Telling my story as a freelancer #2

Getting the hang of it step by step..

What did I do since my last blog post?

I contacted friends, old colleagues and people I studied with that could lead me to new opportunities. I sent them a short introduction about myself, what I have to offer as a freelancer and asked if they wanted to meet-up for coffee. A lot of them were open to do so and this resulted in great conversations. An old colleague of mine connected me with a company he has worked for, because they had a vacancy for a product owner job.

I prepared myself by looking up the company on the internet and read as much as I could about them. I went there and had multiple meetings with people in different roles. At the end of meeting 3 it was clear that I was a good fit, but they were looking for a product owner for the long run and that wasn’t an option for me. In the beginning I had high hopes, so I was a bit disappointed. That feeling didn’t take long to disappear because my thoughts switched fast to how I could learn from this experience and use those learnings in upcoming conversations.

An important thing I learned is to prepare meetings, do research on the person/company you are going to meet. Write down a personal goal for every meeting you have and try to focus on achieving it during that meeting.

Beside sending people a message, I’ve asked a friend of mine if he could share a message in a chat group at Wework. A founder of a company responded to the message and invited me to WeWork for a talk. So I prepared, went there and spoke with him and a girl that is the community manager at the company. They told me that they have an online platform called Eetclub.nl that is bringing people together to start a “Eetclub” (a club of people interested in going out to eat together). The concept sounded great to me, so we talked a bit more about what my role could be at Eetclub.nl, what kind of food I liked and about a lot of other stuff!

Long story short, they hired me as their new product owner!

The product owner role is not a full time job, for now. Therefore I need to work on side-projects to earn money. The first side-project has been launched last week; the pedicure website of my aunt. I already took care of her old website and told her it could be a good idea to make her website responsive because a lot of people use their tablet or phones to find companies on the web. She liked the idea and we talked about what should be improved. I started to build the website in Squarespace. I did not build the website from scratch because of the following reasons:

1. I’m just not skilled enough to build a website from scratch.
2. The goals of the new website are totally achievable using Squarespace.

I think is really important to understand what you would like to create and then check which tool is the best fit considering time, money and adaptability. Take in mind what your personal goals are and then invest time in learning skills that help you achieve those goals.

The second side project I would like to talk about is a small data analysis project I did. Getting better in Data analysis is one of my personal goals. The person I worked for sent me a lot of excel files filled with important data and asked if I could work with a software tool called Tableau. I installed Tableau and opened it for the first time, it felt a bit like opening Photoshop for the first time:

“This tool has a lot of possibilities but I don’t have any idea where I should start…”

But because, like I said, learning data analysis is one of my personal goals I invested a lot of time into learning to work with Tableau. That investment has worked out well, because I was able to deliver what he was asking and learned a lot about combining spreadsheets, creating visualizations and fact checking the numbers I used with other data sources. I really hope to be able to work on more of these projects.

That’s all for now, my next blogpost will be about:
- Hosting a monthly meetup for likeminded people in Amsterdam
- Managing your financial stuff as a freelancer

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