"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."
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!
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