9 ways to find a freelance project

9 ways to find a freelance project

One of the key make or break challenges you’ll face as a freelance consultant is going to be your ability to market yourself to new and existing clients to find a new freelance project. With a growing number of permanent consultants opting to sample life as a freelancer, a greater emphasis has been put on developing new business channels to find project work. It’s now difficult to rely on your trusted black book to keep your project flow healthy – it’s time to get out there and make new connections.

Now to the key question – Now to the key question – what are the possible channels to find new freelance projects?

Movemeon

Naturally, the first (and best) place to look for new freelance project roles is right here on the movemeon website (don’t blame us for being a little biased).

Existing clients

Good business development is not just about trying to market yourself to new clients. It’s imperative you maximize your existing relationships by keeping former clients updated on your availability/new skills. It could just be a subtle catch-up e-mail to a former client to ask how the project is going. You’ll be amazed by the amount of new work that’s generated from clients who magically think of a piece of work you’d be perfect for, now they know you’re available.

Your network

Keep things like your Linkedin/Xing profile updated with availability/skills etc. This ensures you’re maximizing your chances of inward business development. There’s nothing nicer than a client knocking on your door with a new freelance project, but they’ll only be able to do so if you keep your profile updated.

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Other freelancers

Networking with other freelancers is a great way to develop new business and share experiences/insight. If a freelancer is contacted about a role, but is unavailable, a natural instinct is to refer someone else who matches the profile. This is particularly useful if you’re on the more junior end in terms of years of experience. Senior freelancers are always on the look out for good junior consultants when building a team and with utilization rates remaining high at the junior end of freelancing, it’s always useful to be referred by another freelancer for new projects.

Agencies

Although not ideal, the majority of new projects that are not directly sourced will be through recruitment agencies. We suggest using 1-2 good agencies who are able to deliver a healthy project flow and operate with transparency and honesty. Be sure to read this article on what percentage of day rate you are really receiving – food for thought when thinking about day rates and using agencies.

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Job boards/Career pages

Companies sometimes do advertise freelance project work on their careers page/through jobs boards so it’s always worth having a quick look once in a while.

Team up

If you’re finding new projects tough to come by and you have a specific skill/domain knowledge, find other freelancers with similar skills and team up. This will allow you to take on new larger projects and assemble teams to execute project work. An additional benefit of teaming up is, with a consulting ‘brand’, you’ll be developing brand equity through strong client reviews that should keep new project flow healthy as word spreads of your consulting offering. If you’re teaming up and need additional resources – movemeon already partners with a number of smaller consultancies providing freelancers.

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Word of mouth

If you build up a strong track record of solid performance as a freelancer, you’ll find clients contacting you directly. Good work speaks volumes, and clients will feel at ease engaging you because of your track record.

Network

It’s simple: the more potential clients you meet, the more likely it is one of them will call you with a new freelance project.

These are just a few possible routes to finding new projects as a freelancer. It’s always worth bearing in mind that it’s difficult to predict future project flow – so it’s imperative you remain proactive in your business development. Don’t run the risk of assuming another project is waiting for you at the end of your current engagement; start your business development before your current project wraps up.

– The MMO Freelance team 

Hope you enjoyed this article – we regularly publish our content on our LinkedIn page so if you want to keep in touch just click through.

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What % of the day rate am I receiving?

What % of the day rate am I receiving?

You’re coming to the end of a freelance consulting project, it’s been fun – great team, challenging work, key milestones reached. You found the project through a recruitment agency. The client pulls you aside one day and asks if you’d be willing to lower your day rate and extend for some follow-on work. You take a minute, consider the request and push back to say that you’re working at the lowest possible rate…

In this other article, find out what you should consider when defining your day rate.

…in the meantime, you’re crunching the numbers in your head, trying to rationalize the request. Realizing the conversation has taken a slightly awkward turn – to date it’s only been about project success and Friday beers; not about the money – you muster up the courage and ask the client why you can’t continue at your current day rate. After a brief pause, they say, ‘because every day I keep you on site it’s costing me X, you certainly don’t come cheap!’.

 

You’re now slightly embarrassed and taken aback by the figure and you suddenly realize what your total cost to the client really is. After a moment to collect your thoughts, you work out that a large portion of that total cost is going to the recruitment agency that placed you. Frankly, you feel a bit robbed.

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What is the mark-up a recruitment agency is charging on me?

