reaching a billing level of what I was aiming for. There’s not many new businesses which achieve that in the first 18 months.

I love working from home and don’t feel the least bit isolated. Team FLP are at the end of the phone, email and I can go into the office to see them and hot-desk if I feel in need of company, support, want to talk through a case. I have the best of both worlds. I work alongside a team which is dedicated to trying to find the best outcome for their clients. There is so much specialist knowledge within the team. I have the support of providing my consultancy work for an established team. Alongside that, I can provide a more flexible service to my clients. I can travel to meet with them at times which suit them and use the technology of FLP to do this. I can be available for my family and do many more school runs than I did in the employed role. I’ve taken on a volunteer role as a school governor and can fit in school visits as I run my diary.

FLP was the right place for me to take up a consultancy role. Their innovative use of technology means we can offer a much more advanced service to our clients, working remotely as I do makes no difference to the clients.

FLP is a niche family law practice and what has been so important to me is that every business decision is designed to help the family client. The technology we use, the website and information on it, the business planning, the marketing, our professional connections to work alongside are all for the family client. We can ensure that everything we do in our professional lives is for the family client which is so important as they are going through a difficult time and we can support them.

FLP was established 6 years ago and set itself up so that remote working was possible. The practical side of working is easy. There is a case management system, we try to be paperless, everything is accessible digitally. I do have to do more of my own admin, trips to the post office, order stationery but none of that is a problem.

While it felt like a leap into the unknown, it was a leap that was more than worth it.

Oh, and to top it all off, it’s meant I got a dog … which would never have happened if I had continued the 9-5 employed role at an office 10 miles away. Work life balance – I have it all! Read more about what my day-to-day looks like in my earlier blog.

Thinking of making the change?

Contact one of the Directors for an informal discussion about joining us as a Consultant.

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