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Posts Tagged ‘consultants’

The freelancer’s dilemma


Many months back we posted a ‘true cost of agency workers’ article on the site. About how full-time (general) staff’s salary is actually about half what it really costs a company to employ them.

We still get the occasional response to that post – our posts attract all sorts of oddballs. Which we don’t mind.

If you missed it, we took a vote some weeks’ back and picked one of the oddballest ones. And published it with our comments. After all, the freelance oddball who wrote to us asked us to do this. And anonymity was, accordingly, preserved.

Image result for freelancers dilemma

Rated daily

Now, by popular consent – and never ones to turn down a challenge – our fearless crew here at VnN, re-publish the letter together with our comments. And, to spice things up a little, the comments from our readers, too.

But first, the original letter:

Dear Ed

I’m appalled. I’ve just been for my third ‘interview’ (they’ve really been nothing more than informal chats) with an agency looking to appoint an experienced and successful freelance new biz person. Me!

At least that’s what I thought as we’ve had good chats and we seem to get on well enough. They tell me they have a great product and their fab clients love them muchly. And so they want to grow. They see me as helping them to do that. And I’d like to make it happen.

So far so good.

Now for the not-so-good. They have offered me less than I have asked for as my day-rate. As requested, I gave them a range of £x (the lowest amount) to £y (the top of the range) and they’ve come back with £x minus £z. Which means I don’t even get to £w. If you get my drift?

Unfortunately, I have to admit this grates. But what do I do? If I turn them down, then I’ll end up with zip. If I accept their lower-than-my-stated £x threshold rate, I’ll be continuously hacked-off that they’re getting me on the cheap. So I won’t do a great job and it’ll all, most likely, end in tears.

Agencies are always hacked off when their (new) clients try to screw them down. And that sours the whole relationship before it even starts. What should I do?

Yours confused…

Read more…

New business creds: a phone call in print


What is it with agency creds that they’re so frequently so-o-o-o boring? Why do capable, imaginative, resourceful agency folk trot out such PowerPoint dullness – or more fashionably, now, but equally tiresome PDFs – every time?

Look interesting to you?

Look promising to you?

You’ve never heard that before, have you? Nor this:

So easy for you consultants. Got your whole career behind you and no career ahead of you. Easy for you to say what you like. Because you can. Nothing’s easier than being critical about someone else’s work. And if you’re so clever…

OK, enough. consultants are supposed to be ‘clever’. Although ‘experienced’ is more accurate. Whether that equates to ‘better’…? You judge.

Freely and fortunately donated to Views not News, here’s one consultant’s response to the “If you’re so clever…” invitation, above. Part summary, part verbatim mash-up it’s how one consultant, in his own words, has framed his views to improve an agency’s creds.

See whether you think these guys are ‘better’… Read more…

Why new business consultants are half-price *


Lucky me! I’m one of the 33%. That’s the one-third of we UK-ers who ‘looks forward to going to work’. And not just on Friday mornings.

Earlier this month the Independent on Sunday (IoS) reported that two-thirds of employed people are unhappy about their work. Time off for sickness days and injuries is rising. Workplace stress, depression, anxiety…all are on the increase.

Pressing the right buttons

Pressing the right buttons?

What’s goin’ on? We’re supposed to be, as a nation, surging economically forward. Boldly going. Leaving recession behind us.

Even luckier me: I’m not employed. Well, not as such. I’m a freelancer: self-employed. So I work, mostly but not always, on projects. New business projects.

These projects are all different. They take me to places I’ve not been. They offer the chance to look at different agency businesses in different business sectors with different objectives. It’s both exciting and demanding.

Among all the differences, however, I find there is a unifying characteristic in most of the businesses I’m fortunate enough to work with.

What unites these disparate agencies is not just their stated need that new business (cliché alert) is the ‘lifeblood of the agency’ but that they need it now.

So a freelancer / new business consultant is often drafted in when things new biz-wise get a bit tough.

So I’m learning all the time. Have to. Fast. Coming to everything with fresh, un-opinionated eyes. It means I have to ask a helluva lot of dumb questions. Some of them good. But all of them based on trying to understand what I’m getting into and how I can make a difference.