Unfortunately, the conversation above happens far too often to many of the freelancers I speak to. They often overlook one of the key questions that should be in every freelancer’s arsenal when negotiating day rate – ‘what is the mark-up a recruitment agency is charging on me’? The answer is often a surprise and a shock too many – to hear that a recruitment agent is taking anywhere up to 100% of the value of your day rate for each day you work is not only unfair, it’s plain wrong. Naturally, there is an ongoing facilitation fee for the service a recruitment agent has provided – but, like with so many other areas of recruitment today, the lack of transparency around the total mark-up simply enhances the unease many candidates feel when working through an agency.

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Transparency first

That’s why, here at movemeon, we are insistent on providing full transparency around what our fees are, helping you avoid awkward conversations like the one above! Firstly, through movemeon you will negotiate and agree your day rate directly with the client. There is no middle man involved and movemeon has no influence. Movemeon then charges a commission which is paid by the employer, rather than being taken off the rate you agreed. So, you get a day rate you’ve negotiated and are happy with.

 

Everyone knows what’s going on. And the client saves up to 75% compared to commission paid to recruitment agencies.

So remember, every time you get a call from a recruiter with a new project – don’t be scared to ask what mark-up they’ll be charging on you. Here you can read how to set yourself up as a freelance consultant.

– The MMO Freelance team

 Hope you enjoyed this article – we regularly publish our content on our LinkedIn page so if you want to keep in touch just click through.

Recent posts

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MMO Freelance info pack

We know the challenges faced by employers and freelancers. We overcome these problems for 29k+ members and 1,900+ clients. Find out more in our info pack.

Freelancer interview – Networking in the Northern Powerhouse

Freelance interview - Networking in the Northern Powerhouse

Rebecca

Rebecca

Retail & Strategy Consultant

One of the key aims of MMO Freelance is to help our freelance members connect with each other. Through freelance events, guest blogs and personal introductions, we’re hoping to create a freelance network that is better connected and hopefully able to lend a helping hand to each other through project leads, introductions, or just a Friday beer.

Here’s a guest blog from one of our northern freelance members – Becci Blues, a former OC&C Consultant.

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When a (wo)man is tired of London she’s tired of life

According to Samuel Johnson. Sorry Sam, but I beg to differ.

As a strategy consultant freelancing in Yorkshire and the north of England, life is pretty awesome. Don’t get me wrong, my love affair with London that started as a fresh-faced graduate continues to this day. It’s a dynamic, fabulous city full of interesting people doing inspirational things. London was where I started my career at OC&C, later moving to Amazon (at the time-based in glamorous Slough but lets stretch our imaginations and include that in London). I’d always had a passion for retail and working first on projects for leading multinationals, and then operationally for the market leading online retailer was in equal parts challenging and rewarding. And it didn’t hurt that my role at Amazon involved buying a lot of shoes.

London had served me well.

Gouda life

However, a few years down the line the grass was starting to look greener elsewhere. To be specific, the soft grass of North Yorkshire was looking particularly appealing. So in 2014, looking for new challenges and a garden, I moved to the beautiful, ancient city of York and embarked on a crazy, fun-filled and somewhat smelly 18 months running my own award-winning cheese business. It had always been an ambition of mine to run my own retail business and whilst the cheese business was a gouda (sorry) and delicious introduction to the world of small and startup businesses, I eventually decided it wasn’t going to grow to be the right business for me. In late 2015 I sold the business and found myself based in beautiful Yorkshire and looking for the next challenge.

With my CV now encompassing strategy consulting and operational skills from businesses large and micro, I decided it was time to go back to consulting. Wanting to remain (to some extent!) master of my own destiny, freelance consulting seemed the way forward, operating across all sectors but specialising in retail and charity, having undertaken and thoroughly enjoyed several pro bono projects alongside my retail experience.

I am now in the process of building my freelance network in the north, and whilst it’s not quite trail blazing, it is certainly a little unusual as a freelancer to be based outside London. The upside is that there are fewer people with my specific skill set, knowledge of local markets, and willingness to be based on projects north of Watford Gap. The downside is that there are fewer projects, and making the right contacts to find out about opportunities takes a little bit of creativity.

In reality, if I were London-based I’d probably keep my eye out on movemeon, sign up to a few agencies and I’d hope to have a fair stream of work in the pipeline. But then I’ve never been one to take the easy option!

Movemeon have been invaluable in helping me explore the options for freelancing in and around Yorkshire and further afield. The importance of establishing a strong network of local contacts is coming through clearly, and one area I am hoping to strengthen is my connections to other freelance consultants working in the north of England. The goal would be to set up a boutique network of consultants allowing us to share contacts, experiences, and the odd coffee, raising profiles and increasing access to projects.

