How I Made It: Partha Roy

Tell us a little bit about why you decided to embark on a freelance career!

It started with a challenge to nudge the status quo of a great job profile, an able team of peers and subordinates who ensured my winning within a structured framework that was evolved and streamlining through million transactions. The hunger was to be out of my comfort zone and fight for the basic instincts to be the fittest amongst the rest. The underline urge was to be market-relevant till the age of 65 years. There was always a restlessness to explore new avenues at your wish and will, which was a challenge all the time while being a part of a large corporate with well-oiled processes & systems. Didn’t have a large corpus to splurge or a financier to build a great idea, hence thought of doing something which is debt-free. What better than applying the learnings for solving business challenges across industry segment.

What do you wish you knew when you first started out that would have helped you?

I wish I had mastered the art of assessing the trustworthiness of the other party. 

Are there some freelancing pros and cons that you think people perhaps don’t realise?

Being a freelancer & practitioner of a certain skill, the customer expects you to be an expert on the subject with a relevant business understanding of the respective or related industry. You need to be always a part of the solution rather than the problem. You need to be a good listener to understand the issue/ problem and moderate as a catalyst to consider all stakeholders PoV before co-creating the solution rather than proposing off the self. The proposed frame of solution should ideally be developed keeping in mind the organisation’s constraint on the skill, finances, and risk appetite. A freelance needs to always remember to win the trust of the change-maker within the customer organisation. The solution should address the WIFM of all stakeholders.

What is it you still struggle with as a freelancer, if anything?

It’s always a challenge to hold your fort being a one-man army while negotiating with a multi-layered customer organisation, as you lose levers to maximise the commercial benefits before bagging the order. Also, you are responsible for managing the contracting till the collection process, which takes considerable mindshare of yours, at times compromising your creativity at the delivery stage. There is always a stress to build an opportunity pipeline and converting the same at an appropriate time to ensure a steady flow of market engagement. So the biggest struggle is scalability. 

What resources have you found useful as a freelancer?

Skills in process documentation, data crunching, and PowerPoint presentation to an enterprise.

Are there areas, you would like support but haven’t yet found anything useful?

I believe platforms like Freelancers network and a successful engagement model for GTM strategy, would make a synergy to scale up offerings and prospects. 

Any other top tips to people thinking about going into freelancing?

  • Shift 1: Baseline your sustainability need – social & financial. This would make the initial foundation for casting an achievable target
  • Shift 2: Get out of a consistent revenue  mindset, there would be phases of rainfall & drought ( as is relevant for any business)
  • Shift 3: Feel lucky to have met a prospect, and presume you have only one chance to floor him with your solution. You have very little time to create a spark in customers’ minds, maybe initial 20-30 mins. Be open, listen carefully, infuse creativity to set a differentiation in solution, project extempore- which becomes the reason for you to be hired
  • Shift 4: Restrict quoting how you delivered at your old organisation, unless asked by the client. Instead, push for co-creation to have early buy-in from customer org.
  • Shift 5:  Be proficient in people management skills as your solutions would be successful only if the line managers believe and trust you.

What would you do differently from Day 1 if you could time travel? 

I have no regrets, felt all the hick-ups and failures were a part of my learning to perfect the next stride, and I am thankful for the experiences which help me become more agile and resilient.