222: Would You Be Happier at an Independent Consultant Job Instead of Being an Employee?


How to become a consultant or get an independent consultant job is super confusing. There’s not a clear path at all, but it’s something that’s very desirable to do if you are looking for flexibility, autonomy, high pay, and have a desire to add immense value to organizations. Lisa Schulter had been interested in becoming a consultant for several years but never really understood how to make that happen. She had been in Non-Profit Healthcare Management for many years and was really, really good at it. She even enjoyed the work quite a bit, at first, but as her values changed, and what she wanted from her career changed along with it she realized that after working in 3 other employee roles in the space, she really didn’t want to add a 4th to her resume. When we met her and started working with her to identify her ideal career, she had been a listener to the podcast and she knew that she was an introvert looking for a role that allowed her to use her knowledge and experience from the non-profit healthcare space, but also to have more reflective time and thinking time (even recharge time) that many introverts also need. She hadn’t really considered consulting as a “real option” until it was right in front of her staring her in the face. Although there are many ways to get a consulting job or to become an independent consultant with your own business, I want to help break down for you the most common way that we see it happen with our students and clients.


This is truly, by far, the most common way we’ve seen people make the leap from diligent burnt out employee (that’s where Lisa was) to a first time consulting gig that allows them the autonomy and flexibility while being paid at a premium for their knowledge, experience and the value that they deliver. This is also where we’ll focus this post, showing you how to go from an employee to a business consultant job in the same company. At this point, people usually throw up their hands and say. “Oh I couldn’t do this at my company” then they list a thousand reasons that their company hires a consultant for help and support (and surprise surprise it’s not Mr. “Not-at-my-company” they’ve hired). Somebody is going to be hired by your company to help them with what they need, it might as well be you!


Unless your boss thinks you are a high performing, high value employee, they are not going to seriously consider you as a high value consultant. In Lisa’s case her boss already considered her to be a huge asset to the organization. If this wasn’t the case she wouldn’t have been able to make the shift at all. Because all of the people who had influence in making that decision felt great about her contribution and had seen what she could really do for the organization it allowed the conversation to be possible later on.

I’ve observed something over the years. It’s easy to have a disconnect in how your boss (and boss’s boss) thinks about you and your performance and how you think about your own performance on the job. For a lot of people it’s not a favorable disparity.  


It’s easy but very few people do it.

  1. Meet with your boss weekly for 15 minutes
  2. Discuss your top 3 priorities: make sure your 3 are the same as your boss’s
  3. Over-deliver on those expectations!

It is highly likely that if you are reading this, you are not doing all of these 3 steps all the time. If you do these 3 steps every week you will have the inside scoop to your boss’s expectations. This is an easy way to move yourself into a position where you are kicking tail in your boss’s eyes ! If you absolutely can’t do this weekly try every other week or even once a month. This is better than nothing and lessens the chance of a big surprise when you go to try to make the shift to becoming a consultant. Before you are in a position to have a serious conversation you must be providing much more usefulness and worth than what is expected of you. Simply put you must understand the expectations and then you must exceed them. The most important expectations you must exceed are in the eyes of those who have the ability to say “YES” to changing your status from “employee” to “consultant.”  


After you’ve created the right time and place by having stellar performance over time, your almost in a position to broach the conversation about consulting. This is the uncomfortable part for most people, because we live in a society where most of us feel like we must act like we’re going to stay with the company forever. This obviously isn’t how it really works and there are a few bosses and companies that wouldn’t appreciate knowing that you really would like to be doing something different than your current role at the moment. This conversation will require that you share your intentions to make a move to a consulting position and why you want to do that as well express how you can actually help the company.  


I’m leaving the organization ←——-> I’m thinking about becoming a consultant someday. I’m leaving: Lisa Schulter had already made her decision, she was letting them know that she was done and moving back to her hometown. This changed the dynamic and if it was off the table to have her in an employee position. They wanted to consider a consulting role. This lead to several conversations and a signed consulting contract for her. I’m thinking about consulting someday: This other conversational extreme might sound like this: “I’m considering becoming a consultant down the road to have more flexibility for my career. This isn’t something that is right now, but I think it would be really great to do this with this company since I’ve enjoyed working here and really wanted to get your advice on how you think this could happen down the road or even who to talk to.” This “future” placed emphasis in the conversation helps to take the pressure off if it’s possible right now (which it usually always feels like it’s not). It also opens up the key questions of “how could this happen” and who are the right players. Transparent conversations like this can be a little bit of a risk, but doing things that have a small risk and big potential for reward are how you can get where you want to go. I would always suggest discussing your full situation with a coach that has done this many times themselves and who can understand the dynamics and inner workings of your exact situation before having the conversation.  


