A number of people have decided, or been compelled, to move from the security of a CIO position to the less secure, but more flexible life of a freelance consultant or part-time CIO-for-hire.

Peter Jameson was CIO at Redeal, the back-office support organisation for electronics distributor Rexel, until May last year, when the role was disestablished. "I had been thinking about a move of this kind before the economic climate forced it on me," he says, "and I knew the reorganisation was coming." So he was to some extent forewarned. He saw the change as offering a more flexible lifestyle, with better work-life balance.

Networking skills

The life of a CIO, with its management of several concurrent projects, can be frustrating, though it is also stimulating and rewarding, he says. "I also looked for the mental stimulation of working for different organisations and doing different types of work."

A successful consultant has to sell him/herself on the open market, "you have to become a different kind of person, a self-marketer who gives a lot of time to networking -- a communicator," says Jameson.

Attention should be paid to marketing materials; such as a set of documents that will quickly give a potential client an idea of the consultant's strengths. "You need to have something you can show clients." Preparation of such materials is, naturally, unpaid work, part of the "cost of sale".

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