Why it pays to have conversations?

Why it pays to have conversations

Rich Rosser

Rich Rosser

Every conversation is a good conversation. That’s the phrase that I’d like you to remember after reading this post. There are a couple of small caveats (which would bring in an ‘almost’). But I guess there are no rules without exceptions.

What do I mean? I am thinking of someone at least a couple of years into their career. Someone who is ambitious and wants to get the most out of their professional life. And by ‘conversation’ I’m talking about investigating new opportunities – be those with a new employer or a different part of your current employer.

In my experience, there are two types of people when it comes to these conversations. There are those who want to define their perfect next move before even entering into any conversation. And there are those who will explore any opportunity that comes their way so long as it’s not totally and utterly wrong. They might even proactively seek out conversations. I think the latter is more effective than the former.

 

Why?

It's very difficult to define your perfect move

If you come from a consulting background, you will have a lot of different moves open to you as your skill set is very transferable. You will prejudge opportunities based on very little information about the real nitty-gritty of the role and the company. You might even write off the company because it’s not a brand you’ve thought of / know of. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a great job opportunity in terms of development, responsibility, team, career progression, pay etc.

You will most likely miss out on cracking jobs because of a natural bias.

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You'll discover something new in every conversation

There are 2 types of surprise: about the company, or the job and about yourself. This is all about getting over your natural prejudice. Through these conversations, you may discover that you’re better suited to a certain type of job, or a certain size of company than another. Or that a particular company is a lot more interesting than you would have thought. Or that content of the job and the team you’re going to be working with is more important to you than the company (brand, size, industry etc).

 

In summary, each conversation will refine your view of yourself and of your perfect move.

No harm can come of it and you'll grow your network

 

Possibly the worst outcome is that you love the sound of the job but don’t get an offer. Your ego will be bruised but you’ll get over it. And you’ve confirmed the perfect type of opportunity for you. The best outcome is that the job turns out to be perfect and you get it. In the middle (you decide not to progress) is fine too – you’ve discovered something and you’ve expanded your professional network.

 

The only opportunity cost is time off work (you may need to fake a doctor’s appointment) and that is only really a cost for the first conversation – if you decide to progress presumably it’s because you’ve confirmed the opportunity to be interesting.

It may strengthen your position with your current employer

If you are being offered other opportunities, it shows you are in demand. The offers will also come with a pay package so that will clarify your worth in the market. Even if you decide not to take accept these offers, you may be able to use them in negotiations with your current employer. If you’ve found this point interesting, you might enjoy reading about how to negotiate your salary with your current employer.

 

So, when the next opportunity pops onto your radar, please think twice before you dismiss it. What have you got to lose from an application and an initial conversation? Don’t hesitate to have a look at our current job opportunities.

– 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.

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The gig economy and how MMO Freelance came about 

The gig economy and how MMO Freelance came about

‘The gig economy’ has gotten big, fast. It’s the fastest growing sector in the world and very quickly becoming popular among the consulting community. As a result of this incredible growth, movemeon has launched a platform dedicated to freelancers.

Rich & Nick (movemeon founders), had both freelanced after leaving McKinsey and had to navigate the minefield that is freelancing through traditional recruitment agencies – excessive fees, questionable working practices and a slow, arduous process. As a consequence, they created a freelance platform with three core values: fairness, transparency, and speed. 

Freelance is now the fastest-growing part of our business. So it only made sense to create MMO Freelance, a unique, dedicated space for the freelance community.

During the first year only…

Days worked

£ billed

Cups of coffee drunk

In the last 6 months, we’ve grown…

%

More jobs

%

More applications

New hiring experience

1. Alternative

The main reason to create this space was to give hiring managers and freelancers the option to move away from traditional recruitment and try an alternative approach to recruiting freelance consultants – creating a fair and transparent way to hire and be hired. No more ‘middle-man’ recruiters or excessive fees acting as a speed bump for hiring managers trying to find & hire great freelance consultants

2. Community

With freelance growing, a decision to create a unique, dedicated space for all things related to freelance was a no brainer. We have created a place where our community (both hiring managers and freelancers) have easy access to our insight, advice, and events, and can stay connected among themselves. As employers get to grips with how & when to hire freelance consultants, we want this space to act as an essential resource for hiring managers wanting to learn more about the mechanics and benefits of hiring freelance consultants

3. Dedicated space

And finally, having a dedicated space for freelance gives us the ability to scale globally and thus open new opportunities for our community. So whether you’re new to the freelancing game or a seasoned pro – we’re confident you’ll find use in this new space

Special thanks to all of our amazing clients & freelancers whose continued support enables us to keep on growing.