It may take a while of back and forth conversations to get to a consultancy. But when you do, make sure you’re negotiating for much more than just your conventional wage and salary that you were making prior. If you’re an independent consultant, you’re now paying for your own benefits, your own unemployment insurance (that part is a joke, you’re now self insured). This means that you likely want to be making 20%-30% more than what you did previously at a minimum. Also this also means that you want to be setting aside your own taxes and savings from every single check. In fact stick it in an account that you can’t easily get to. That way you avoid any temptation. Once you have these differences in place you can now benefit from the massive differences in being a consultant instead of an employee, just like Lisa. Want Help making this Happen?

Lisa Schulter 00:03
Passionate about the cause and then wanting to do something in it. But there were times when I was super duper lost. And I, you know, feeling really bad about myself. In between all of it, I ended up transitioning into clinic management. And what drew me to it initially was seeing your work and seeing the people you're helping is super important and very rewarding.

Introduction 00:26
This is the Happen To Your Career podcast, with Scott Anthony Barlow. We help you stop doing work that doesn't fit you, figure out what does and make it happen. We help you define the work that's unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:50
Welcome to the Happen To Your Career podcast. I'm Scott Anthony Barlow. This is the show where we share stories of how high achievers find career happiness and meaning. Today, our guest is someone pretty special that allowed us to tag along for the ride and help her get to where she very much wanted to go, Lisa Schulter.

Lisa Schulter 01:12
Yeah, so I'm going to be a healthcare operations consultant for a small but growing women's reproductive health organization.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:20
And today, the day she's actually coming on the show to describe her journey over the last number of months. And tell us a little bit about how she went from a place of trying to decide what she should be doing, what she wanted to be doing. And then how to make that change all the way to on the other side, where just a very, very, very recently, she is getting ready to ink a new job offer, job deal. And we get talked about all that. And what's really interesting to me is being a consultant in the idea of consulting was something that you had thought of a while back, but it sounds like not really actually considered it. Right?

Lisa Schulter 02:01
Yeah, definitely. It always seemed like one of those things where you know, when you're working in corporate world, or wherever it is, you work and you hear, "oh the so and so consultant, and this person is a consultant." And it's like, how do people get jobs like that? Like mattress testers. Like, where do you get these cool jobs, that sound really cool. And, obviously, for a lot of flexibility, and people are paying for your expertise, because they think that you're worth it. And I always thought like, oh, that would be really cool to do. But do I know enough? And you know, how does one even do that? And here I am. And it's so strange, and sometimes I think, well, maybe I'm not the best person to talk to because I feel like a lot of my experience has been just luck. But when I think about it, I put in a lot. And I dealt with a lot. And I need to give myself more credit. And I learned a lot. And it happened very organically. That organization I was working for approached me about doing this. And I thought, well, you know what, I made an impression, and I did a good job. And here I am.

Scott Anthony Barlow 02:57
And we're gonna talk about all that and break it down for how it happen, because I think what has a tendency to take place is many people will hear something like that and be like, "ah, things just happen to people." If we start to break down, like how did you get to here? That's not really exactly how it happens. Like, you didn't just snap your fingers and be like, boom, consultant job offer, okay. Game over.

Lisa Schulter 03:22
I would send that years ago. That's impossible.

Scott Anthony Barlow 03:24
Yeah, exactly. So we're gonna get into all that. But I'm curious, where did your career really start out? And you know, if we go back a little ways, what did you think that you wanted to do at the time, even though we have a much better idea of where you wanted to go now? How did that differ? Where did that start from?

Lisa Schulter 03:40
Oh, boy, it's a very, very long and arduous journey.

Scott Anthony Barlow 03:44
It always is.

Lisa Schulter 03:45
Oh god. Yeah. I always hated the question of like, tell me about yourself in job interviews. I'm like, I don't know where to start. But I had always been very passionate about women's health. And after college, I had several internships and jobs here and there at large scale, nonprofit, women's nonprofit organizations. I have a journalism degree. So I did some writing and administrative stuff in different organizations. And I looked around for a little bit, because I just wasn't finding something that either the money, I needed more money to live, or things weren't going at certain points. Then I went back to grad school and got my master's in political science, because reach a point where you don't know what to do, you go back to school.

Scott Anthony Barlow 04:25

Lisa Schulter 04:26
Yeah. And yes, I ended up hopping around a lot. And, you know, with that, I think times are changing for the better, definitely, and in terms of how people see career trajectories, but there's still the school of thought where, you know, that's the bad thing. And that's career suicide. And I have a lot of shame around that. And I didn't want to talk to people about what I did, or if I was between things. I knew I was passionate about the cause and I wanted to do something in it. But there were times when I was super duper lost and I feeling really bad about myself. But in between all that I mean, that's a theme that sort of runs through my career path up to now, but I ended up transitioning into clinic management.

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:06
What prompted that particular transition?

