Granted, these questions are all legitimate, and reflect some of the ''bad'' sides to being a consultant, however, for the moment let's look at the ''good'' side, if we may? You get to be your own boss, you can stop working when you wish, you can vacation when you wish, and take a break when you wish. If you need additional money because your youngster was just told he needs braces, you can just work a bit harder to accumulate the cash. 9-5 does not apply any more; you are now working on your timetable.
There are other questions you need to ask yourself though. Are you ready to do the ''grunt'' work yourself? This means that you need to type your own letters, make your own phone calls, as well as create your own business contacts. Will you be able to do your own accounting work? Will you be able to get up in the morning and go to work, or will you waste time with computer games, or the TV?
If you are hired to accomplish a lot in a short time, will you be able to work nights and weekends as well as the weekdays to accomplish what you were hired to do? Are you able to sell yourself and your talents over and over again to different clients? Do you have enough confidence to do so?
In your mind, make an outline of why you'd be better than a salaried worker in your field, and why you think that there's a need for your specific expertise. Then work out what you think a consultant should be paid for such work? If you are very self-reliant and exceedingly secure, chances are you'd do well as a consultant, but are your skills and experience better than most?
It's a good thing if you can set your alarm and get right to work, though there is no time clock to post in, but on the other hand, if work cuts into your private life, will you be able to acclimate to that? In other words, lunch may not always come up at noon anymore.
As an independent contractor, IRS will want you to pay quarterly taxes; do you have the wherewithal to do so for a while? On the other hand, your office space will now be deductible, as will a lot of your auto expense.
Finally, does your significant other work bring in enough cash to tide you over as you build your consulting business up? Will you have to spend money to create your business, do you have a computer, copy machine, fax? You will need business cards and business stationery too. Good luck!