4 Things You Might Consider Before Changing Your Employee Status into Freelancing


Time is the most precious commodity on Earth. To be spent efficiently here it is how I see my ROI of time:

  • the invested time shall bring me joy OR
  • the invested time shall bring me money OR
  • Ideally the invested time shall bring me both joy and money in the same time but this is not that frequent to achieve OR
  • Else the time is lost

Now when we optimize our investment of time we try to reduce the last category of investment (the time lost) and we try to increase the investments of time which brings us joy. And joy can be achieved each time by different things like: looking at the sky, having a walk, not being stressed or frustrated, calling a friend, watching a movie, working on a personal project or doing any other things which are in sync with my inner self in that particular moment when I have that experience.

As a freelancer for over 10 years sometimes I need to jump in the waters of the market and search for a new contract. Here it is what I have learned during this process:

  1. You need to do your own marketing

You need in average 1 month to setup and close a new deal. Why is that so? You need about 10 calendar days to send out thousands and thousands(24/7) of CVs everywhere on the planet and regardless if the job you apply for is suitable for you or not. You need to do your own marketing campaign and let the recruiters of the World know that you are on the market. In which category you would include the investment of this amount of time? Well you either include it in the invoiced price of your next project or you add it to the lost category(as joy it can’t be considered).

2. You need to meet the recruiters

A recruiter is a third party agency which is hired by the client to search for someone for a specific job description. I love the international recruiters because those never ask me to have a face to face meeting with them. They would call you and ask few basic questions related to what you know to do, what are you searching for and the expected price. However the local recruiters will all need to see you first before introducing you to any client. And here we go: you can’t have more than one meeting per day with a recruiter as I usually plan those meetings after the business hours so I could still invoice that day while I am still preparing my future contract. And so if I stay on the market for one month and I need to see daily a recruiter that will cost me 3 hours of my time at least: one hour driving and searching for the place where I have the meeting, one hour talking to the recruiter, one hour driving back. 3 hours*20 days = 60 hours spent with my local recruiters. And again I either include those 60 hours in the price of my next project or I can painfully accept them in my time lost category.

3. You need to meet the client

If your price is high the recruiters will filter you out most of the times. They will introduce you to the client only in the last minute when they have the feeling that they might lose that opportunity and then you will be thrown in the shark tank for that client. The reason is mainly their own margin which cant be that high if they buy you at high price. But lets say you passed the gate and the client received your CV. Whats next? Hopefully the client spotted out all the keywords s/he is searching for in your CV. If yes, then you are invited to introduce yourself. And then again: one hour drive in average to the client, 1 hour of discussions and one hour driving back. In one month I manage to see between 1–3 clients as usually if I met the client they will buy me so I don’t need to see others. Here the investment of time is between 3 and 9 hours. Do you charge them in your next project or do you add them to the lost line?

4. You need to negotiate the contract

Once the client gave you the agreement for starting working for them you start negotiating the contract with your recruiter. And here again I love the international recruiters as they will not even call me or ask me to meet them in order to sign the contract. They will send it by email, I will send back the updates I need to have in certain conditions, they will update it for me and send it back for my electronically signature or just to sign&scan and sent it back. An international recruiter will cost me maximum 15 minutes call prior to meet the client, will send me an email with the address and date and time of my interview with the client and in 30 minutes I would have the contract updated and signed. In total less than a hour cross the entire process. However the local recruiters will call you several times to explain you part of the contract which they would consider I did not understand it and so trying to convince me that I should let it written as per their proposal. There will be several iterations back and forward before having a final version of the contract. And even then you would need to meet them in order to sign the contract in front of them. So again at least 2,5 hours to be able to meet them plus several other hours to negotiate over the contract. In which basket to include this investment of time? If the price I requested is accepted could be that those hours are included in the future project or else I have few more hours for my lost time category.

Imagine you need to repeat the whole process 3–4 times in a year? You might keep you pretty busy for a good while, without necessarly increasing your joy percentages …

Dear recruiter next time when you think the price a consultant is charging is to expensive please take into account the above calculations too.

Obviously the recruitment process needs more digitization in order to scale and save everyones time.  It will be in everyones best interests.  By operating in the described way the recruitment agencies can’t simply grow and scale globally. How many consultants they can physically meet in one day? And in order to have one good CV for one position they need a pool of at least 100 consultants on that same profile.  If they need to meet each and every person is simply impossible to sell and to sell at costs which can still be interesting for them. On the other side as consultant you need to run in circles for at least one month in order to prepare you future contract. That’s again one month when you are not in holiday enjoying the beach and its a month which you most of the times don’t invoice it anywhere.  So the only category where you can include that month is in the trash bin of your life. On the other hand I managed to close so far only one contract in 10 years with an agency with whom I had face to face meetings during the process.  How sounds that in terms of efficiency?

Personally I would say the future of video CV is here. We need to move into the video presentations and we need to have online platforms from where we buy the experts.  The existing model is simply not feasible anymore.  It gets us exhausted!

The fact is that our live on Earth is limited and we cannot afford to spend it inefficiently.  And when you think this process is supported by human resources companies.  Which by themselves should take care of the human potential and not throw it into a trash bin.

Share with us your reflections below …