In the fifth instalment of a ten part blog series, SAP ERP Consultant and Author Isard Haasakker guides us through his tips on how to have a successful career as a freelance IT consultant.
Do you want to learn a very effective strategy to expand your SAP knowledge that is proven and fun and immediately rewarding? At the same time, are you seeking cheap and fast and pragmatic advice to increase your market value. Look no further. Take control of your career and increase your job security.
Many years ago I had a chance encounter with Richard, one of the top project managers available. He knows that a « Jack of all trades » is looked down upon, until the moment you realise you need them to fix your problems with proper solutions. How many logistics consultants do you know who can do a month end closing? How many accounting consultants can analyse how much stock is available to promise to customers? This list is very short. Make sure your name is on that list.
Still, only emphasising on “hard skills” is not enough. Richard also finds developed “soft skills” is as important. As the plane reaches its highest altitude for our journey to Zurich, he reminds me of the questions he asked me related to these “soft skills”.
First, how do you stand out at a meeting before it has started? Simple. Be on time. This applies to everything you do. It might surprise you, but you make a better overall impression when you start early then when you leave late. Long days might initially be linked to dedication, but eventually nudge towards incapability. Instead starting early and leaving on time will be powerful when you deliver on time.
Secondly, what is the best strategy to build a trustworthy relationship? Simple. Do what you say. Breaking promises might not be detrimental when it happens incidentally, but will become a huge problem when it becomes the norm. At the same time, any non-verbal behaviour that is in conflict with your verbal communication will make you unreliable.
Finally, how can you demonstrate you are committed to achieve success? Simple. Finish what you start. When you make a commitment then do whether necessary to deliver. Maybe you can negotiate to push back a deadline, but start that discussion as soon as you sense that you need more time or resources. Else, the only alternative is to work overtime.
The time has come for our complimentary food and drinks. Richard never takes alcohol on working days, as that is an unwritten rule for being a professional. The additional sweets he secretly received before we took off are meant to give away.
As I am unwrapping my cheese sandwich, Richard continued to talk about my dream company. When you pretend you are in control of my own business, then it becomes very easy to remain self-motivated to finish what you start. And you can do this, as many service providers offer SAP rental for training purposes. And often it can be as cheap as £30 per month. Actually, employers should take the opportunity to pay for this access as a sign of goodwill and promote self-learning.
Build your own fictitious company based on your personal interest, pretending you won the lottery. You will realise that you should take the initiative and financial investment to learn new skills in a greenfield environment. Remember, project managers love to have a team who can prototype in a standard SAP system, not polluted with custom made solutions that may have become redundant by new standard functionality.
Richard advised to rent the cheapest system you can find and manually extend this on a monthly basis. It will contain many different users in the same environment, so you benefit in learning how to shield your configuration from others, preventing them to pollute your hard work. Learn these skills when jobs and contracts are harder to find. So it seems a no-brainer to rent a SAP system as from today.
Author of the book “Make F.I.T. Your Purpose”.
Introducing the Fast Implementation Track™ for SAP ERP.
Deploy on time, within budget and fit for purpose.
Read the first chapter for free!
Watch out for the next instalment from Isard’s blog series, and make sure you don’t miss out on all our latest blogs by subscribing to our mailing list below!
If you’re a freelance IT consultant looking for your next project get in touch.
Previous blogs in this series:
The Secret to IT Freelancer Success Lesson 1: Boost Your Value
The Secret to IT Freelancer Success Lesson 2: Manage Your Time
The Secret to IT Freelancer Success Lesson 3: Learn to Juggle
The Secret to IT Freelancer Success Lesson 4: Expand Your Skillset