Lisa Schulter 05:08
One of the organizations I was working for, I was a medical services assistant. So I was doing a lot of the admin stuff behind the scenes For the health centers. And then when certain locations were short staffed, I could go and help out for the day. So I was kind of in it before I was in it. And that we had organization had mergers. So there was a bunch of physicians that opened up and one of them was a manager for a small health center. So I went out for it, and I bought it. And what drew me to it initially was, we're always busy, we're always doing stuff, which is awesome, because it just makes the day go quickly. And you feel like you're, you know, making a difference, you're seeing people and help her. And I like helping people, it make feels good. I don't know anybody who doesn't like to help people. But seeing your work and seeing the people you're helping is super important and very rewarding.

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:54
What for you made it feel like you were actually helping people? Because really every job on the planet is helping people in one way or another, right? It sounds like for you at the time, this felt much more like you were directly helping people for one reason or another. So what was it about that, in your case, that made it feel that way?

Lisa Schulter 06:12
I think it's especially when you're working in like a community clinic setting, people are going through a lot, it's a lot of heavy stuff at times, and just being there and being able to offer services that you do and being just friendly face during this time, you can see people really, really appreciate it. So it's not just like, oh, I'm helping this person make money or profit this or that. It's like these people need the services, and they need help. And you being there and offering it to them and being nice to them on top of it. It is you know, it just it means so much.

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:44
That's super interesting. And I'm guessing that's something that was obviously beneficial for you as you've described it. But it sounds like that particular type of help was really rewarding for you at the time. And I think one thing that we've learned is that not everybody wants to help people in the same way, we all just like, you said, we all need to be able to help people and all that good stuff. But it looks a little bit differently for everyone. So that's super interesting that that way at the time was the most rewarding for you. What happened from there?

Lisa Schulter 07:16
Well, I had some great experiences. And then and also another part that drew me to this was and I don't know if it's the same in different areas of healthcare, but at least for me working in very small health centers, these people become your family, you become really close with the women you work with. And they just get really tight because you deal with a lot of heavy stuff during the day, and you spend more time with your co workers than you do with your family. So you tend to get pretty close pretty quick. And that level of camaraderie, I really, really loved that. And that was something that I really wanted in wherever it was that I worked. So that was another, you know, it wasn't all bad. I mean, I had a lot of great experiences, I met a lot of people, friends that I still keep in touch with to this day. But then over time, I started to get burned out. As anyone knows working in community clinic setting, there is a high rate of turnover for a reason. You know, it's no secret, it can be very demanding.

Scott Anthony Barlow 08:08
In what ways is it very demanding? I've never worked in that setting before, I have friends that have.

Lisa Schulter 08:13
Yeah, I think I'm in my little bubble. And I think everybody knows what it's like to be in.

Scott Anthony Barlow 08:17
This is super interesting for me. I love digging into what it's actually like in different places. And so, yes, please.

Lisa Schulter 08:23
Sure. I mean, you have, let's say, for instance, you have a whole day of appointments booked. But you also take walk ins on top of that. So here you have people that scheduled appointments, but you also have to fit your walk ins in between there, however, you have one commission and maybe two or three meetings. So you have there's a waste and even retail and restaurants, anyone knows when people have to pay, they get a little upset. And it's not everybody, but it's kind of managing that people being upset that they need to wait or now your waiting room has seats left and it's standing remotely. And people are wondering why you know, you're not being seen yet. And this person who came in has this problem yet, you know, now that they see the doctor, we realize that there's other problems going on, and we need to address those and how do you balance quality care and giving somebody what they need, while still trying to be one doesn't have your time and other people in the waiting room and, yada yada yada, then it kind of goes on and on. Then you know it can spiral from there. And oh my god, we're out of this. What do you mean, we're out of this? Why didn't anybody tell me we were out of this? Oh my god. So it's little fires that can come up here and there and it gets, you know, a very small chunk of it. But yeah, it can get a little hairy.

Scott Anthony Barlow 09:32
Was that the biggest piece that started to cause you to feel burnt out? Or were there other pieces that really weren't a fit for you over the long term that really caused you to rethink about whether this was the right environment for you?

Lisa Schulter 09:45
It was definitely that plus as I got older and I learned how to get to know myself and know what makes me tick and be real about who I am and not to think like, "oh, well, I need to be this, so I'm going to be that." No, that's not really me. I'm on the introverted side. And I, knowing myself now I can say, "Listen, I know if I don't have a place that's quiet that I can actually delve into what I need to do" because as a manager, you have your managerial responsibilities. But as a good co worker, and we're sure, or we're busy, I will jump in and help everyone else with what they're doing and run the front desk. And you know, it's kind of like my hands and everything. So it's like, your time is very constrained. If I don't have a little bit of quiet, or if I'm on 24, seven or eight, nine, ten hours a day, that just wipes me out. And some people thrive on that. And that's awesome. And we need those people for sure. But I think that, you know, more than anything, especially when you're already known, I'm already exhausted mentally and physically, because I'm on and doing all this. And then someone's angry in my face. That...

