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Quirky points to ponder before you 'freelance'

Few questions I faced before and after I took the step...

One fine day, after going through a roller coaster of an year in which I got promoted personally and professionally (for the curious ones, I have a boy), and after tipping the thought off with some near and dear ones, I called my ex-manager (lets just call him "Boss" here) and someone whom I consider to be my mentor.

This is how the conversation goes,

Me: I am thinking of taking a break from full time job and doing something on my own

Boss: Good thought.. What do you want to do?

Me: Blah.. blah.. blah. (not relevant for this blog :) )

Boss: Do one thing.. Start doing your freelancing in parallel for about 3 months, see how it goes, talk to senior management recruitment consultants to understand how the market acceptance would be if you decide to go back to full time job.. Ensure you have a corpus to sustain you for whatever time you want to try it out.. Then take a decision..

Me: Great points.. Will do.. Thank you...

After 3 days, I emailed him saying I have resigned...

So this is how I came into the world of freelancing.. It's been 8 months since I started freelancing and the experiences in this phase have leveled my experiences from corporate career..

Before we take the leap, every individual considering freelancing should / would think about lot of factors. I would like to put some into two buckets -

In this blog I am going to focus on the "Personal considerations" and talk oops.. write about them due to two main reasons:

1. I vowed myself this blog won't be more than a 5 min read

2. There are very few articles / blog I have come across which talks about what a freelancer should think about from a personal side

1. Objective of freelancing & long term plan:

It is very important to ask yourself and sort it out within yourself on why you are choosing freelancing and not a regular job. The reason is best known to you. People opt for freelancing due to various factors like,

  • Independence & flexibility
  • Higher hourly pay
  • To take time out for family
  • To take time out to develop a product / idea
  • Between jobs
  • As a supplement to day job
  • Set up own advisory practice

Why this is critical is, this would define

  • kind of projects you would apply
  • kind of business development you would do
  • your pricing / quotation for an assignment
  • time that you commit to a client

Sometimes when a great assignment comes our way, it would be very difficult to say no, however this underlying Objective of taking up freelancing should help us take that decision. Or sometimes two assignments would come our way and freelancers are limited by bandwidth. If long term plan is to set up own advisory practice, that would help us prioritize / strategize between competing assignments and choose accordingly.

2. Social Life:

Another important factor to consider is how to balance / maintain / get a social life. Freelancing is a different ball game. While at Corporate, you would have opportunity and maybe time to socialise and have that "cup of tea" with colleagues, while you are freelancing, depending on the nature of your assignment - (hourly fee / work from home) social activity in a professional sense could get crippled.

If you are someone who gets motivated by professional socialising or consider it to be an important part of your professional life, you may have to consciously create these scenarios.

3. Personality adaptation:

Though this is taken up third by me in the pecking order, but I think this of foremost importance.

What I mean by personality adaptation?

Winning position of strength: You might have held a senior position in corporate or a position of influence. People might listen to you or always look up to you. Support to you could have come naturally by the team. However, when you jump assignments in Freelancing you have to start all over each time. While some people might "love this thing" about freelancing, this might not be a natural inclination for others. It is very important for you to introspect and understand your personality type and make conscious changes to adapt to the need.

Working with people of diverse knowledge: This is another thing which I love about freelancing. You get to work with people from diverse background and knowledge. You client could be a college drop out in one assignment and ex-CXO of a large organisation in another. If you have handled cross-functional / cross-industry / cross-geography assignments, then you could be already exposed to this. If you have always had a manager who managed this complexity and diversity, then, in freelancing you are on your own. You have to change your approach to an assignment or a project, without compromising on the quality to suit the client and their background and experience.

Detachment: Another important factor is to approach assignments objectively and sometime it helps to keep emotions at bay. I am not saying don't be passionate. You have to execute an assignment passionately but with emotional detachment.

That's it from me for today.. Very soon I will come back with my thoughts on the right side of the chart above..

Do share your comments and reach out if you want to talk more.... 

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