Perhaps you are looking for a way into new companies, perhaps you want to explore a new sector or want to be able to offer a trusted, alternative consultant to your clients when you are too busy to take on more work. Whatever you are interested in, lets chat!

If you are a freelance consultant based in and around Yorkshire or the North of England, or know someone who is (or perhaps you’re just thinking about it), I’d love to chat. Drop me an email at rebecca@bluesstrategy.com.

And if you don’t live in Yorkshire you should come visit – it’s only 1hr 50 minutes from London on the train and the grass really is greener.

– by Becci

 

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Freelancing – earning the world’s most valuable commodity…

Freelance work - earning the world's most valuable commodity

Freelance work offers a range of benefits – good pay, a range of projects, working with new clients. However, one of the main rewards it offers is what some may argue is the world’s most valuable commodity (and always in short supply): it gives you more time. In this day & age, where everything seems to be running on fast forward, more time is something we all crave, but never manage to attain.

If you stopped a passer-by on the street and offered them three wishes, what would they wish for? Wealth, fame, or maybe just a Nando’s black card? The one notable omission, for the most part, would be the wish for more time. This isn’t because we don’t secretly all crave it, but we’ve grudgingly accepted it’s something we’re never going to achieve for most of our working lives.

It’s important to define what I mean by ‘more time’. Time is relative to how we choose to spend it – an hour spent commuting to work can’t equate to spending an hour doing something you truly love to do. ‘More time’ to me means being able to spend more time with friends and loved ones, time for more travel, or just time for sitting in the park and reading a good book – basically doing all the things that make life worth living – let’s call this ‘golden time’.

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'Golden time'

‘Golden time’ is being able to do the things you look back on at the end of the week and just say to yourself, ‘it’s been a good week’.  It could be as simple as painting a picture on a summery Wednesday afternoon, or dropping your child to school every day; everyone has their own definition of what ‘golden time’ actually means to them. Some of my fondest memories in life are those occasions that happened as a result of having more ‘golden time’ – babysitting my niece for the first time after pulling a ‘sickie’ from work, taking a gap year and traveling through Cuba & Central America instead of jumping straight into a job after university – all things I wouldn’t have been able to do without this ‘golden time’. That’s not to say I don’t love what I do for work, on the contrary, I actually consider myself incredibly lucky to be doing a job I actually really care about – but if you were to ask me if I think I have enough ‘golden time’ in my week, I’d have to say ‘no’.

I think it’s safe to say that I’m not alone feeling this way. Most of my friends are in high-flying city careers and every time we catch up,  they all have the same complaint – work’s great but I don’t have enough free time to do the stuff I really want to. It’s something I think you feel increasingly the older you get, with big milestones acting as periods of reflection. I turn 30 next month and it’s got me thinking – how will I remember my 20s? Did I really do everything I wanted to – if not, then what was stopping me?

Claw back more ‘golden time’

In my opinion, being able to claw back more of this ‘golden time’ is probably one of the main and often most undervalued benefits of freelance work. This ability to earn some more ‘golden time’ is achieved through flexing work-life balance so that you’re able to continue sustaining your current standard of living (paying bills, mortgage, school fees etc), but freeing up ‘work time’ and devoting it to all the pursuits that you’re most passionate about. This could be either through having the flexibility of only working certain months of the year or being firm with clients that you’re only going to working certain hours on a freelance project. In today’s work environment, a lot of emphasis is put on achievements & promotions, but I promise you this – someone who’s managed to build a healthy amount of regular ‘golden time’ into their weekly schedule will have a  level of contentment unmatched by so-called ‘high fliers’ in the city.

Mastering your time

When you manage to master the life of a freelance consultant, I’d firmly put you into this category. There isn’t a single category of ‘worker’ I’d classify as being more content with their personal and professional lives than those doing freelance work who’ve mastered the art of switching off when not on project, and keeping ‘golden time’ sacred – no exceptions. The temptation will always be to feel ‘productive’ and scout out new channels for potential projects when you’re not working – but the fact is, if you’ve set yourself up properly and put in the hard graft to establish a strong network of potential employers, there will be regular occasions when you can afford to switch off – a truly rare luxury in this day and age.

One of the main reasons I love the freelance space is because I get to meet some amazing freelancers who fill their ‘golden time’ doing some of the most amazing things imaginable. To that end – I’ll finish this piece by listing some of the best adventures and ‘golden time’ pursuits I’ve come across having met hundreds of freelancers over the last few years. Some might find some of these endeavours mundane, however, that’s what makes ‘golden time’ so amazing – something as simple as being able to spend time with family could be as rewarding and fulfilling as climbing Everest or running a marathon.