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:51
Perfect storm.

Lisa Schulter 10:52
I say no more. Yeah, perfect storm. So yeah, I think realizing that a little bit of that is good. I don't obviously never want to talk to anyone. But that particular role is very much in the public and very much, putting out lots of fires and running back and forth, you know, what's the new drama today and all that. So just figuring out myself, and knowing that, you know what, I need to feel good as I need to have that space, and I need that time, I need to be able to work. And I know a big part of what makes people happy is having being able to control how and when you work, which sounds like a luxury but it shouldn't be. But that was huge for me is you know, being able to have that quiet time and not just me going to the bathroom of having, like I need to work. But I can take a breath. And that's okay. And no one's you know, not going to throw a look at me.

Scott Anthony Barlow 11:41
It was built into the role. And I think those are two really valid points that a lot of people don't think of. Number one, when we talk about introversion versus extraversion as an example, often we'll talk about it in terms of where do you get your energy from. And that's one of my favorite definitions of introversion versus extraversion because a lot of people confuse it with a somebody who just has natural ability to talk to people. And that's an extrovert versus somebody who is socially inept, and that's an introvert. And I think that's a terrible definition and is not fully accurate in any sense of the word. I've met many extroverts who are socially inept, too. But I think in terms of looking at it the way that you did in terms of, hey, I am more on the introverted side, and I need to have a period of my day, every single day where I can recharge, or I can get that quiet time, or I can have that to myself, because that's what you need in order to be able to do the other elements. And I think that's very astute of you, first of all, and most people are just not looking at it that way. So that's pretty cool. Yeah, and I think the other one, the other thing I want to call out there too, the other side of that, that you mentioned, is the fact that we know I mean, science tells us that we have to have some measure of influence about how the work gets done. And if we don't have that, especially if we don't have that in extreme senses, then that causes really negative impacts all the way to, in some cases, health impacts. And that's something a lot of people don't think about too. So again, kudos to you for acknowledging that about yourself, and then starting to define what that looks like. Because it's a little bit different for everybody. Not everybody needs influence in the same way over the how your work gets done. But for you, I'm curious what that specifically looked like, as you started to learn about that. What did that mean for you?

Lisa Schulter 13:34
I think I was come to this conclusion years prior. And I ended up taking another clinic management role, because and I think I told you, in my initial email to you when I was start doing an HTYC program, it felt like an abusive relationship.

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:47
I remember that. Yes. I remember that well.

Lisa Schulter 13:49
And it sounds terrible to say, but I would reach a point where I knew this lifestyle was unsustainable for me. I was unhappy, unhealthy. I'm very health conscious. So for me to come home at night, and have three glasses of wine and crackers for dinner, because I just can't do anymore today, that's not good. And that wasn't every night, but there definitely I remember nights like that. So you know, you're in this unsustainable place, and you cut ties, and you say, you know, I'm going to do something different. I need to do something different. I know, this isn't good for me. The fear was sudden after I left, and it's like, alright, well, who's gonna want me? Who's gonna hire me? How are my skills going to transfer like, and then this place of fear, you get to this place of fear that no one else gonna hire you. And sometimes it's like, the devil you know, is better than the devil you don't know. And I think well, once you're removed from it, you kind of forget all the bad and think, well, I know this. It's familiar to me. You know, maybe it wasn't that bad. And then you find another position and it's the same position but at a different place. So I think, well, you know, maybe things will be different here. And then six months down the line, I'm in the same place that I was two years ago, and it's like, I keep doing the same thing over and over is insanity. Right? Yeah, so what that looked like for me in terms of having control over my work, I guess I was really bad at this because I would end up doing a lot of my managerial reports and stuff, I would do it at home, or on my day off, because for me, it was easier. And people, my co workers would say, like, why are you taking this home, don't do this at home. But for me, it was easier for me to sit alone in my apartment, or at home or whatever and on my stuff, because I knew I wasn't going to be disturbed or there wasn't going to be a fire to put out. So even though I was working outside of my normal business hours, but that gave me less stress to know that I can do this interrupted at home rather than actually doing it at work, which I mean, it sounds crazy. But for me, that worked. But at the same time, I was like, well, I wish I didn't have to do this on my day off.

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:46
Well I think a lot of people here can identify with exactly that. I very much experienced that in the same way too, because, I mean, I've worked in a lot of different types of jobs and roles, but specifically in HR, depending on what level it was at, at HR. Sometimes it was my office that people would go in there knock on the door when they had problems or concerns or other things like that when I was HR generalist or HR manager where as function as the generalist. And that meant I had interruptions constantly, which pretty much meant that I was always working against my natural style, which is very similar to yours, where, look, I have to be able to sort of settle in with no disruptions in order to get into some deeper thought patterns and really be able to focus. And if I don't have that, then it just feels perpetually stressful.

