How to get stability as a new freelance consultant
You've come this far - you want to be your own boss and make a difference as an independent consultant. You are motivated, you have the right skills, and there are assignments out there...
But what about stability and practicalities? Here are some guidelines to ensure a smooth transition and consistency in your new life as an independent IT consultant.
Start carefully and prepare well
You have a permanent job but want to start your own freelance business. Where do you even begin?
If you have a family, they must be taken into consideration.
Start by discussing how you will get through the start-up. Set up a simple plan and budget and find out how much you need to earn as a minimum. Make sure you have a buffer before starting out on your own.
Are you going to apply for a leave?
Can you work part-time, or do you have to resign? A talk can be helpful if you have a good relationship with your employer. Investigate opportunities to work more independently or to have a smooth transition with part-time + freelance tasks. Since you are a sought-after specialist, such arrangements may be possible.
Then start planning when to quit your permanent job. Suddenly you are involved in practical decisions, and things can go quickly. First, you must create and register a company from which you can bill clients and send invoices. Check out useful resources with the taxation office, incubators resources and for start-up help in your city.
Don't forget your network.
You undoubtedly know someone who has started for himself, so hear how they got started. Check out our tips for easy upgrades you can make to your LinkedIn profile to expand your network even further.
Article: Six easy optimizations to make your LinkedIn profile stand out.
Are your skills in demand?
You can check whether there are assignments in your areas of expertise with consultancies and job agents. At the emagine website you can view all the latest projects.
It will also help if you chat with someone who works daily to find advisors (a sourcer) for jobs. They can quickly give you feedback on whether you have the right profile and enough experience, whether something should be changed in your CV, or what you should focus on.
If you are in a permanent job, you can create a consultant profile at emagine and set the status to 'in permanent employment'. This way you can get a feel for the market demand before taking the leap.
Stay updated on available assignments, and start planning your switch to a consulting career preferably half a year before you can start. And remember that companies sometimes are willing to wait for the right consultant who has the right hard and soft skills.
Get practical help
You don't necessarily need a separate website, but a good LinkedIn profile and a clear CV are crucial. At emagine we can help you with that.
When it comes to pensions, you can opt out in the very first phase, but check what your bank or insurance company offers.
It may make sense to have health insurance if you choose a sole proprietorship, then you are insured in the event of your own illness. Remember that insurance is for 'worst case' scenarios, and you can exclude such fixed expenses in the beginning of your consulting career.
Don't forget to join associations and groups, and make sure you stay up-to-date professionally. Life as a freelancer can be lonely, so attend meetings and nurture your network. It will surely give you opportunities.
The labor market
You need to have a backup plan.
Research your country's job market and determine whether you can return to permanent employment if your freelance career doesn't kick off.
If you have organized yourself well as an independent consultant, you will also receive money in the event of illness and other social benefits. So the security is there if you choose to become independent.
Stay true to your plan and give yourself enough leeway and safety margin to allow yourself to take chances. On the other side, once contracted you can enjoy the flexibility and independence that a consulting role provides.