You are fired. The worst or best message for a freelance consultant
Last week I got the message that I had nod expected. There is no more budget for me to continue on the project and that I’ll have to stop soon on the project. It was customer has been my primary customer that I have worked 4 days a week on for 1½ year. I have been able to learn a lot and got the chance to develop a lot of interesting projects for them.
I do have another customer that I do work for some time, but it is only around 20 hours a month so it allows me to pay my bills.
That mean that I a month or so I’m without a project and don’t know where I should be working next time. Scary. And then it is just about emblazing the uncertainty. I think it is one of the most important things of being a freelancer. Be able to accept that you don’t have a project.
I have somewhat hoped that I’ll be able to finish the project and done my planning from that as everybody else in the organization. We did not know enough on the estimation when we started the project, so we had to re-estimate the rest of the project. That turned out to be too much for the current budget period.
This is a common message that freelance consultants get because it is the way the business model work. You are a temporary resource for customers to help release some of their problems with either lack of recourses or competences. I did share a blog about the freelance business model last week
When I learned that I was going to end the project, I was a bit sad. Think not to be able to finish the projects that we were working on. After I get to accept and remember at that is about time to find something else to work on. The organization has been generous enough to give a good notice, so I can finish the things that I’m working on and make sure things get handed over. It seems to be possible to do a good handover and not move too much into production on the last day.
Why can I see this that being “fired” was it is called in other situations as a good thing. In a normal position it would be really bad because you would have to go job hunting to find a new job. You will go on the unemployment funds.
As a freelancer I have my company that I can save money so I can live of that when I don’t have any project.
For a freelancer it is much easier. Well there still need to find a job. But the job can be much smaller as just a project. There’re good options to see even more from it.
I have been asked for some different projects over the last few months, so I believe that there may be a good opportune to find a project where they can use my SAP PI skills.
It may sometime be easier to find 20-100.000$ for a solving a business problem than hiring a person that requires training and will stay at the company for ever.
Another bright thing is that I soon get to experience a full new set of challenges, meet new people and a new organization. That will be quite exciting to see what will come.
So what about me now?
Well it is the best time of the year to not have a project. Think of the greatness to be able to go on vacation without having to do support or develop solutions. So I can go and enjoy the summer without worrying about job. It is almost like being a student again.
I do have a lot of my own project that I’m looking forward to create and then learn and master the BPMN or get my feet wet with HANA. I have not been able to focus enough time on them lately, so it will be super to be able to focus on them full time.
Then I’ll see what is happing of project in fall and see where I end up if it is possible to find a new project.
If you find the freelancing stuff to be interesting try download my free checklist for it freelancers. It may be quite helpful.
Thanks for posting this and what can I say... I can 100% relate to the feeling.
What you have described is one of my biggest warnings to any aspiring freelancer: there is not just more opportunity, money, freedom and kudos. All of it can also end very quickly - and you have to be prepared for that.
Freelance SAP consulting is not for everyone, because you need to have a thick skin in moments like this. Taking setbacks like the one you have just experienced on the chin is something you can learn over time, but even after freelancing for almost a decade now I still find myself struggling in these situations. You need to be a strong character, that's for sure.
SAP Freelancing can be full of ups and downs, with more extremes than permanent roles. I always say: If I get a new assignment, it's as if I want to give the whole world a hug. However ending or being released out of a contract makes me think everybody is against me (well, at least for a short while).
Some argue that these effects are similar to all types of freelance work (arts, public, private, business, etc) and there probably is some truth in this. However SAP freelance contracts tend to involve longer, full-time assignments with above-average rates. There is a potential danger in this, because it can be very easy to become sucked into a project and starting to feel invincible. Daniel, as you know, this is not a good place to be. It's worthwhile pointing out that the best point to leave a project has come when you start feeling comfy - at least that's my philosophy.
