TJ Blease is a graduate of our Bootcamp, and a freelance consultant with expertise in marketing and brand business development, specifically within the technology, media, and entertainment industries.
We had the chance to connect with TJ and 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: Like many others in the Mylance community, I started my career at Uber, as a coordinator in 2014. I started at the bottom, and was the guy bringing sandwiches and coffee to the team. As Uber grew, so did my opportunities. I developed my professional foundation throughout the organization’s marketing, operations, and strategic partnerships spaces.
After being impacted by COVID-19 related layoffs in May 2020, I decided to take control of my career as a freelancer. I was looking for more freedom, flexibility, and ability to dictate my own terms. I wasn’t sure where to start. I wanted to explore freelancing, and I needed guidelines. So, I joined Mylance’s June 2020 Bootcamp Cohort. It was exactly what I needed. Mylance leaders had been there before, had gone through what I was going through, and it didn’t blow up in their face. Also, I joined a community of peers who were on a similar journey.
Mylance has given me so much. I was struggling to hone my niche and used the Bootcamp’s prework modules to help clarify and articulate the specific value that I can bring to his clients.
Q: What are your top freelance consulting accomplishments?
A: I remember two particular engagements that were formative experiences for me:
- I worked with a media agency to help develop an Esports and Gaming strategy. As an area of personal interest, I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to learn more about something I love to learn about.
- I helped a client set up a referral program that not only increased revenues and purchases, but also resulted in tangible changes to customer engagement across the product ecosystem.
Q: What have you learned from your freelance consulting experiences?
A: Focus on the person signing your checks: While working with one client, I mistakenly believed that the person I was working with day-to-day was in charge, and as long as they were happy, the company would extend my contract. In the end, the founder was the one signing my checks and, given he wasn't familiar with my work, he chose not to extend my contract once budget cuts went into effect. I now send consistent progress reports and status updates to the person signing my checks because, at the end of the day, they are my client - not necessarily the person I work with most closely.
Feed your pipeline, even while you’re busy: Even though I have no bandwidth today, I need to proactively reach out to my network. BD is an all-season sport!
Q: What else would you like to share?
A: I love the support aspect of Mylance, and I am always looking for more of that. It’s great to not feel so isolated as a freelancer. I love to hear different stories and learnings from the community.
With the help of Mylance, I am currently exploring an exciting full-time opportunity with a VR/entertainment firm that has grown out of my freelancing work, but even if I take it, I will always structure my contract such that I can continue freelancing on the side.
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