How to make more money by working 4 days per weekJul 18, 2023
As a Change Management Consultant, I now work for myself and decide my days, hours and services I offer to my clients. But the confidence and mindset shift to believing flexible work was possible happened well before then, when I made the move to day rate contracting AND when I started working 4 days per week. If you’ve ever dreamed of working part-time but still earning the same (or better) than your full-time role, let me show you how I did it.
Disclaimer: Obviously this is general advice and doesn’t take your personal financial and tax situation into account - speak with your own financial team to see what’s best for you!
Why I wanted to work 4 days a week
I was working full-time and I’d had a career coaching side hustle since 2015 but the truth is - I spent many of my evenings and weekends working one-on-one with clients and I simply got burnt out. I’d see clients on a fortnightly basis in-person for 60-90 minutes, so if I had 3-4 clients at a point in time, it took up a lot of my leisure hours but didn’t necessarily bring in enough income to justify the exhaustion. I’d also moved to Change Management, and for anyone who works on projects, you know they can be full on!
I wanted to claw back my weeknights and weekends so I could properly rest, recharge and socialise. BUT I didn’t want to drop my pay by moving part-time to a 4-day week or even a 9-day fortnight. So I got creative.
Ways I’ve worked 4 days a week
The first time I started working 4 days a week was when I worked in an organisation which tracked time, not number of days. I was able to accrue time and as long as you reached your quota of minutes, you’d met your employment requirement. So I worked longer hours on four days and got a full day off every week, which I used to work in my business. It was all above board - I submitted Secondary Employment Notification (some companies and organisations require you to do this so there’s no conflicts of interest), checked it off with my manager, told my projects and teams, and then followed the process. The ability to do this was one of the reasons I accepted that role.
The other time I worked 4 days was when I was going for a day rate contracting role through a recruiter and I told the recruiter I only wanted to work 4 days. She noted that down and when I got the contract role, I had a catch up with my new leader and was like: “So you know I’m working 4 days, right?” She was like: “No?” And I was like: “Yeahhhhhh.” So for the first few months I worked 5 days as I was new to the role, new to the company, and the project was super critical. Then as the projects I worked on settled, I pared back to 4 days and was always happy to flex up to 5 when and if needed - because I knew I’d get paid more for working the extra day!
Part-time work traps
I’m not going to say working 4 days was always easy but it was my boundary to keep. And it’s one of the best parts of being a day rate contractor because I got paid much more working 4 days, and if I did flex up to 5 days, I’d simply timesheet it and got paid for that extra day. I saw colleagues in part-time roles hold their boundaries of 4 days, but I equally saw colleagues in part-time pro-rated salaried roles feel guilty about missing a key meeting or try to catch up doing their work on their day/s off and it meant they were missing out on both the flexibility AND their full-time income. I always thought to myself wouldn’t it better for them to work full-time at full salary and take unpaid leave for the hours or days they don’t work? But definitely talk to your accountant of financial advisor and work out whatever’s right for you.
Keeping communication open
It’s one of the reasons I love day rate contracting, especially in the project space: if you work a day, you get a paid for a day. Just be sure to communicate - to your project, to your leader, and to your recruiter, and timesheet what you work. And try to be accommodating to the ways of working of your team or project when you’re choosing which day/s a week you regularly take off so your availability is clear. I liked Wednesdays because I could deliver and do meetings early in the week and be around for social events and focused meeting-free Friday work at the end of the week. But ultimately - it’s your decision what you work and if it doesn’t fly with your current boss or project, find a place where you can get the flexibility you desire.
Making the move to day rate contracting (which may make flexible working while still earning your worth easier) is the first mindset shift and it’s one that I help a lot of my Leading Successful Change students find the confidence to make.
The next mindset shift is to own your own time completely and choose your clients, choose your schedule, and choose your rates. That’s the move to independent consulting.
I’ll be sharing how to start or grow your own independent Change Management consultancy in my upcoming in-person retreat in Sydney in October 2023. In this two-day experiential retreat, you'll learn my expert secrets and shortcuts to setting yourself up for success with clarity and confidence as an independent Change Consultant whose time and advice is valued and respected, so you can potentially expand your income and impact. And more importantly, be there for the moments that matter most.
The Early Bird offer where you can save $2,000 off the retreat investment ends on 31 July, so apply ASAP.
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