Rich, Nick & the MMO Freelance team

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‘Discovering Freelance Consulting’ event – What we learnt

'Discovering Freelance Consulting' event - What we learnt

On Tuesday 17th January, MMO Freelance held the ‘Discovering Freelance’ event at the Rainmaking Loft, London. With a tremendous turnout and some very warm feedback, it was a great night. The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly our panellists’ insight & advice. 

On Tuesday 17th January 2017, MMO Freelance held the ‘Discovering Freelance’ event at the Rainmaking Loft, London. With a tremendous turnout and some very warm feedback, it was a great night. Our personal thanks to all those who attended and our 3 fantastic panellists: Bishin Ho, Phil Carrivick & Sutha Satkunrajah. The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly our panellists’ insight & advice. To ensure those who were unable to attend don’t miss out, here’s a summary of what was discussed on the night (with some useful links on each topic).

Setting up as a freelance consultant

Why would you become a freelancer?

  • More control over your diary (book holidays in advance, take school holidays off, etc.)
  • Being more selective with the projects you pursue (no project is mandatory)
  • Flexible working day (factor in the school run, be home for your child’s bedtime)
  • Earn a significantly higher salary versus permanent employment (assuming you maintain a healthy utilisation rate)
  • Supplementary income when establishing a personal venture (establishing a start-up)
  • Continue working when trying to find your next permanent role

Setting a day rate

  • We’ve headlined the main ways to calculate your day rate in the following article

Limited company vs umbrella organisation vs sole trader

  • The vast majority of freelancers opt for setting up as a limited company due to the tax benefits and the ability to maintain overall control of your finances (versus handing them over to a 3rd party umbrella organisation)
  • The process of setting up a limited company can take as little as 1-2 days

Insurance (limited liability)

  • Taking out adequate indemnity insurance for each project is essential. The amount of indemnity insurance will vary project by project (so it’s essential you have the right insurance & amount for every project).
  • This article summarises many of the key fundamentals around setting up as a freelance consultant when you first start out.

Business Development

Winning your first project

  • Your personal network will be the most likely place to secure your first project (as these people already know the quality of your output & working style)
  • Stay price competitive by dropping your ‘normal’ hourly/day rate by 10% to secure the first project
  • Benchmark your rate against 2-3 other freelancers at a similar level to ensure you’re in line with the market
  • Don’t be scared to say no to projects when you first start out. If you’re looking to build a platform within a specific sector/function, don’t hesitate to turn away projects that are outside of your ‘sweet spot’.
  • It’s worth noting that it’s always worth letting a client down gently if you choose not to pursue a project. There may be opportunities to collaborate on something further down the road. A simple explanation goes a long way compared to a simple ‘no thanks – I’m not interested’.
  • Be strategic in which clients you approach when you start out – don’t just email your CV to every client you know. Write a well-tailored cover letter & CV to a specific selection of clients, illustrating why you’d be a good fit for them
  • It’s important to develop relationships with both line managers and HR/Procurement professionals within a target business. While the line managers may bring work to the table, it’s HR/Procurement who will open or close the door for you – so it’s worth treating them with the same respect you give line managers!
  • This article discusses the growing demand for freelance consultants across a wide range of clients. It’s definitely worth a read if you need some inspiration around which industries could be good business development hunting grounds for you.

Adapting CV & Cover Letters for freelance roles

  • Every project listed on your CV should include a brief overview of the work, as well as a summary of the outcomes (only if they’re positive of course). For instance, instead of just writing ‘worked on a growth strategy for a leading FMCG firm’, it’s worthing adding another line to say ‘majority of recommendations were implemented. Has led to a % growth so far’. That’s the hook that really draws in hiring managers when reading your CV, it illustrates tangible results.
  • This article talks about the importance of including a cover letter in every freelance application – competition for freelance projects is growing so it’s important to differentiate yourself whenever possible.
  • When using agencies or platforms (like movemeon), it’s essential you remain vigilant how your CV is used. Qualify with every recruiter that in no situation can your CV be shared to prospective clients without your permission. FYI – movemeon never shares your CV or personal information with any client without your explicit permission.

