In am must read post, Jay Ulfelder says do not quit your day job:
….. I occasionally wonder how and why it’s worked for me so far. My answer always starts with the point Phil Schrodt made about the value of already being a known quantity with professional ties to people with money to spend. I started this spell of my career after a ten-year stint with a big consulting firm that connected me to lots of great scholars and sharp people in several U.S. government agencies. If I had tried to do something like this right out of grad school, I’m virtually certain I would have failed fast. I like to think that my careerist turn to social media and blogging have made a big difference, but that’s probably not true. Sure, I’ve landed some paid freelance jobs through those channels, but the vast majority of my income in the past two years has come from work that came to me through the connections I made and the reputation I developed in my old salaried job.
The post is an important caution to those in academia who are interested in bridging the gap between scholarly work and the policy realm through independent research and/or consulting.