Consultant portrait: Pia Kemppainen

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Why did you decide to start working as a freelancer?

I had been working as an employee in the business sector for 20 years and wanted to do something totally different. So, I certified myself as a mental coach and started coaching tennis players and golfers. After some time, I started getting questions from my former colleagues, whether I would be interested in returning to the business sector. Business people, just like athletes, need help with goal setting, believing in themselves and improving focus. My break from the business life actually strengthened me and I felt very motivated, so I decided to give it a shot – at least for some time. 

fullsizeoutput_44dWhat’s the best part of being a consultant?

The freedom. If you have projects enough to live on, being a freelancer is just the best. I love being able to take a pause between projects and maybe take a longer holiday to re-charge. 

Another great thing is that I can make sure I’m always learning; I try to make sure that every project also requires personal growth. A skill or knowledge that will allow me to broaden my range of projects, which in turn allows me to try more things.

What’s the worst?

No project = no money. You have to keep on your toes, and always make sure to deliver, in fact exceeding the expectations, so you get more offers.

As a consultant, you also need to sell yourself. Something many may dislike, but it is possible to get better at that as well – another personal growth opportunity!

Why Ework?

It was actually Ework that reached out to me through common networks. They had a client they said I would be perfect for, so I naturally accepted. And I am very glad I did!

Tips for aspiring consultants?

You can be both freelancer and employed during your professional career, you don’t have to pick one and stick with it. If you are good at what you do, you will get different opportunities. Focus on improving yourself and believing in yourself – get a coach if you feel stuck. We all benefit from coaching.

When it comes to finding jobs, networking is essential! Take every opportunity you can to network, both physically and digitally, make yourself known. Tell people what you are good at, and how you can help your potential clients.

Finally, use all available help there is. If you’re just starting out, use a service like Ework to get those first projects. And let them deal with the paperwork in the beginning. After all, you should be focusing on the benefits that you can deliver to your potential clients. 

Anything else you’d like to mention? 

My final comments are directed towards companies. Take care of your staff, especially during a change. Keep them informed and involve them on changes early on, thus avoiding rumors that only distract the day-to-day work. It is often easy to focus on technology only, but it is not enough. Securing organizational change management is essential for a successful change, especially during these times where change is the new normal.

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