Client Management

Effective client management

  • Always try to manage client expectations & arrange regular feedback sessions to help build trust. This is especially true for clients who’ve never worked with consultants before. It’s very easy to go off on a tangent and walk down a very different path to what the client was expecting or hoping for – so best to keep communication channels open!
  • Be patient – many clients won’t come from consulting backgrounds so may struggle to structure thoughts/ideas as logically as you do. Take your time to explain anything where necessary and drop the jargon. Consultants become accustomed to working alongside high calibre (often like-minded) people, so it’s a transition to be considerate of (especially at the more junior end when you would have had less client interaction on project).
  • Build relationships with people outside of your ‘core’ team, wherever possible. Grab lunch with someone new every week, be social where possible, don’t be scared to integrate with the team when invited for after work activities. Chances are there may be follow-on projects so it’s always nice to have some friendly faces to go back to.
  • Towards the end of the project, remember to set up a feedback session with your direct manager to provide you feedback on your performance and areas to improve (if it’s not already scheduled, insist on arranging one). This is great for both personal development and also really reinforces to clients what a great job you’ve done (or areas to improve on next time).
  • It’s easy for clients to forget you after a project wraps ups, however, the feedback session enables clients to devote dedicated time to assessing your performance. If you’ve done a great job when on project, feedback sessions normally end with ‘if anything comes up like this again, we’ll definitely give you a call first’ – the freelance equivalent of a slam dunk (establishing client loyalty).

 

Things to consider when on project

  • Remember, you’re an expensive resource, so try to be faster, better and more efficient than everyone around you
  • Strike the right balance between being social & professional. It’s easy to get caught up in ‘office chat’, but be selective when you join in versus when to just put your head down and drill through your work. There’s nothing more off-putting for a hiring manager than hiring  facing a tight deadline and finding you giving an in-depth critique of the restaurant you frequented last night. You’re not only failing to deliver against your own tight deadlines, you’re distracting others from completing theirs.
  • On the other hand, it’s important to contribute and remain social wherever possible. If you’ve had a productive morning and worked through the majority of your to-do list, ask a colleague to go grab lunch together. Doing a great job on project is not only about delivering great output, it’s also important to develop great relationships with the people your work with.
  • More often than not, the actual work you produce will be forgotten (unless it monumentally good or bad). What you were like to work with is what will linger in the minds of most. It’s important to remember that there will be other freelancers in the market who can produce the same output as you, however, your working style and the impression you leave on others is unique to you.

Life outside of Freelancing

Importance in continuing personal & professional development

  • When leaving any permanent role, you’re normally walking away from a well-structured training programme designed to enhance your skills & experience. This is especially true of consulting, with significant time & resource put into training consultants – in everything from communication through to advanced modelling.
  • It’s important when you become a freelancer to actively devote time to continuing your personal development. Researching and take courses & personal study – whether that’s keeping an ear close to the ground for your industry (through reading journals) or learning new skills that are growing in demand.
  • It’s important you remain ‘relevant’ and ahead of market demand for certain skills. For example, many industries have been going through the process of digitisation in recent years and the number of freelancers picking up basic coding/UX design skills has significantly risen. This simply adds another facet to their freelancing arsenal, so when that cool, sexy fin-tech start-up comes knocking, they are more than equipped to help.

 

Understanding why you’re freelancing

  • It’s important to take some self-reflection time to think about why you’re freelancing (especially if it’s because of unforeseen circumstances i.e redundancy). Is it finding a better work-life balance or simply having more control over your diary?
  • It’s important to take time to consider these points as they’ll help dictate how you develop your freelancing career. For instance, if you realise you’re striving for a better work-life balance with less travel, then perhaps you shouldn’t be sending out your CV for value creation projects to global Private Equity firms. It might sound simple, but it’s easy to be swayed by certain projects.
  • It’s important to first ask yourself, if you win this piece of work, how does it fit in with your reasons for being a freelancer. If you find yourself consecutively working on similar projects and these projects go against the reasons for you wanting to freelance, then perhaps you should consider finding a permanent role in that space instead.

 

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We look forward to hopefully welcoming you to our next freelance event. Until then… Happy Freelancing!

The MMO Freelance team

 

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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.

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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.

Freelancing: The benefit & way to find work

Freelancing: the benefits & ways to find a freelance job

Nick Patterson

Nick Patterson

Working for yourself singlehanded as a freelancer / contractor / interim consultant is a career option that people often fail to consider. However, it was a great model for us as we researched and set up MMO. Perhaps having a freelance job could be a good option for you to explore. Here we share some benefits and some tactics for finding work.

If you’re looking for some more ways to find freelance projects, have a look at our dedicated article.

The benefits

Freedom to leave your current job without your next permanent role lined up.