Curious, on the one hand, don’t you think, that it takes an outsider to ask the hard questions? Yet on the other hand not so curious as the agency seniors are toiling away on everything else, after all. And I’m supposed to be the specialist help. Which I am. But this ‘specialist help’ is frequently a not much-loved cost.

Working for money

This is what I do: unashamedly work for money. I know full well it’s not PC to say that. Yet I’m saying it. But let’s take a step back, before I come to that.

Freelance specialist support will be the future. A changed labour market means micro businesses are becoming ever more important while large employers downsize. Asset light and flexible, people like me, should be smiling.

This is due, mainly, to automation and globalisation. The fragmentation of traditional industries. Take the banks’ recent announcements to go semi-virtual right now and close branches, shed staff. Technology is the catalyst.

The effects of this will be far-reaching: these events will completely change not just how all businesses are run but how emerging micro-business cohorts’ demands will start getting noticed and move up the electoral priorities and cause governments to re-think; adjust their policies accordingly. And they thought UKIP was the problem! Read more…

Why great expectations for new business don’t work


Candidates like me are being looked for. I know this because LinkedIn regularly informs me so.

Not classified anymore

Not classified anymore

Another day, another clutch of emails (what is the right collective term for a wodge of emails hitting your inbox?) and LinkedIn is there, telling me…

Neil: The GIG at DST, Mindshare and Strategic-Move are looking for candidates like you.

Neil: Lis Welsh Search & Selection Ltd, Mindshare and Hays Specialist Recruitment are looking for candidates like you.

Now…do I (a) interrupt what I’m doing to click on these emails and waste my time looking at robot-generated job descriptions for amazingly multi-gifted people. Job descriptions which have only limited relationships to the real world. Or do I (b) just get on with what I’m doing – trying to make a real difference for the agencies I work with?

You guessed right: it’s (a) because I’m always too much of a sucker to resist. Hello time-management gurus: candidates like me are looking for help from you. FOMO therapists especially welcomed.

Publication of one’s own limitations might not be a sensible thing to do. But how many of us can resist the Read more…

The long and the short of business development jobs


Sometimes, thanks to Gmail, Linked In and a few others, I click on “Jobs you may be interested in as Business Development Director” messages. I know I shouldn’t. But I do. Slippery slide now begins.

Quite honestly, I hate these little pop-up notifications. It’s not that I’m not interested — I am — but it’s just that I know that when I open the link I’ll get sucked into a vicious virtual vortex of ‘See Job Description’, ‘See other jobs like this’, ‘See how many people clicked on this link’ or ‘See all new jobs’.

Or something like this. So I waste an unforgivable amount of time ‘seeing’ and then see-sawing around. I do. The definition of madness means I must need therapy.

What makes it all so mind numbing is the complete and utter cruddiness of the information which such things as (a) the ‘Company Description’ and then (b) the Job Description itself are full of.

Company descriptions themselves tend to be stuffed full of hugely self-congratulatory jargon. Like this: Read more…

Home rule

15/01/2013 2 comments

Louis de Bernieres wrote Captain Corelli’s Mandolin where I’m sitting. In 1998. At Earlsfield Library. If he could produce something a beautiful as that, here, then I reckon my blog and other work / admin duties at the moment shouldn’t be too onerous.

Yet it seems to be.

My basic problem is that I’ve never really been able to work where there are soft furnishings. It’s somehow never seemed a proper work environment to me. 

Home is my security zone. Not workstation.  I need that more Calvinistic / Presbyterian threat thing that reward should only follow privation and sacrifice. Sitting in armchairs with a laptop, when I get one, within easy access to biscuits, seems a big disconnect with the idea of sacrifice.

I’m too used to the whole conventional ‘being in the office’ thing. ‘Working from home’ has always sounded a bit too much like bullshit to me. But I’m trying to get the hang of it in my new role. Working, that is. And from Earlsfield library.

Offices are what you go to. Like factories were as the industrial revolution emptied the countryside and shunted people into England’s nascent cities.  Unnatural environments and workplaces that became associated with being natural. Read more…