Inherently, therein also lies the beauty of freelancing: every contract stretches your skills and abilities into a different direction. No assignment is the same. Each new project brings with it a different client, people, system and culture. I know that you and I both share this, because we both like the opportunity these kind of new horizons bring.
Therefore, all the best in finding your next assignment. You're a top notch PI consultant and I am sure you won't struggle to find another assignment very soon.
can i double-like your comment?
it only gets better from now on as there are no permanent jobs anywhere or ever have been and good luck finding your next assignment!
Very true that "permanent roles" aren't truly permanent. And even if they were, who would want to do the same thing for decades?
Daniel, I hope you enjoy some time off and good luck finding the next challenge! Thank you also for so opening writing about your feelings. I'm certain they are shared by almost everyone, but not everyone talks about them 🙂 Well done!
Yes it is probably the best time to leave a project when everything is goig at it best.
I think the thing with being to comftable was the reason that I left my consulting job, i think I may have been to happy about it and could see me doing the same for 10 years. That was what triggered me to go freelancing.
i´m not a freelancer and i haven´t been fired.
I´ve quitted my job because i couldn´t stand my boss.
And i somehow feel identified with some ideas expressed in your blog.
To all people going through something similar just have a look at his video:
it might seem childish but i like the idea it conveys.
keep moving forward!.
Love the video. You are not who everybody says you are. You need to be the person who stands op.
Leaving your job because of your boss, seems to be one to the top reasons for leaving a good job. Even all other paramters can be good, but the boss has to much impact on what is going on.
Thanks for the share Danny.
Thanks for your blog, I'm freelance from 2004 and I totally understand your position, and now I'm free agent too (2 weeks ago), For you now is time to relax and wait, there is a lot of jobs around, you only need to have enough patience to wait the right project.:-))
In my experience, your customer take the right approach,I had some clients that wait until the last day to comunicate the Budget Issue.
Yes it is nice that they can say in advance that the project will end before it is the last day fo the project. They can also get a better hand over.
I'm looking forward to some freetime. I know there is a lot of jobs out there but I'm in no hurry. I have too many other projects going on.
Impeccable blog, and you expressed quite well both the 'pain' a freelancer have to endure sometimes, and at the same time turning these experiences into something 'good'.
As a freelancer myself, I can fully relate to your blog and Michaels excellent comment.
Michael basically said it all. I can only add that for me, the best, even surest ways to get follow-up assignments is to receive top-notch word of mouth recommendations. This makes you stand out of the crowd, up to the point where people you even have never met would remember your name from somewhere and think 'hey, maybe we should have a chat with this guy'. Though I'm sure, with your excellent skills and reputation you've got that base solidly covered 😉
Another thing that helps me, even in unexpected ways, is to put some small advertising decals on the side of my car. Nothing fancy or even in-yer-face (see http://i.imgur.com/aexC3V4.jpg to decide for yourself) but enough to be noticed while commuting. I receive on average 2-3 inquiries per month based on these decals alone, which a) helps building your name-remembrance -- I actually hate the word 'reputation' -- in different ways than projects/social media/SCN alone, and b) if you're lucky you may as well score a new project out of it!
I wish you the best of luck in securing that next fulfilling assignment, and in the meantime, enjoy that well-deserved holiday!
Thanks for the great comment.
It is about being the best and deliver over exptation service, then the clients will hopefully talk about you with other SAP customers.
I really like the idea with marketing on your car. I did not think that that would have an affect to advertise localy because of the small market that we are trying to reach.
Exactly! And well said about delivering over-expectation service -- not to be confused with over-delivering! -- because *doing more* than was expected might not be appreciated by the client, whereas *performing better/quicker/more knowledgeable* is always well-received 😉
I really underestimated the impact marketing decals would have had on a small car as well, but on my (on average) 80km daily commute with the usual traffic jams, it apparently gets noticed. In the 4 years I've been freelancing, I have secured two great projects out of it. Not bad for a € 120,- investment 😉
That is a pretty good ROI. Impressive.