Lisa Schulter 16:34
Yeah, definitely. It's that chaotic, very anxious feeling of you can't relax, like what's coming up next, I have to be prepared for what's coming next. And for some people, like I said, they thrive on it. And that's what they want and love. And it's great. Because those of us like me, we need people like you/

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:50
Yes, very much so.

Lisa Schulter 16:51
To take those positions that just exhausted.

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:55
Okay, so what then took place that caused you to say, "Look, I'm not going to do this anymore, I'm not going to continue the," as you call the abusive relationship or what feels like an abusive relationship sometimes, "and I'm going to do something different, I'm going to move down a different path or road." And that's probably about the time where you ended up emailing us. But what caused you to make that decision in the first place? What took place?

Lisa Schulter 17:20
Oh, well, my most recent position that actually led to what I'm doing today, I was approached by a former colleague, who I worked with and really wanted to work with me again, she knew that I did a great job. And I really did well, you know, in health centers, and she said, "I'm working for this organization that's revolutionizing women's health care. And we really need a new manager in the metro area." I live in New Jersey. And I was like, "Huh, right? Well, this all sounds like a great opportunity." And it's the same thing I was doing. But in this new different organization, that's going to be all the good things and bad things that we've all known that we've dealt with. But it was never in my plans to leave Jersey. And now I live with my boyfriend, and we never really had plans to leave. So we talked about it. And I said, "I don't know, it sounds like a great opportunity, but" super supportive, and he said, "You have to try it. If you don't, you know, you might regret it. It's three hours away. We'll make it work. We'll figure it out. But if you really think we should try it, you should try it, you know." So I did. And again, same thing happened a little bit in I realized, like...

Scott Anthony Barlow 18:25
This time number three now, right?

Lisa Schulter 18:26
Yeah. And it was like, "Oh, my god. what are you doing?" And now it's not only the headaches that year was really, really hard. But not only all the headaches, but now I'm three hours away from my partner. And I made some friends here and there. But it's different than the older friends that you have back home. And it was really, really tough. And that's when, right around, about a year ago, I started listening to podcasts. And I thought, well, first of all, there has to be a better way, I have to figure out, like really get serious about what it is I need to do and not just sort of like think about it quickly on a couch one night and then start looking for jobs that I think I can do out of fear. So I said there's got to be a podcast for career changers. And that's how I found yours and just started listening to it. And I thought this is sounded like you and your programs got me like, it wasn't this old school career counseling you had in high school where it was like, "are you going to be a policeman or an astronaut?" It was like, you know, you're an accountant...

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:24
Checked the box, yeah!

Lisa Schulter 19:25
You're an introvert. Maybe you should be an accountant? No, I don't want to be an accountant.

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:29
Or an engineer if you're lucky.

Lisa Schulter 19:30
No, absolutely not. But it was just this like such a refreshing way of looking at careers and listening to people's stories and hearing other people who've been through not exactly the same stuff, but also their own hardships and feeling lost and not everybody knows exactly what they're going to do when they graduate high school and college and that's okay. And sometimes we change a lot and that's okay. And to hear that I wasn't alone. I made me feel like I wasn't alone. There's nothing wrong with me. I just ate those episodes up, every time I was in the car, and I got a lot of back and forth to Jersey, you know, to visit my boyfriend. And I just eventually I was like, you know what, this is something I got to do, this is going to be worth.

Scott Anthony Barlow 20:12
First of all, let me just say that, that makes me really, really happy that something that we started five years ago can have that type of impact on somebody like you. So that is fantastic. And I'm even more excited that we can have a situation where you were a podcast listener, not that long ago in the scheme of things, and found the show and then started thinking about what could be for you in a different way. And then now you're on the show.

Lisa Schulter 20:40
And I used to think in my car, like, oh, wow, wouldn't it be cool to be one of these happy people on the show and just thought about how I got to where I am. And, hey, look at this, less than a year later, it's so cool.

Scott Anthony Barlow 20:52
That is amazing. And I can't say enough for not just how happy I am for you, but also can't say enough for, I don't know, just really, you have to pat yourself on the back. Because the work that you have done, to even put yourself in a situation to where you can be open to something else in a way that can be really, really great for you is not easy work. A lot of that is internal work. And it's quite frankly, difficult. And most people in their entire lives are not going to be willing to do that work. So first of all, kudos to you.

Lisa Schulter 21:25
Thank you.

Scott Anthony Barlow 21:26
And second of all, I would love to talk a little bit about once you found us. And eventually we started working with you in career change bootcamp. Right? Yes. And as you were going through that, what were some of the biggest aha's that you had about yourself and what else you needed. And then let's talk about what the transgression was for how you ended up here now, with a contract that's coming to you like later today or tomorrow.

