So I started as a freelancer product owner #1

It’s harder than I thought.

Whats my background?

Studied Communication and Multimedia Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam. Did my internships at companies that create websites, web applications and mobile apps. I’ve worked as UX designer, junior project manager and at my previous job I’ve worked as quality manager for 2 years. At this company I was responsible for the quality insurance for multiple apps at the same time for small and big clients like VGZ, Schiphol, Heineken and Dubai. The company is called M2mobi and they are a great bunch of people that deliver great products.

So why did I quit and wanted to start as a Freelancer?

I was done working as a quality manager. Being part of a team was awesome but most of the time i was working at the end of the process. Now it’s time to put together my experiences into being the product owner for a team. This way I’m part of the whole proces by creating a clear vision for a product and translate the requirements from stakeholders. By being a freelancer I can choose my own projects/companies to work with instead of working for a company that decides on which clients you need to work for the upcoming months. When a project or a company has my interest I can work twice as hard and deliver more.

Why do I think its hard?

As a starting product owner you’re not able to compete with the experienced product owners. When a bigger company is recruiting for a new product owner they demand that you have over 3–5 years of experience as a product owner, so that’s a no go for now. At small companies the role of product owner isn’t there yet because the founder is most of the time taking that role. He or she has an idea about their product and decides what is the best way to create that product.

So where do I fit in?

I could fit in a company that is growing rapidly where the founders are not able to be hands on the product anymore. A company that is ready to make the next step, getting more users and expanding the possibilites for their awesome product! Where a team is hacking everything together but now needs to professionalize into a great working agile team. Thats where I fit in as a product owner.

It’s harder than I thought but thats also the good part, I learned a lot already!

From day one I was texting old friends of mine to catch up for a coffee and talk about what they are now doing. This was good, some people are freelancing themselves.

They told me to call recruiters and let them know what you are looking for. In the first month I received multiple calls for freelance jobs at bigger companies. It were great opportunities but in the end they all thought I was not experienced enough for the job. No worries, I tried and understand that working as a product owner at a big company is maybe too early for me now.

My next step was to call friends of mine that work at a co-working spaces like WeWork and .B Amsterdam and Rockstart. We had lunch and I asked if there were companies at those spaces were I could fit in. They introduced me to start-ups that were growing fast. This was great, one of the companies founders asked: “Good to meet you dude, could you do a pitch about yourself?” Not prepared at all I did my pitch and told about my experiences, my skills and what’s important for me in my new job. They loved it and made time to explain their product to me, after that conversation I was asked to sent my CV and they will contact me in the beginning of April. I was really excited after that experience!

So from now on I’m trying to set-up meetings with people to just talk about what I’m looking for in a company and talk about what they are doing instead of mailing and then hoping on a response. Beside that I’m also thinking to get my Agile certificate for being a Product owner. Not sure where though.. If you have one let me know where you earned it?

Are you a founder that has a rapid growing start-up that could use a product owner? Let’s get in touch:

Info@stijnvvilsteren.me 
https://nl.linkedin.com/in/stijnvanvilsteren