Independent consulting can be a difficult way to make a living and the uncertainty that comes with freelancing is, for many people, why they dismiss the idea altogether. With responsibilities like mortgages and a family to support, quitting your full-time role to take on something where you aren’t guaranteed work every day is too risky for some. However, independent consulting is not restricted to those who want to dive into freelancing full-time. Many of Expert360s consultants dabble in on demand work while they work full-time or part-time in another role. In fact, 63 per cent of freelancers surveyed in an Intuit study suggested that they do so for supplemental income. We asked some of these consultants for their reasons as to why they are freelancing while working full-time and were intrigued by their responses. Below, we present the comprehensive guide to freelancing without quitting your day job, backed by the opinions of Expert360’s consultants.
Reasons for freelancing while working full-time:
Test your skills against the marketplace
Our consultants who freelance on the side of full time employment highlighted that they initially started working independently to test their skills against the marketplace. Interestingly, for many of our consultants, they found that their skills were extremely applicable to other industries. The skills gained from working in big corporations were able to be applied to the startup world and vice versa. “My main reason for starting to consult independently was to test the market and compare my skills,” said Fred, an Expert360 consultant who works with startups on the side of his full-time role as Strategy Manager at Telstra. You may find that your skills are extremely valuable in another area, and this ability to test your skills cannot be understated.
Get paid more while freelancing
Expert360’s consultants typically get paid between $600-$2500+ for a day’s work. If you’re able to build your client base and gain regular work on the side, you may be able to increase your annual earnings by a significant amount. This is particularly the case with Expert360, where our highly-skilled consultants earn better wages than most other on demand services platforms.
Build your skills and improve your career
Working as an independent consultant will give you great insights into how to manage money, how different businesses are managed, how to manage your time and how to specifically build skills in an area that you specialise in. Gaining these skills can be incredibly valuable and will improve how you function in your full-time role. As a freelancer, you’re running your own business – it’s an adrenaline rush to work with clients and cater your own skills around their needs. These new skills will move from one job to the next and allow you to have an understanding of new areas that you might not have known about in the past. These skills will open new doors in your career and add incredible experiences to your resume. Many Expert360 consultants have improved their careers freelancing and some have even found their dream job, after impressing as an independent consultant.
Extra job security
Job security is not exactly guaranteed in the modern world. Gone are the days where you knuckle down and work for one company for life. In fact, research shows that 75% of the companies on the S&P 500 will likely be replaced by 2027 and potentially, no longer exist. This instability in the traditional workforce is a strong indication that building up independent experience will stand you in good stead to secure more roles in the future.
Find your true passion
For many of our independent consultants who are employed full-time, freelancing is an opportunity to chase something they really love. There is no better example of this than one of our consultants - Fred - who is extremely passionate about startups, but works full-time as Strategy Manager for a major global corporation. “I only wanted to work as an independent consultant with startups, because that is where my passion lies,” he said. “By freelancing, I got the opportunity to work with smaller companies that I otherwise would have never been able to work with.” Fred’s love for startups is unquestionable. He founded his own startup, RecycleSmart, as well as spending two years as a startup advisor at the Telstra-backed Muru-D. By working as an independent consultant with Expert360 on the side of his full-time corporate work, he was able to pursue a passion of his. “I wanted to work with startups instead of bigger corporations and through Expert360’s platform I was able to do this along with working my full-time job,” he said.
Pick And Choose The Projects You Want To Do
One of the major advantages of working as an independent consultant is that you are able to choose projects that you really want to do. This is particularly the case when you are working full-time, as the security of your full-time role allows you to explore interesting projects and ignore projects that don't interest you. “It’s great to be able to pick and choose the projects that you work on,” said Hannah, one of Expert360’s consultants. This ability to choose your work is a significant reason for many of our consultants to freelance on the side of their full-time jobs. “It’s great to work for yourself, choose different projects and work with different clients,” said Fred, who aims to do one to two projects per month on the side of his full-time work. It’s not just our consultants who are using a talent platform to find work that aligns with their interests and skills. As many as 60 million workers globally leverage online talent platforms to find work that more closely suits their skills or preferences, according to a McKinsey report.
