I was at a meeting the other day when two former executives from a major consultancy started chatting with me. It seems they were in the freelancing space these days. As our conversation continued, I heard some things that were pretty upsetting.
Both of these fellows are doing some freelance work, looking for full-time gigs and are trying to stay connected with executives at established service firms hoping some crumbs (or a permanent gig) fall their way. These guys are freelancers who really don’t want to be freelancers. Instead, these are employees who are without an employer and are doing freelancing as a means to provide an income. Worse, since both are over 50, they expect to be freelancers until they retire as they aren’t finding prospective employers too interested in people of their age.
I’m also concerned for these individuals and millions of others who have found themselves in similar straits in this economy.
My concern is that many freelancers are quite competent individuals in executing work but may not have the skills, discipline or appetite for selling it. To be a successful freelancer, one must have knowledge of opportunities, the timing to know when to ask for the work, the ability to close the deal and the ability to execute the work once sold. That is an exceptionally tall order as it is rare to find individuals who can market, sell and deliver work.
I’m also concerned that many freelancers are stuck doing commodity work with commodity skill sets and may lack the time or resources to enhance their current skill set…
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