Pays the bills if you’re researching a business idea.

Pays well. There are 2 rules of thumb on knowing what to charge: i) your permanent salary divided by 100 (remember as a freelancer you won’t have any benefits or paid holiday); ii) the day rate that your employer charged you out at divided by 3.

Avoids ‘gaps’ on your CV.

The work tends to involve more responsibility. The client will want you as a mini project-manager, you’ll ‘own’ the relationships, have more exposure and be your own boss.

Here’s a few ideas about how to get a freelance job

Let your former employer know. You’ll be surprised at the number of clients that will approach a firm with smaller jobs (that aren’t worth your employer’s while to pitch for), or part-time jobs (that they couldn’t staff given that they only have full-time employees). Your employer could recommend your services.

Let your friends and colleagues know.

Let your former clients know (subject to terms of your employment contract with your former employer).

Use movemeon. I know, I know…. we’re biased! But we’ve had some great freelancing roles come through the site – so keep your eyes open and register for freelance job alerts.

Freelancing need not be forever, but it’s often a good option for now. If you’re freelancing, we’d love to hear your thoughts – please email us.

Rich & Nick  

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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.

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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.

8 things your CV does to turn off hiring managers

8 things your CV does to turn off hiring managers

At movemeon we see hundreds of CVs each month, and you would be surprised how difficult some incredibly qualified people make things for themselves. So we’ve put together a short list of the most easily remedied and highest-impact CV mistakes we regularly come across.

And don’t forget to have a look at our article on cover letters.

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1. It’s saved in word

It sounds so irrelevant, doesn’t it? Word vs PDF, what’s the difference? Let me tell you, it is minor but word takes a lot longer to open. When I read CVs ahead of checking in with a hiring manager, if I’m pressed for time Word CVs are often the ones that fall to the bottom of the priority list. They are then read in a rush, instantly disadvantaging the applicant. For me, opening a CV in Word also means it shows up in a different place on my screen compared to PDFs, and thus I am more likely to forget the one or two who opt not to submit in PDF. It sounds minor but when it comes to deciding who to call for an interview it always pays to be front of mind.

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2. It’s not personalised for the job you want

The only piece of advice I give friends when they ask me to look over a CV for them (after all, you don’t want to take work home… even if it does try to wine and dine you!) is to make sure that they have re-written their CV to highlight the relevant experience they have. Not only does this put your best foot forward, it also makes every subsequent step easier. Often I speak to hiring managers who aren’t convinced by the motivation of a great candidate (who really wants the job) because their CV looks like one used for generic applications. Simply making sure you mention projects in relevant industries, and functions you have performed, is a great way to say that you feel you belong in their world!

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3. It’s too long

Linked to the above, if you don’t focus on tailoring your CV to the opening, there is an understandable temptation to put down everything you’ve done. Exhaustive lists are exhausting; better to include enought to show you understand what the role is about, and leave something in reserve. The applications I find make it to the top of shortlists are those that succinctly demonstrate that they tick all the boxes with a controlled list of projects.

4. It’s not clear if you have the right to work there

If you’re not based in the same country as the job for which you are applying, and have existing work rights, make sure this is something mentioned in either the header or the footer of your CV. You make things difficult for a hiring team when you ask them to guess based on the languages you speak, where you went to university, and where you started your career, whether you will be allowed to work in their country. Hiring teams sometimes have to deal with hundreds of applications and simply don’t have time to waste; so don’t give them any reason to think you might not work out.

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5. It’s not chronological

Some people opt to order their CV thematically, according to the different types of experience they have, only. This makes reading rather confusing, as it becomes hard to track progression, understand moves into/out of industry and even to quickly understand how experienced they are.

6. You’ve overcrowded with charts, images and graphs

A picture can be worth a thousand words. Equally, it can be worth one and take up 10 times the space on a document already bursting at the seams with your achievements. If it doesn’t explain something you could type in the same space an image is probably just overcrowding. If you’re looking for a way to get across personality and fit (often the decisive factor for start- ups) a cover letter is a better way to get things across.

7. You’ve not explained gaps in your CV

Everyone needs to take a little time out, but avoid unexplained gaps where you can. Unknowns look ominous, while explaining that you took some time out to have/raise kids or go travelling says a lot about you, and is a great conversation point at interview.

8. You’ve not explained your impact

Pointing out the relevance of your projects is important, but so is showing that you were able to get things done. Always say what your work resulted in if you can. Everyone loves a winner.

 

– 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.

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.

Recent posts

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.