Lisa Schulter 21:50
I think just finding different ways to describe myself and my strengths. And, you know, knowing that no one else is like me. And you know, there are other people who are type A and super responsible and introverted, but we all have different things that we bring to the table and, you know, make us unique. And I really struggled for a while with describing myself and my strengths and just describing myself as a professional. So that was, you know, I remember it was a summer and I was sitting outside and I just kind of like did some free writing of looking at my strengths. And then thinking of synonyms rather than just like writing and writing. It's like, wow, this is the stuff I can do. Like, this is me. So that was super cool. And also just I think the biggest takeaway I got from HTYC is recognizing my worth, not only just like, monetarily, but as a professional and as a person. Because I think there's this school thought, and again, I think you're definitely changing. But I see this, especially from, you know, older folks in the workplace toward younger folks, is that you advocate for yourself, or you're assertive, or you bring challenges and problems to the right person and point out, you know, challenges and problems that you see, in your day to day, you're seen as a problem, or, you know, you're troublemaker, and it's like, no, we're supposed to advocate for ourselves there's nothing wrong with that, if you bring it up in a respectful and mature way. Unfortunately, I've seen professionals that soon as someone does that, that happens to be younger, you know, they're met with this hostility that you know, well, as an employee, we're supposed to just take what's given to us and say, "Oh, thank you, sir."

Scott Anthony Barlow 23:31
May I have another?

Lisa Schulter 23:33
Exactly. And just be grateful and shut up. And, you know, while I think there's an element of respect that goes with that, that doesn't mean that we should be that people need to be taken advantage of or, you know, be seen as a problem for trying to be paid with our worth and treated with respect. So I think owning myself and owning punishments and saying, "why not me, instead of, why me? Why do I deserve this?" I can't ask that realizing that, "No, no. This has come from a research point. And I can back it up with data. And I've done this, I've done that. And I'm proud of it. And I needed to give myself credit." And that was probably the biggest takeaway, and that's a lifelong struggle. I'm not saying that, like, poof, it's gone. And I never feel those feelings anymore. But to recognize it, when it starts to come back again and think, "No, no, I got this. I'm an adult. I got this cover." That was huge for me.

Scott Anthony Barlow 24:24
That is amazing. And I think that you are absolutely correct. That one, there has been that school of thought for a long time that is very much the opposite way of what you described about, "Hey. Thank you, sir. May I have another?" And it is changing. And if we have anything to do with it, we're going to keep changing it rapidly. But that is something that we're very interested in. And especially the more people that we can help make moves like you have done, then the more companies are going to be able to pay attention too, because that changes what the demand is. And we've already started that shift in the last about 10 years or so, but there's still a long ways to go, as well for having the average company, really looking at what do we need as human beings in order to feel fulfilled? And how do we create that within our work environment? And how do we match that into what it is that we do and the products and people that we serve? And we're just a really, really long way from that happening in the average company. So in the meantime, I think people have to do what you've done, and identify, you know, what can I bring to the table that really truly is me. And then ultimately, as you learn some of that, the more that you learn about it, I think you've done a really phenomenal job in getting comfortable with more and more comfortable with who you are and what you actually bring to the table. And then one of the realizations that we see so commonly with people that we work with is after they have done some of the... long before they even get to the job, long before they're actually you know, trying to make the change, they start to get a much higher degree of confidence with who they are and the value that they bring, which then translates later on the other end to things like performance and interviews, or being able to articulate what it is that they do really well. And having that type of conversation where naturally they become more of an advocate for themselves. And that's super cool to see that you've experienced some of that as well.

Lisa Schulter 26:18
Yes, definitely.

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:19
Well, first of all, I want to acknowledge that you had to make some hard decisions along the way too, as well, here, this didn't just go from a place, hey, this is the third time in this and I now know that I want to do something different. And you know, I spent an afternoon on the back porch. And miraculously, I'm more comfortable with my strengths and everything like that. But you made some hard decisions through this process as you became more clear about what it is that you wanted to. Could you tell us a little bit about those?

Lisa Schulter 26:48
Yeah, you know, just really doing the work on the program and exploring, well, what could I see myself doing and reaching out to folks that are doing these things, and, you know, which is not easy for me being an introvert, reaching out to strangers and feeling stupid, and like, go there. I wonder if you could tell me what it means to be XYZ. So you know, having phone conversations, these folks, and it was so important, because I scratched a lot of things off my list that way, within the first 10 minutes of the conversation, I was like, "Oh, absolutely. Not. No. That's terrible."

Scott Anthony Barlow 27:18
Which is actually really valuable because, what if you had pursued that? Oh, my goodness, you could have wasted years of your life.

