In the first instalment of a new 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.
It was September 2000 and the Olympic Games at Sydney were in full swing. That time I was living in Eindhoven but working near Zurich. The alarm clock woke me up in the early hours, expecting another routine Monday morning. However, this time I was about to have a conversation on the plane that changed my life.
Quite unexpectedly my fellow passenger was someone I recognised instantly. It was Richard, the first project manager I encountered in my professional career, 6 years earlier. He was and has been the most charismatic natural leader I had the pleasure to work for. What an opportunity to strike a conversation during the 2-hour flight.
He was in good spirits and remembered me, which was a good start. He asked me how I was doing and patiently listened how I explained that I had problems sleeping. A few months earlier I made the decision to become self-employed and soon my first contract would come to an end. As “a day not worked is a day not invoiced”, I became very aware of the need to boost my market value.
Richard smiled gently and reassured me that my awareness made me win half the battle. He reminded me that his primary focus as a project manager was to select the best team imaginable. A good team makes his work easy. Yes, problems always emerge, but a good team will solve most of them without his intervention. So what makes you a person that adds value, increasing the likelihood to remain employed or offered a contract extension?
Any employer will feel blessed with high achievers. Then it is Richard’s task to make sure they remain happy so that they will not seek employment elsewhere. Otherwise, he would persuade them to learn new skills. Unfortunately, Richard is aware that many employers prefer that their staff educate themselves after working hours, ideally at their own cost. Employees seeing this as an opportunity will be more likely to become highly desirable.
With limited time and money, you need a clear strategy with the highest return on your investment. Being self-motivated will be key. Sacrifices have to be made, so it better be as much fun as possible. Instead of theoretical studies focusing on certification and examination, dare to invest your energy in practical results through trial and error. Demonstrating your skills will be more satisfactory than passing multiple choice tests.
Richard wants to show me the hidden moral and ethical paths to reach my goals faster than traditional educational programs. Normally these only tend to emphasise to enhance your “hard skills” that will appear on your resume. That is only half the story. You also need to learn “soft skills”, which luckily can be applied instantly for free.
Richard confided with me that SAP is so highly integrated that “module experts” will find it much harder to compete with “integration experts”. So it makes sense to widen your comfort zone and transcend the modular focus if you want to remain valuable for your employer or client.
As the plane taxied to take us into the air, Richard still saw that I was struggling in formulating a strategy to get started. So he asked me to suggest how I could convert my spare time into productive time. He gave me a hint to make decisions that self-made millionaires have taken. I had no clue, however it made me curious. Somehow I was sure Richard will tell me as soon as we are in the air.
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.
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