This article is an interview with one of the Outvise freelancer members, and it is the third part of our Why you should consider being a freelancer instead of a full-time employment series.
The importance of external support when starting off as a freelancer can also confirm one of our Outvise Experts Nils Kramer, since 2012 operating as a freelance consultant for change management, mainly based in Germany. In an interview he told us about his main motivations of becoming autonomous and many other important information for you to consider when thinking about a change in your professional career.
Outvise: Nils, thank you a lot for your time today. Please tell us a bit more about your motivation to become a freelancer?
Nils: Within the change management, the agile methodology approach is not consistent to pursue in full time positions as most companies follow a traditional model. More than just a methodology, agile is a form of attitude and I could find that with former employers or their clients. My lifestyle, private and professional, wasn’t able to be adapted into this traditional system and my strategic work attempt didn’t feel effective anymore.
Outvise: To what kind of experts would you recommend to become a freelancer, regarding your experience and regarding future trends?
Nils: This is very dependent on the market conditions. At the moment there are a lot of opportunities in all subareas of IT. But that can change radically, when there will be AI taking over, more and more. My advice is to always adapt and plan next steps. This includes constant educating, no downtimes.
Outvise: How does your day-to-day look alike?
Nils: Obviously it’s depending whether I am in an ongoing project and also of how many clients I am serving at the same time. In big projects I am also working from 8-19, so it’s not true that I work less than a full timer, if I work less I also invoice less.
But I am free to decide when I work, which project I choose, which clients and when to take breaks. In times when I am not in a project I focus more on acquisition and on educating myself, as well as to take some distance to my professional life.
Outvise: What kind of tools/platforms do you use to find opportunities and to stay up-to-date?
Nils: Beside having a profile on Outvise, I am checking on LinkedIn, Xing, Freelancer Map, and not to forget the networking aspect. To find opportunities through former contacts and information.
Outvise: Great, thanks a lot so far. Lastly let’s discuss some additional reasons to become a freelancer or tips you would like to share with the expert community?
Nils: As already mentioned I work in change management. After a certain amount of time it is difficult to get the same results as in the beginning. People or companies are getting tired after some time has passed. This so-called Ambiguity tolerance was one reason to move into independence. As the biggest advantage of being a freelancer I would name the amount of freedom, time wise but also regarding the decision for whom and what you would like to work.
It is a two edged sword, one needs to be aware of having significantly more self responsibility regarding time management. But this is an important factor in general as home offices got something quite usual due to Covid-19.
Apart from self responsibility also self confidence is a key factor to success when being autonomous. Some struggle and believe that what will be delivered might not be enough and tempt to burnout due to too much pressure. Another possible negative point is that in times of unstable market conditions, freelancers will feel the impact first, as their relationship with companies is a variable cost, that can be reduced.
The key here is to build a solid and strong base of clients, to always have a pool to choose from. It is recommended, when possible to change step by step to being a freelancer to avoid failure.
Outvise: One last question Nils: What is your next goal you are working on in your professional career?
Nils: It would be to take on the management of an organisation and implement an agile transformation. It is still a long process as the comprehension of agile is still missing in most companies. Through articles, webinars and seminars I will try to create more awareness in the future.
Outvise: Thank you for all these insights Nils!
After reflecting the key thoughts to have in mind when thinking about a change in the professional career. It is on you to reflect these main areas and validate your own situation. As said, the intrinsic motivation, the external conditions, tools, and hard skills are important. We, at Outvise, are furthermore happy to assist when you have any further questions. You can create your profile for free and obtain the benefit of being part of a community of 26,000 freelancers.