Lisa Schulter 27:23
Right? Yeah, thank goodness, it wasn't like, "Oh, I'm gonna get a degree in this. So I can do this." And then find out later, oh, this is not at all what I want my life to look like. So yeah, getting uncomfortable, doing things that are uncomfortable. And, you know, it's not... if it was so easy to just take some classes and read some things, and then you would find something and the light would shine above your head. And oh, I did it. I found it. Now, it's messy, and a lot of being honest with yourself. And you know, there are some jobs that look really cool on paper. But then when you're honest with yourself and think well, am I really gonna be happy doing that, like, it sounds cool to talk about, you know, I'm a... felt I'm so good, you know, to my friends and strangers. Wow, that sounds really cool. She sounds really important. But what does that mean, for my daily life? Is that something that I'm going to actually live, which is another huge thing I took away from that, too. And I kind of always sort of thought about that, like, oh, well, I didn't want to spend 11 out of 12 months on the road, like I knew I didn't want that kind of life, but really get serious about the boring day to day stuff. Like, I like to come home and have dinner with my family. I don't mind travel. If it's a little bit here and there. That's okay, it's really getting into, I want time for this. Or I like to be able to have the flexibility to take my aunt to the doctor because she had sold her surgery, which I did, you know, actually a few days ago. So it's little things like that, that are so important. And I think you call it life crafting. So it's really getting serious about what it is that you want your life to look like, which is so revolutionary. And I actually had to like reverting back to that feeling of like, I can't ask for that. Are you kidding? Like, that's silly. But really just know, there are tons of people in this world who are doing these things and thinking about what kind of lives they want, and making them happen. And that's good. You can do this. It's not... there's nothing that says "No, you are not allowed to have that" you can make it happen if you want to.

Scott Anthony Barlow 29:15
Well, I truly think that when you do that, you are a more productive member of society. Because when you're doing something that you're choosing to live, then you can add value in a way that simply isn't possible when you're doing something that you feel like you're forced or stuck in that particular situation. It just... you give a different level of productivity day after day after day after day. So I think you'd become a better human by declaring that.

Lisa Schulter 29:42
The world would be such a different place if you know what you feel like when you feel lousy and miserable. And you walk around the world like that. And everyone else is doing the same thing. And it's like, no wonder things are the way they are, which is a whole other podcast. But yeah, you're just a happier person and you're nicer to people. And it makes such a world of difference and less anxious and less angry, irritable, you know, changes your life.

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:06
So what took place? Because at some point you decided, look, I'm done with the DC area, I'm going back to Jersey, and you made that decision. And then eventually a conversation started. And you began to have a conversation about what it could look like to be a consultant for your previous company. So take us through that, like, how did you make that decision? And then how did you move through the conversation?

Lisa Schulter 30:30
Well, I knew pretty early on that I was not going to stay longer than my apartment lease. Not only did I realize, I can't keep doing this, the area just wasn't it didn't feel like home to me. Sometimes I'll go to places and I'll think pretty early on, like, I could see us living here. This feels homey. It did not. And my boyfriend came down, we spent some time and we're like, we don't really want to settle here. So I knew pretty early on, it wasn't going to be a long term thing. And then eventually, I... well I was doing the program, you know, throughout the year. Eventually, I gave my notice. And everybody was sad. And they had been telling me obviously, this year, like I had done such a good job, I really clean things up and the center was running great. And head and shoulders above what it had been before. And they were really sad to see me go. So at my going away party, the CEO approached me and she said, "Would you be interested in doing some, like project management type work? Because you know, we'd like to expand in the next 10 years or so" I said, "Yeah, absolutely. As long as I don't have to move anywhere else." And she said, "Okay, I get it" you know. And I thought, well, that would be cool if that worked out. And I kind of got excited about it for a minute. And then I'm like, well, you know, it was something said in passing. So we'll see if that happens. And when I was moving home, my boyfriend actually as a side gig, he does repairing vintage guitar amplifiers. He's been showing me some stuff. And I've been, you know, helping him out with placing capacitors and you know, learning all about this stuff. And there's still a lot to learn. But anyway, so I said, "Well, I can you know, help out with that."

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:59
I love that as a guitar player, by the way.

Lisa Schulter 32:01
I'm sure. It's such an animal. Wow, oh, my god. Tunes and you know, it's pretty heavy. So I was, you know, helping him out with that, we were kind of starting a side gig. Then I got invited to my organization's Christmas party, even though I was no longer an employee, they invited me to the holiday party. And I thought, well, that's really nice. So I'm still part of the family. So we went to the holiday party. And you know, my boss, and the CEO approached me again and said, you know, "We really want to keep you. We don't want to lose you. We want to open two new centers next year, and then you know, going forward, would you want to be like an independent consultant with us?" I was like, "yeah, definitely" you know, and like, okay, we're going to talk and then later on that night, my boss came back and said, you know, "The CEO, really, really likes you. And the President really, really is so impressed with you. She's serious. Don't think that this is just something nice that she said" I said, "Okay" and then we kind of got it. You know, there are some snowstorms and flus and things happening throughout the holidays. And we've had some phone conversations. And now it looks like I'm going to be consulting for them. So since for smaller organizations, small but expanding, it's super cool, because it's a new thing, and I can sort of build it. So I'll be helping to not only research areas in the country where you might want to have a health center, but also help build out making sure that spaces are appropriate for what we want to offer and comfortable and I can actually use the experiences I've had, I have to pinch myself, because it's like, I don't know how is... Yeah, because it's like I can actually use, it's a more strategic role, which I really, really like. And I can use the experiences I've had and the expertise I have to, you know, make things happen and say, "you know what, we had this at this other place, and it did not work. How about we try this?" So yeah, super exciting. I'm gonna be able to train new employees, and, you know, help hire and sort of get things set up, and then move on to the next project, which I really like to...

