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Oxygen’s Chief Compliance Officer, Jonathan Consalvo, did not initially expect to land in FinTech, let alone San Francisco. Born and raised in Boston, he says his parents were very influential in his pursuit of higher education. “I wanted to branch out of Boston, which was starting to feel like a small town – so I moved to New Orleans for college and studied economics. But then,” Consalvo adds, “2009 wasn’t the easiest year to graduate in terms of finding a job. It took a while, but I ended up back on the East Coast at a consulting start-up in DC, where I stayed for 8 years.”

After his time at the consulting firm, he broke off to do his own work. But why leave a traditional job for a more volatile and unpredictable career? Consalvo says he liked the idea of every aspect of consulting being dependent on himself, and only himself. “Finding clients, determining problems, and then delivering what was needed and performing the work – I loved owning that from start to finish.” He says, “It felt great to produce deliverables and be entirely responsible for their success.”

He continues to explain that his time at the firm had given him the tools and skill sets he needed to branch out, so the transition was natural. “I spent 8 years learning my niche space in the financial services industry; having that knowledge provided impetus of breaking off on my own. I had also built a strong network with my former employer, and it definitely helped to have that starting point to leverage for clients.”

The transition from full time work to freelancing was liberating in its flexible routine and self-motivated drive. “There wasn’t really ever much of a normal day,” says Consalvo about his days as a consultant. “Sometimes I’d spend days contacting and reaching out to people for advice on work. On others I’d do research to stay apprised of industry changes and regulations that could affect my work. It’s not entirely different from what I do now really.”

When asked what advice he would give to aspiring consultants, Consalvo thoughtfully says, “Consulting as an industry or occupation will always exist–the nature of the trade makes it so that consultants have to be able to learn about techniques, operations, best practices, and so much more across a variety of fields and industries. This knowledge becomes extremely valuable for both the client you’re working with and the one after. Your worth and value builds as your careers continues. And sometimes it’s a nine-to-five job, but usually it’s an intense environment where clients demand high quality work at quick turnaround times. Your ability to thrive as a consultant and freelancer depends on your capacity to meet that challenge.”