Andrew Mang is a graduate of our September Bootcamp cohort. His consulting areas of specialty are in strategic growth management, partnership relationship development, and navigating challenging and unique business situations.
We had a chance to connect with Andrew to learn more about his freelance consulting journey.
Q: Share with us why you made the decision to become a freelance consultant. Also, why did you choose to invest in your career with Mylance?
A: I came to Mylance looking for ways to better position myself and find new opportunities. I value the community’s network of professionals and love that it has become my daily colleague support network in a field that usually lacks such intimacy.
Mylance offers me an opportunity to take full ownership of my time. For most people, days are taken up by a job where they have little control or discretion over what they do, and how they do it. As a freelancer, you have total control. Once you start making enough to pay rent, save, and be comfortable, you are free to indulge any other ideas you have. It’s a very cool way to live your life. I don’t think I’d go back [to a full time job]. Why would I?
As freelance consultants, we get to use the word “and”. Many people use “or” in describing what they want in life. But as a freelancer, I can work enough to pay bills AND do something that’s interesting, AND have a robust personal life outside of work to pursue other passions.
Q: What are your top freelance consulting accomplishments?
A: I fondly recall two significant moments in my freelancing career:
- I have been working on an independent platform to help others share their stories in a way that is meaningful and impactful. It all started when I got chased out of a soccer stadium by an angry mob in Uganda. Thinking this story was too good not to live on, I wrote a blog post about the experience. Someone in my network found it and asked me to write blog posts on behalf of a large firm - noting that I “seem to know what I’m doing when it comes to writing.” This has grown into a significant partnership and a new niche.
- During the Bootcamp, I worked with my pod to brainstorm how to best expand an existing SOW into a wider engagement. With an existing client, I proactively identified an area of the business outside my existing scope that had several business inefficiencies. I fondly recall telling the client, “I think I just saved you hundreds of millions of dollars.” The client came back to me after validating the work and said, “Andrew, you changed our business.”
Q: What have you learned during your freelance journey?
A: Freelancing has been a liberating experience - not just in my personal life, but in how I work professionally. When you’re a freelancer, you’re a free agent, you can move around, and do different things with different people; that’s freedom you don’t have as an employee at a large organization. When you’re a consultant for an organization, you come in as an outsider and you’re valuable because you don't have prior assumptions.
Q: What do you do with the extra free time?
A: I am currently engaged as a pro-bono consultant for the National Academy of Engineering, assisting with COVID-19 response planning. Beyond that, I hang out with friends, grab coffee with other startup founders to bounce ideas off of each other, and generally just kind of do what I want.
Q: What is something you didn’t realize before freelance consulting?
A: As your career develops, it’s easy to look at yourself and doubt your abilities. The one thing I’ve started to realize is how much I know that others don’t. You don’t always realize the value of your knowledge until you’re in a conversation with a client who doesn’t have the same knowledge. It is very enlightening to realize there are organizations that I can bring value to, and I would never even have considered as within my area of expertise.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
A: Freelance consultants must overcome imposter syndrome and the “freelancer block.” This is a new thing for me. It’s a learning process. I’m always getting better, or trying to. Keep going. If you are wondering, “Where do I go next?”, start by reintroducing yourself to the community. There are lots of people in the Mylance community. You never know what’s going to come!
Ready to launch your freelance consulting career like Andrew?
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