Transition Into Full Time Independent Consulting
With enough consulting experience under your belt, the transition into full-time freelance work should come relatively easily. The lifestyle benefits of this kind of work are excellent. Hannah, our consultant mentioned above, is a strong advocate for the freedom of full-time consulting and the ability to choose your work. “I’ve got a lot of flexibility. I can negotiate with my client when and where I work,” said the experienced freelance consultant, who now works independently, full-time through the Expert360 platform. “I tend to be quite flexible with how I structure my day.” By working as an independent consultant while still in a full-time role, the transition into the dreamy lifestyle of a full-time freelance consultant will become much easier.
How To Get Started:
The best way to get started as an independent consultant is through connections. Connections that you have had throughout your career might be a good place to start or even people who you work with in your full-time role. Grab a coffee with people and ask around. However, the future of independent consulting has been changing in recent times. If you prefer to do thing efficiently and in a modern-way without the needless coffees and meetings, spend some time finding the best online platform to suit your skills. The on demand, talent platform economy is booming. Over 4 million Australians earned some form of income from the sharing economy in 2015 and this new economy is worth over $500 million to New South Wales alone. In 2015, around 53 million Americans (or 35% of the US workforce) are considered contingent, temporary, diversified or freelance employees. This could increase to 40% of the US workforce by 2020. Globally, by 2025 up to 540 million people could benefit from online talent platforms which allow independent workers to connect with clients. These talent platforms are the best way of making connections efficiently, instead of going for tirelessly going for coffees with old acquaintances.
How to choose the talent platform that is right for you
Connecting with people who will help you grow your career as a freelancer on the side of your full-time employment varies depending on your skill set. For low-skilled work, platforms like Uber and Airtasker might be right for you. If you are a ‘people-person’ and have got access to a spare room, maybe you should think about Airbnb. Expert360 is the right platform for highly-skilled and experienced freelancers. On average, our consultants have over 20 years’ experience in the workforce. Those with less 10 years or less in the workforce have generally worked for top-tier management consulting firms. Expert360 is the fastest growing top-tier talent platform in the world and provides incredible opportunities with some of the best companies in Australia and around the globe. If well-paid, skilled work on the side of your full-time job is what you are looking for, Expert360 is the first place to look. One of Expert360’s consultants, Hannah, is not shy when expressing how she feels about the opportunities that we have provided her. “What you guys have done is truly remarkable. You've opened up doors for people to maintain a truly sustainable and enjoyable lifestyle,” she said.
Balancing working full-time and freelancing
Time management can be one of the biggest issues for freelancers who are also working full-time. It’s important to ensure that you are balancing your full-time responsibilities with your independent consulting work. Here are best practice tips for time management while freelancing on the side of your full-time role.
Count Your Hours
Getting caught up in the excitement of working on demand can be difficult at first but you must be time cautious. Bill for all the hours you work and make sure you knuckle down in the time for which you are billing. The beauty of flexible work is you can do it anytime you need to get stuff done. This will massively increase your productivity. “You’re very focused around delivering what the client wants to achieve, rather than being process-driven, so you are able to maximise and leverage your time efficiently,” said Hannah. The time for which you bill has to be your most productive, so it’s important to get into a groove and count your hours.
Use a diary
Whether this be a hard-copy or digital diary, scheduling in time to work and time to relax is extremely important. Make sure you include leisure time in your diary to balance your GSD (Get Stuff Done) time. “I’m not really a morning person, so I tend to do a lot of work in the evenings,” said Hannah, who will pencil in time most evenings to get work done.
Have A Supportive Team
Family, friends and particularly your full-time employer are all important supporters of your endeavours to start freelancing on the side of your full-time role. Make sure that what you’re doing is allowed within your current work contract and get your employer’s full support. It’s crucial to have key people in your life assisting you in achieving your goals. Luckily, Expert360 have an extremely supportive team and reaching out to us if you’re considering starting a freelance journey is always encouraged.
Get your invoicing done hassle free
Invoicing can be a real struggle, especially when you first start working independently, whether it be full-time or on the side of your current role. Fortunately, some online platforms provide all the invoicing and payment frameworks for you. Expert360 is one of these platforms because, just like our consultants, we’re unashamedly top-tier ourselves and endeavour to provide the best end-to-end work ecosystem in the world.
Figure out your rates
Figuring out your rates as an independent consultant can be a struggle. In fact, a quick Google search will give you endless pages of how to set your rates as a freelancer. Expert360 provides professional guidance about the rate you should be receiving for your work. “I was quite new to independent consulting, so I didn’t know what the standards or expectations were,” said Hannah when asked about how she set her rates when she first started consulting independently. “I just took guidance from Expert360 and that seemed to be in line with market rates.”
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