 Training and representing my country at the Ultimate Frisbee Championship

 Taking summer off to take the kids back to China so they can re-integrate with their roots

 Going coast to coast on my Harley Davidson

 Visiting 100+ countries

 Swimming the channel and great lakes

 Launching a start-up that’s going to change the world

 Flying half-way around the world to see my favourite band perform their new album

 Finishing my work by 5 pm every day so I can train for the marathon with my 18-year-old son

 Hiring a mustang and doing the route 101 road trip

 Helping my wife with every bedtime during our toddler’s terrible two’s

 

Happy Freelancing!

– The MMO Freelance team

 

Hope you enjoyed this article – we regularly publish our content on our LinkedIn page so if you want to keep in touch just click through.

Recent posts

Freelance v. Perm: the reality of costs

There is a lot of uncertainty around how much freelance consultants actually cost compared to perm employees: we’re here to help you understand all of this.

MMO Freelance info pack

We know the challenges faced by employers and freelancers. We overcome these problems for 29k+ members and 1,900+ clients. Find out more in our info pack.

Why the calibre of freelancers is rising

Why the calibre of freelancers is rising

Rich Rosser

Rich Rosser

Recently, I wrote an article about a question I was asked by the ‘Head of People’ at a rapidly growing FTSE 250 business. The question was whether they were missing a trick not specifically targeting freelancers to work for the business. The question underpinning that was whether the quantity and – more importantly – the quality of freelancers (some people call them contractors/independents/interims) was rising.

The simple answer is yes, and here are the main reasons why.

Platforms – like movemeon.com – make it easier to find this type of work. We provide a marketplace for high-caliber freelance consultants. But you also see these marketplaces at other ends of the market (e.g, outsourcing some legal bits & bobs, getting a logo designed, finding someone to clean your house). Technology is creating great marketplaces which drive supply on both sides of that market, in our case freelance consultants and opportunities for them.

Given it’s easier than ever to find the work, there’s a lot about freelance that naturally appeals to people. The chance to work for yourself on your own terms. The flexibility to work hours that suit your home life. The ability to take the school holidays off to be at home with the kids. The opportunity to earn a good day rate and therefore annual income (see here about what day rate you can charge) while still saving the client mountains vs using a consultancy (remember the day rate your firm charged you out at?!).

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Consultants work all the hours God sends (or near enough). So, if someone decides they’re not in it for the long haul, it’s often impossible to find the time to discover and land the right opportunity. So, increasingly we see people just leave without another permanent job to go to. They leave because they know there’s a ready supply of freelance work for them. And they can freelance to pay the bills while they hunt down their next permanent gig. To that end…

Freelancing really helps to build one’s network. Typically, you meet a lot of different companies. Often you also meet PE funds who are a conduit to a whole host of portfolio companies. So we often see freelancers landing permanent jobs just because they are freelancing – either they go permanent with a client, or the permanent job comes through the network they have time to develop while a freelancer.

Freelancing is now a better-understood and widely-accepted move. Historically, hiring managers have been snobby about time spent working in ‘non-permanent’ roles. But times are changing. Just because a role was freelance, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good role and it certainly doesn’t mean the person is less good. Quite the opposite can be the case, so it’s important to understand each person’s story and motivations behind the freelance work.

There’s a really important point that comes out of all of this and is at the core of the implication. Very high calibre people are dipping into freelance work between permanent roles. That’s particularly true of people just leaving consulting – and particularly at the manager level (when people look up at the partnership and decide it’s not for them). These have historically been viewed as the ultimate prize for employers (particularly PE funds who specifically target Managers from McKinsey, Bain & BCG), and these prizes are becoming more readily available.

Historically, organisations have felt that ‘career freelancers’ were not consistently high calibre options. That’s a huge generalisation (there are many brilliant career freelancers out there), but it is a commonly voiced impression. The point now is that there’s a far greater supply of non-career freelancers – who could be a great short-term asset to your business, and perhaps, even, someone that turns into a ‘try before you buy’ permanent hire too.

– by Rich

Hope you enjoyed this article – we regularly publish our content on our LinkedIn page so if you want to keep in touch just click through.

Freelance v. Perm: the reality of costs

There is a lot of uncertainty around how much freelance consultants actually cost compared to perm employees: we’re here to help you understand all of this.

MMO Freelance info pack

We know the challenges faced by employers and freelancers. We overcome these problems for 29k+ members and 1,900+ clients. Find out more in our info pack.