Scott Anthony Barlow 33:54
That's amazing.

Lisa Schulter 33:55
Yes, I really love things with a beginning and an end. And then I like to cross things off my list, and then move on to the next thing. So this just fits into my ideal and so many different ways.

Scott Anthony Barlow 34:05
First of all, congratulations. And second of all, I don't think everybody is going to have this show up in the same way. But we've helped actually, a lot of people make the move to consulting, and you had so many of the prerequisites that people don't realize are going on underneath the hood. First of all, you know, you had a great relationship with your boss. And the second of all, you had a high degree of performance and had communicated in a way previously long before this was on the table to where it very much was a partnership and they looked at you as a potential partner. And if you don't have that, the rest doesn't become possible. But even if you're not gonna, like randomly show up at the Christmas party that puts you in a place where then you could actually have this type of conversation, whether or not they're initiating it, or you're initiating it. So if you're interested in consulting, like Lisa is then first you got to have those prerequisites. Second, If they don't initiate the conversation you can actually go and initiate the conversation too, and it's super cool that they did in this particular occasion. What I'm curious, as we're wrapping up, I wonder, what would you advise people that are in that space where you were a year ago? And they're thinking, look, I can actually take control of this, I could be one of these stories for all intents and purposes that and you know, they're in that space, trying to figure out what is going to be great for them. What advice would you give them?

Lisa Schulter 35:29
I would say, stick to it, definitely do the work. It's not always easy. And it's not always comfortable. And you know, it's self reflection, you think, oh, that's easy. I just didn't think. Yeah, it's gonna bring up things that you probably have repressed for whatever reason or another, and things that you have to get over and work through. But definitely, you know, keep at it, be true to yourself, recognize that you're worthy, and you don't have to just take whatever you're on at, you can make decisions that are the best decisions for yourself, and make them not from a place of fear. But actually think like, well, is this really going to get me any closer to the life that I want? And is this really going to make me happy? Because we all know like, you know, paycheck is great. And we obviously need it. I don't believe people who say like, you know, you don't need money. Yes, you do. But money only goes so far, and you're making the money, but you're miserable and you're not happy with your life. That's then what are you doing? So I'd say definitely stick with it and, and know your worth and own it and be proud of what you've accomplished thus far. And you know, keep on going, keep on talking to people.

Scott Anthony Barlow 36:35
That is amazing. Thank you so much for taking the time to come on the show. And thank you so much for letting us be a part of your journey. I really, really appreciate it.

Lisa Schulter 36:46
Thank you so much, Scott. Like I said, I used to listen to these people and think oh, I hope I'm them someday. And it's surreal being on the show. Thank you so much. This has been great.

Scott Anthony Barlow 36:55
Hey, thanks so much for listening to the Happen To Your Career podcast. I hope you loved that episode with Lisa Schulter. She is absolutely fantastic. And also just wanted to say thanks so much for supporting the show in a different way too because we've had so many people go over to iTunes and Stitcher radio, and other places where podcasts are played and rate and review the show and it means so much to us. But it also helps so many other people find the show, which means that we get to help even more people get to work that they absolutely love doing and I just wanted to read a podcast review. This comes from Stitcher Radio. This comes from Charles Wu, he says "Five stars. Five out of five stars. Very helpful and motivational. Love the show. Helps me have hoped for future endeavors." And we appreciate you Charles. Alright. Hey, head on over and leave us that feedback. It means the world to us. We have so much more coming up for you in store right here on the Happen To Your Career podcast. Take a listen to what we have next week.

So I grew up, always thinking that I would have a creative career. I wanted to be an interior designer or a writer. But many reasons I didn't end up pursuing that, my brother was working at... as he decided to make a career change himself. He offered as a bartering chip to that company, hey, my sister can step into this role. And there began my management consulting career. So I started in turn in college.

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:25
All that and plenty more right here on Happen To Your Career. We'll see you next week. Until then, I'm out.

Ready for Career Happiness?

What Career Fits You?

Finally figure out what you should be doing for work

Join our 8-day “Mini-Course” to figure it out. It’s free!