Wednesday 19 April 2017

Entrepreneurial Kit: The Power of Self Learning

I share some of these in the startup checklist as part of Executive learning curve. While bootstrapping (using your own funds/ savings) to build your startup, many of these can be helpful.

Website Building (Design)
Blogspot/ WordPress for Blogging

Exploring this list, should keep you busy as you self learn and unlock its benefits. 
Write to, if you have anything to add here. Know more here

Monday 10 April 2017

This Trend Is Here To Stay - Are You Ready?

I am so close to going for the full-time job, particularly when you have the same company coming back to you at regular intervals, with different roles and different packages. Seriously I am not sure, if it is my capability that they need or my profile just happens to pop up in their search engines. I am not in senior management league, so this repeated inbox attempts are beyond me actually and quite flattering.
After I quit the BPO environment and a full year’s sabbatical, my scope of work and work style has changed drastically – I support startups now with content strategy, website review and content building, coach entrepreneurs across globe, coach people establish alternative incomes from home, design learning modules, prepare story board for ad films or competitive analysis for new startups and the kind.
I know I am being repetitive about my current work scope in most of my blogs – how else can I explain how I am using what I learnt in my corporate career in doing what I am doing today.
Process Quality - With a two month stint in San Antonio, Texas
Managing operations – Service levels and people management
Leadership Training – Invitation from learning and development team
Audit – Internally certified
Bid Management – With multiple stakeholders
Pre Sales Support – That brings in multi-year contracts
Transition Management – That brings in revenue
Export and Import - In Export and Engineering firms
Sales – High value products and services in courier and office automation firms

Why I cannot possibly do a full time job again?
My work style is work anywhere 12 hours per week. I just work on one assignment for a week or so. I am glued to the gadgets, active on social media however real work is just a couple of hours a day.
Learning Scope
The variety of work I do here is cerebraly very stimulating. It expands my understanding about so many industries and keeps me miles away from familiarity and boredom– Sponsorship proposal for a music band, setting up a bio diesel plant in Ghana, business plans for wearable or coaching company – I have done them all in years’ time
One of my clients in Bangalore wanted me to visit his office for a training assignment. That was three years back. I am waiting for him to create a SKYPE account to discuss the needs. Four hours travel time (to and fro) for discussion – Which era are we?
I remember a few years back, creating a deck for a senior leader’s presentation to Indian Banking Association. It was thought through story board with five slides and then I had to make five versions of that deck based on the changes he wanted. Finally, it was first version that was presented.
Today I charge $20 for a single slide – one shot delivery without a single revision. My point is when you ask for change, beat the rationale first.

When I get job inquiries from firms and consultants now, my standard check list they need to fulfill is
ü  Part time
ü  Contractual
ü  12 Hours per week
ü  Remote work
ü  Telecommute
ü  I will continue to serve my other clients across the globe
Corporate is like a college laboratory. If your entire work life is limited there, you have not really explored your true potential and the infinite possibilities. 
Mature companies will soon identify the advantages of this work arrangement - hiring an expert based on need and the considerable savings they can make by utilizing the field experts without having to pay them full time. 
When this trend catches momentum, it is here to stay.
Some of the strategies to establish alternative incomes effectively and manage deliverables for international clients is captured in the Beginner's Guide. To know more click here or here

Sunday 2 April 2017

How To Fix Rates As A Freelancer?

This is another frequent ask from the beginners.

I find many struggling with pricing model/ commercial piece of their proposal to bid for assignments. This is an issue with both the kinds -

(A) People who have extensive experience 
(B) Fresh graduates and work at home moms 

The point I will drive today is this, you should be able to do the following appropriately and effectively, regardless of what you charge your buyers

1. Alignment of skills and experience to your quote
2. Set your rate based on what value you bring to the table.

Here is an example for better understanding

Think about a job in a local health spa

After 35 years of corporate experience and career gap of two years if you are hired to provide spa treatment after in house training, will your remuneration be based on your corporate experience/ last drawn salary or based on your limited expertise in spa?

Now think about a project in an online portal that you want to bid for

You have 20 years of sales experience however you have never done a power point presentation from scratch - How fair is it to charge a buyer for a sales pitch deck, based on your sales experience alone? 

Are you not supposed to consider your expertise in content and power point as well while quoting your fee?

You have to acknowledge basic reality first.

1. Are you  still learning the tricks of the trade?

2. Is your experience relevant to the skill you are offering?

It is just a roundabout way of telling the beginners, it does not matter what experience you have, what skills you offer as services or what rates you want to set, you should 

(A) Be good in what you do
(B) Be able to articulate in your proposal what and how your offer is beneficial to your buyer and justify that rate.

In Buyer's Shoes.

Imagine a prospective buyer’s dilemma when he receives multiple quotes for the exact same job/ project/ assignment (say, creating a power point) and the quote ranges from $40 to $450.

Quote 1

Quote 2
Quote 3

Content will be created after thorough research

Content with research included.

$80 Content Writing in story board format (Customized for target audience) – 8 Slides
$20 Format and animation
$90 Research (Feasibility, Industry and Competition analysis
$10 Logo upload /Color schemes
$20 Smart Art (Visual Theme)
$20 Tagline in Title Slide
$80 Talking points for each slide
$70 Rationale Document or tips to prepare the presenter for dry run/ go live.
Timelines: 7 Days
$60 Express Delivery 4 Days
Buyer has no idea how many slides he will get 

What sort of research will be done.
Here a buyer can assess if the rates for each piece of work quoted is exorbitant or reasonable.

Here are a few possibilities:

The buyer can increase his budget to accommodate your quote and award you the order because he knows he is getting a deck ready for real time presentation the minute he receives it. 

The buyer may have limited budget and ask you, if you can drop it to $200 – You sure can as long as he is providing the researched inputs (That is what will take most of your time) 

He will ask for samples because he cannot afford you and yet wants to see how your mind works.

Know your worth and when you quote, consider the following:

(A) Is your skill niche or easily available in the market?
(B) The time required to execute an assignment
(C) Inputs / research materials/ support that you need from buyer - the less your dependence on buyer, the more you can charge
(D) The depth of research you need to do
(E) The proportion between doing and thinking - The more thinking required, the higher the quote.

One last tip on justifying the quote -

Never sell the solution (your services) through a price. 

Aim to sell the price through your solution. 

Your solution - the detail inputs you provide in the proposal should be so good that the price will seem reasonable and affordable

Write to to evaluate your proposal and share neutral perspectives. Know more here