In the seventh 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 advises to rent a SAP training environment, which could be as cheap as £1 per day. Then it would make sense to invest time to learn how to ensure a stable working environment, avoiding others to corrupt your configuration.
Richard saw a market niche for “multi-functional toys”. These are just your basic teddy bears you give to kids. These have special powers, like secret camera, wireless loudspeaker or Wi-Fi router. Hardly any companies are actively combining the familiar hugging capabilities of a teddy bear with other, less obvious, practical uses. Why not keep a bear in the car so that your phone app can easily locate where you are parked? These ideas make Richard excited and having a fictitious company to trade such products are at least a lot of fun.
If this also appeals to you, then you can use this idea for your study. Else select any of your favourite hobbies, sports or leisure activities. You will discover that any of these shops will use the same core business processes. So when you have one company configured, then it will be an easy ‘cut and paste’ exercise to start another one.
We took time to admire the view outside my window, knowing we are half way. That reminded me of the comment Richard made about a specific important “soft skill” that allows you to get what you want in life. He already said that you should give without expecting anything in return. Then eventually you will also receive. So giving is essential. But how do you know what to give that others need? In fact, it seemed quite obvious when he told me.
When we are in conversation, try to only focus on asking questions and listening to their responses. Then over time provide feedback in your own words. Important to note is that you continue to ask questions. You can share your opinions when asked for. Many people want a dialogue to express their own thoughts, which is exactly the opposite of what you should be doing. Let the other person talk freely, without limitations. They know best what they want in their life. It is your challenge to verify this by providing a summary. When you know their desires, you can decide how you can help them. Maybe it could be as simple as getting them in contact with someone in your network. Job done. They will remember you and will be more willing to return a favour in future.
Having said all that, Richard told me that there is another non-verbal asset you can use to make it more likely that you get what you want. Obviously, he wanted me to guess what that could be. And again, I had no clue and apparently had to wait a bit longer for the answer.
He continued by fantasising you had rented a SAP training system. He assumed that your long term goal is to know basic accounting and logistics functionality. Some knowledge might not be that much fun to acquire, as it is far outside your current comfort zone. That is why you should use your interests as the basis to ensure that it will be entertaining to learn new skills.
When you are willing to take this road to personal development, what would be the quickest and easiest way to configure a fictitious shop? That seemed like a trick question. But so far each answer has been based on common sense. By now I realised that the best answer is the one most obvious. Still, luckily Richard gave me time to give a response.
Author of the book “Make F.I.T. Your Purpose”.
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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
The Secret to IT Freelancer Success Lesson 5: Make an Impression
The Secret to IT Freelancer Success Lesson 6: Invest in Tools