Independent Consultant versus Part of a Group

I have been thinking lately about the rise in so many independent consultants and how that changes things.  I was wondering whether these days I would prefer to be indenpent versus part of a group.  I suspect it depends on the type of person you are and your goals.

I would like to compare it first to a golfing experience.  Many people play and are not affiliated with a club and play with a regular or irregular group.  They often play a variety of courses and enjoy the differences.  However they miss the club experience.  They do not play in events where you a paired up with others members of the club and participate in great fellowship and support.  I really favour the club experience because you play regularly without having to arrange every game.   You meet  a wide variety of most interesting people with a common love of the game.

As an independent consultant, you also miss the support system of a group of people who share a common purpose and provide mutual support.  An independent will often be a member of a project and work with them for some time but they all know the team is just for the project.  I have heard independents say that it is a lonely existence but they enjoy the freedom.  The other thing they lose is being regularly with a group going thru a common experience.  Another thing that the independent misses is any sort ability to leverage their own time by adding the services of others.  Their income is completely dependent on their time. 

During all my career, I chose to be part of a group.  I was able to draw support from my colleagues when I needed support.  The consulting business is a tough business and without a support system it is even tougher.  At Project X, we attempt to provide support for our people, and also for the people who work with us regularly we provide support and coaching.  We recognize the loneliness of the independent consultant.

However the club experience of great event which we can all share is missing of the independent.  I just organized a great event at our golf club and it was an awesome experience.  The fellowship and fun was second to none.  Without that club or group affiliation  that experience would have been impossible.

I would like to hear from people with a different point of view.

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