Can I become an independent professional too?

"Why do you choose to become an independent professional?" - that's a question I got asked a lot at the beginning when I turned independent. Nowadays, the question that I got asked a lot is "Can I become an independent professional too?".

I shall answer this question with a list of questions that you should ask yourself:

  • "Do you have multiple skills, experience and knowledge that are sought after by many potential clients in the market?"
  • "Do you have a good network of friends or business associates who can either refer projects to you or connect you with the potential clients?"
  • "Do you have the necessary administrative skill to take care of all the managerial aspect of an independent professional business?" (think about no more colleagues to take care of your accounting, IT, office supplier, document filing, phone calls etc.
  • "Can you stand a famine/overfed business income cycle?"

more later.

  07/29/09 04:13:44 pm, by Leglessbird   , 151 words, Categories: Introduction ,

What is a Global Expert Network?

A Global Expert Network is a network (usually an online platform) where people with different domain knowledge, i.e. experience in different vertical industries such as telecommunications, insurance, pharmaceutical, banking, finance, retails, marketing, health care, semi-conductor and many more.

The platform, usually with its resource matching capability and sometimes a payment system, will try to supply these experts to the clients who need to seek their advise in various business aspect.

In the case where the platform takes care of the payment system, the experts can name their own rate for providing their consultation service and the platform will charge the client at a mark up rate or bulk sell rate.

The consultation is usually over the phone (since the expert and the client are likely to be in different locations), face to face meetings are of course possible.

The experts are not employees of the global expert network, they are simply a resource on its "menu" for client to purchase.

Global expert networks usually do not check, verify the credential of the experts, other than the business email address does match the company that they claim they are working at.

The frequency of being call-upon for consultation is highly random, and are usually low, unless your rate, the popularity of the industry, your knowledge and experience, location are all in a unique combination of a much sought after area.

Therefore, the consultation income should be considered as an occasional supplement pocket money and not a reliable source of main income.

  07/29/09 04:07:16 pm, by Leglessbird   , 251 words, Categories: Tips for freelancer ,

What is a "Professional Staffing" firm?

"Professional Staffing" firm is a company, market maker that makes a living from matching the clients' need, in the form of jobs or projects that usually have a predefined time and/or scope, with the necessary human resource such as a highly skilled independent professional who has the appropriate experience, skills and knowledge to execute the task.

The independent professionals are NOT employees of the staffing firm, they are independent, free agent who can work for anyone else. A contractual relationship is formed only when the staffing firm finds a project for the independent professional, i.e. a contract between the staffing firm and the client, a matching contract between the staffing firm and the independent professional on a pre-agreed daily rate called "per diem".

That means, the staffing firm makes a handsome margin of reselling the independent professional's time to the client. Typically 30-50%.

Unless the independent professional is a super-star and in a hot industry that is always sought after by the staffing firm's clients, otherwise, the independent professional should not rely on the staffing firm as its only source of work. The independent professional must be able to develop its own client.

Some staffing firms will pre-qualify the independent professionals by interviewing them or even background check, some don't and will only do so if a potential project materializes.

Some staffing firms take responsible of the quality control of the project and may dedicate its own resource to oversee the project, some don't.

  07/29/09 03:39:18 pm, by Leglessbird   , 246 words, Categories: Tips for freelancer ,

Useful links

Independent Professional AssociationIndependent Professional Association
About Independent Professional Association (IP-A)
Independent Professional Association (IP-A) is an organization of self-employed knowledge workers. Formed in 2009, IP-A aims to create, sustain and promote an eco-system for local and international independent professionals by providing business, social support and services such as continuous learning, networking opportunities and membership benefits.

Professional Staffing Firm: a-connect, Eden McCallum

Global Expert Network: Gerson Lehrmen Group, CapVision

  07/29/09 03:22:27 pm, by Leglessbird   , 68 words, Categories: Useful links ,

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

How come you know so much about "Independent Professional"?
I am myself an Independent Professional and I used to run a company that help independent professionals find project

How come you know so much about "Professional Staffing Firm"?
I used to run one - I co-founded and ran the first Asia office of a global professional staffing for matching independent professionals and client business consulting projects.

How come you know so much about Global Expert Network?
I have been working on many specialist projects for a global expert network platform and conducted many business interviews with the global experts sourced by this platform.

  07/29/09 03:14:41 pm, by Leglessbird   , 103 words, Categories: FAQ ,