Freelancing- you are your own boss you can choose your project..work on project you want to work on honing your skills in a specific area.so that after 4-5 implementations with different customers impelemet the Same product you understand the product better and as well you can also advice the customers on best practices..gives opportunity to meet and work with new teams every time ..work in diffrenet industry areas.. cons is every project is gonna end no matter how good it is...and every now and then you got to look for a new project..and sell yourself...
Permanent roles- work on the same technology for decades working on something you dont like to but you do because your boss /organization asked you to..only pros in this role is to you dont have to travel and look for a new project every now and then..
thanks for the excellent blog and good luck finding your next assignment!
IMO, searching for that next enticing project, selling yourself and subsequently securing that project is one of the beauties of being a freelancer/independent consultant, and definitely not a con 🙂
It is quite exciting what is going to happen next.
What may help in spotting new opportunities, is to make use of rather generic Twitter searches saved as RSS feeds for easier reading.
For instance, you could subscribe to the RSS feed http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=SAP%20PI which gives lots of results, 99% of which is utter cruft (from a project-searching point of view at least).
But using Google Reader, it's one-row-per-item layout helps to quickly glance over the results, looking for words like project, freelance, opportunity and more importantly, region-oriented hints like Denmark, København, etc. and you may be able to find that matching project in your area.
And even if you have a long-term project, still keeping an eye on these feeds keeps you on top of what's going on in your region 🙂
I have had the SAP PI search in my twitter account to see if anything new comes up. It is a good way to gage what is going on and how many are recruiting for new projects.
Thanks for the good write-up. Though I'm not a freelancer yet, your blog has given me good insight into practical life of a freelancer. If the reason for being fired is cost (hourly rate), then we can always negotiate it.
Yes a solution could be to negotiate the rate. But the gap would still be too big to make sense.
Great blog Daniel.
Great blog!... Life as a freelancer can be both exciting and frustrating.
Enjoy your break, I'm sure with your skills and reputation you won't be waiting long for a new project.
Nice article and absolutely true. I have been working as an freelance SAP EPM consultant since 2001 , in around 18 countries across the world , and sometimes I felt like giving up freelance mode. To be honest it would be so frustrating to sit idle and do nothing ( as I learned and diversified my skills to around 12 SAP/Oracle EPM modules until now during the break time,) like having your gun fully loaded but still unable to fire in any direction. On average in any given year, I will be working around 8 months and 4 months holidays.But it is so difficult to quit freelance mode as this is like one way path.. In a freelance mode, if one has project/assignment, he is monarch.There will be less pro's & more cons in this mode.
1. Good Pay/Rate
2. Freedom/ Choice of Project/Client/ SAP Module
3. International Travel ( Mostly Free) for family with good accommodation,perks etc.
4. Skills Enhancement( Technical, Functional,Domain ) , SME Roles
5. Cross cultural communication
1. Mostly Short Term Assignments
2. No Job Security , can be fired any day.
3. No Sense of Belonging ( always treated as outsider in any organization)
4. Always demand for more hours ( from the client/Customer managers)
5. Always need to search for new assignments/Projects
6. Always susceptible to the Socio-Economic climate of the country /client /customer /vendor
7. Delay/Default of payments from client/customer/Vendor ( Very common in India)
8. The ever ending interview process ( again & again)
Thanks & Regards
Hi Chemicala Reddy
Thanks for a good comment. Happy that you enjoy the lifestyle. I guess that is as much about the lifestyle if you can accept it.
I was just looking at this post and soon after I stared on a new project with new ideas and inspirations. So I guess that this firing of me was quite happy.
Good to see this comment thread is still going.
I am planning on running another "Freelancing as SAP Consultant" session when I am at TechEd && d-code in Las Vegas this October. I hope the new format still allows for pod sessions. Those interested in the topic - aspiring or experienced freelancers - look out for the session and come along if you can.