Tuesday 3 January 2017

Freelancing Kit: 20 Years Corporate Experience Has Nothing To Do With This.

Ok, you are new to freelancing after many years in corporate. This is one blog, I wanted to write for a very long time

You better be ready to take some blows on your confidence initially.


Let us consider your background first.

You are used to that cozy cubicle with an ergonomic chair to suit your long dedicated hours in office. Your opinions and perspectives are noted and pondered upon by Management. You begin your work day having a quick meeting with your team – those who report to you have immense respect for your organization skills and ideas.

Suddenly when you are trying to do this, you have no clue why no one cares. You thought you have so much to offer and contribute – You will definitely have a line of orders from buyers across the globe seeking your expertise.

They don’t. That’s the first blow.

As a buyer, when I see your impressive linked profile, the projects you executed and leadership skills you have, I wonder if I can guide you appropriately with my project or should I completely leave it on your shoulders to be guided by youI sense loss of control already.

It is almost the same kind of dilemma a small company faces while dealing with big names – Will we fit into their strategic interest? Will we be treated well as their premium clients? Will the fees be exorbitant? If they do not deliver as promised, can we recover our investment or seek alternatives?

Be approachable. Your profile should make your target audience comfortable. So it is not about “I” and “20 years” – it is about the value-add you have to offer "them" who want to reach out to you.

Experience/ Education/ Environment

Your past experience, high education and the environment you were exposed to so far can actually be the hindering factors.

You feel like a teenager wanting to be heard and taken seriously. You feel like a fresher eager for a breakthrough. Each time you tell your buyers that you have 20 year’s extensive experience and blah, it does not sound right, echoes in your own ears and you feel the urge to stop bragging because here, you are nothing.

Well, if you do not feel any of these, stop trying to make a mark here. You are not ready for this adventure, just yet

Whether you want to offer consultation, domain/ industry expertise or execute any assignment independently how you handle it as an individual without the backup of a company’s portfolio is something buyers are yet to see in your profile. Can you deliver?

You can’t. That’s the second blow.

You realize that dependence you had on your team to get minor works done is going against you here – You feel handicapped – uploading that logo in power point presentation, writing that blog, reading a report and making critical notes to build your talking points – All were made ready for you by your team. Though you are a great thinker, the doing part was missing for a very long time. Why are you failing here? 

Is it because you are without your label and usual branding here? 
Is it because you have to compete with 20 year olds?
Is it because the young ones are actually doing much better than you with fundamentals? 
Is your confidence taking an irreparable blow?

It is time for the unlearning process to begin. Create your slides now and yes, format them too.


Let us understand the rationale behind why some companies/ startups hire freelancers. That is no rocket science actually. There are different thoughts and focus behind such a move. 

a)  They cannot afford or they do not need full time employees.
b)   There is no continuity of work – it is just need based
c)   They need the best in the industry, even if they can afford them just once

Your capability should align with this need and deliver the outcome they are looking for. Will you, with your current capability own this end to end?

You will not. That is the final blow

Your capability has limitations. I have worked with several leaders who are great to give tips and comments on how to refine a deck however they have zero understanding about how to storyboard the deck for the proposed target audience from scratch.

Anyone with little bit of awareness on left brain dominated people (logical – data specific) and right brain dominated people (creative – imagination prone) will know how to deal with this shortcoming.

Your knowledge should compensate for what the buyers do not have.

You should be able to deliver their desired business outcomes

Either you or another hired resource should be able to continue based on what you deliver to meet future needs and bigger needs of the project.

What are the three critical things you need to unlearn today to establish your online income? 

Image Credit: Canva Design

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