Do you like a change of environment? Do you want to share your knowledge in different companies? But most of all, do you strongly wish to become self-employed? Then freelance interim management might be the solution! Becoming a successful freelance interim manager takes a lot of preparation. Here, we will list the most important steps.
4 Steps before you start
1. Define your status as a freelance interim manager
You probably have a pretty good idea of the type of job you want to do. However, to get there it’s important that you first define your level of expertise.
You know you want to become a freelance interim manager in marketing, but finding assignments will be a lot easier if you define your field of expertise. You could be a digital marketing expert, a social media expert, a content marketeer, etc.
The opportunities are endless, but it’s an important choice to make. Job applications will go a lot faster if companies know you’re a perfect match for their job vacancy. You’ll be an obvious fit for the job and you won’t waste time doing interviews for jobs that aren’t interesting to you.
2. Build a professional network
One of the most important assets as a freelancer is a strong personal network. Think of ex-employers, ex-colleagues, ex-business partners and friends. These people can recommend you as a trustworthy interim manager, or they can present you with new opportunities and assignments. Invest in strong personal relationships as a freelancer. An interim management company can help you develop a strong network of freelancers in your field.
Don’t forget your online network! Work on your personal branding online via LinkedIn and make sure to be found for what you want to be or do.
3. Define your daily rate
This part can be tricky. It’s difficult to decide a reasonable price for your services. You have to take into account that this is your only income when you are self-employed. You don’t get a car, fuel card or any other fringe benefits. On the other hand, it has to be a fair price for your level of experience. Are you a junior, medior or senior? If you have less than 5 years experience, companies won’t be willing to pay you as much as someone with 20+ years of experience.
You can find an indicator of a daily rate per industry and expertise right here.
Tip: do some research in your personal and professional network. Another option is asking an interim management company for help. They can also help you find the right assignments.
4. Make a financial plan
We strongly advise you to take the time to make a financial plan. You’re starting your own business so you absolutely require a deep insight into your finances and the viability of your business. Some key elements that should be included:
– Balances heet
– Break-even point
Checklist for starters
1) Define your status
When you become self-employed you have to decide if you want to be an interim manager in primary or secondary occupation. Primary occupation means you’re a full time freelancer. Secondary occupation means you divide your time between being self-employed and working for an employer. This affects your earnings, social contributions, social security, etc. A Social Security Fund can help you make an informed decision.
2) Define your business structure
You have to decide on the legal structure of your business. You can either start a company or a one-man-business. The main difference is the legal liability of your business in case of bankruptcy or financial problems. A one-man-business is easier to set up, but comes with a higher risk of your personal assets. A company is more complicated to set up, but your personal assets are always safe. We advise you to ask your Social Security Fund for help in deciding the best fit for your needs.
3) Open a bank account for your business
Being a freelance interim manager means owning your own business. So we strongly advise you to open a separate bank account. This will allow you to keep a clear view on the financial health of your business.
4) Register at a Social Security Fund
This step is legally required if you want to become self-employed. The Social Security Fund will help you with all your questions, doubts, administration and social contributions. They will make sure your business is legally in order and will guide you along the way.
5) Get a VAT number and register your business at the Crossroad Bank for Enterprises (CBE)
This step is also legally required. Your VAT number will differentiate you from other businesses. You’ll need to use this number on invoices and your official communication. Either you apply at the CBE and they will take care of the administration, or your Social Security Fund can do it for you.
6) Get social security
As an employee you automatically get social security when you get paid at the end of the month. As a freelancer you’re responsible for paying your social contributions every quarter. This is important to receive child benefits, maternity leave, health insurance, etc. Social security should be paid to your social security fund at the end of every quarter.
7) Think about your retirement
You might still be young and aren’t worrying about this right now, but the average pension of someone who is self-employed isn’t as high as the pension of employees. The average pension is €918/month. That’s why it’s very important to start saving for your pension as soon as you start your own business. Business desks or banks can certainly help you to set up a plan that works for you.
8) Get insurance
As a freelance interim manager it’s important to take care of your own insurances. Think about an income protection insurance, hospitalisation insurance, etc.
Making the decision
As you are probably aware by now, becoming a freelance interim manager shouldn’t be an impulsive decision. It takes a lot of consideration and preparation. If you are convinced about becoming a freelancer and working with an interim management company, contact us! Still not quite sure? Read the pros and cons of becoming a freelance interim manager below.
Advantages of becoming a freelance interim manager
Decide your own income
As a freelancer you define your daily rate. This means you get to decide your monthly income. This is an advantage employees definitely won’t have. Fantastic! Define a price that lets you live comfortably and gives you peace of mind. Don’t forget that an accountant can help you make financially smart choices when buying a company car, renting a business space,… to increase your income.
Probably the most interesting part of becoming a freelancer: it allows you to have a huge amount of freedom. You are your own boss, which means you decide your own work hours, the amount of time you work, your workplace, your holidays and your own assignments. It’s up to you!
Renegotiate your daily rate
You decide the daily price a client has to pay for your services. This means you can give yourself a raise at any time. Nonetheless, don’t forget to be reasonable in your pricing. If you are too expensive, clients won’t be eager to hire you. A fair price for your work that allows you to live comfortably seems about right.
A lot of experience
You’ll work for many clients as a freelance interim manager which will allow you to gain experience in different sectors, fields and cultures. This is a real asset when applying for assignments. You will be able to fill in their lack of knowledge.
Things to consider before becoming a freelance interim manager
It’s fantastic not having to ask permission to go on holiday, but keep in mind that it means you won’t have an income for this period. The same goes for sickness: when you’re too sick to work, you won’t get paid.
Tip: Set some money aside gradually to have peace of mind in unexpected situations.
Interim managers have assignments that last weeks, months or years, but you should realise that there is no guarantee of finding a new assignment right away. Sometimes it takes weeks or even months to find a new assignment.
Tip: Implement some time and space in your financial plan to find the right assignments.
You’re in charge of deciding your workplace, workhours and holidays. Although this is probably one of the reasons you have chosen the freelance life, you should strive for a healthy work-life balance. Working at home is a great advantage, but some people find it difficult to distinguish their work day and leisure time.
Tip: Set clear rules for yourself and stick to them!
Even though you get to meet and work with incredible people, you shouldn’t forget that you are not 100% part of the team. In some companies you won’t be invited to the parties, receptions or teambuilding. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to bond with colleagues or will be excluded, it just means that some companies set rules about the participation of external employees.
Tip: Don’t take it personally! It’s a corporate decision and has nothing to do with their appreciation of your work.
You pay your own training/courses
Keeping up with the field and expanding your knowledge is a must as a freelancer. You can’t get behind if you want to find assignments easily. Sadly, being self-employed means paying for your own training, networking events and congresses. Stay positive and look at it as an investment in your thriving business!
Tip: Make a list of the most interesting trainings and try to fit them into your financial plan.
Being self-employed means taking care of the administration that comes along with running your own business: taxes, social contributions, invoices, keeping track of assignments… Some freelancers don’t mind, others think it’s a lot of work on top of their interim management job.
Tip: Keep in mind that you can outsource your administration to your bookkeeper, accountant or interim management company. This way you get to focus on your most important task: interim management.
Are you convinced about becoming a freelance interim manager? 4P square would love to get to know you!