How to improve your work-life balance as a Microsoft Dynamics contractor
It is all common sense but we are all guilty of ignoring some of the rules below which means that finding good projects and/or spending time with your loved ones could be more difficult. Here are our recommendations of how to improve your work-life balance as a Microsoft Dynamics contractor:
- Quit your job with style – If you are currently in full time employment and thinking of setting up on your own, don’t burn your bridges. You never know, you might work with these people in future.
- Research your market – Don’t claim too much expertise and spread yourself too thinly (i.e. I am a Microsoft Dynamics CRM consultant and expert across all industries). It is tempting but you will have less credibility if you do this. Decide on which niche, markets and customer segment you want to target. Follow the demand – find out where the opportunities are even if it takes extra time for courses or online research. Is there a new version that people are deploying? Are there similar legacy Dynamics products/versions (SL, C5, C4, etc.)? What are the growth industries and are there any vertical add-ons or ISVs that you need to be familiar with? It will pay off really well!
- Build your profile – It is good to have an up-to-date CV but the least you can do is note down what differentiates you in terms of skills and background. If you aren’t clear about what value and experience you bring, how would the customer know?
- Know your price – Find out what a realistic daily rate is (check customer adverts for similar projects): too low and you will not be taken seriously; too high and you will not be competitive.
- Learn to say No – Don’t accept any project just because you don’t have another option at that particular moment. If you commit to a customer/partner and don’t deliver, it could turn into a bad reference for you. Be patient and search for another opportunity.
- Enjoy the projects you take on – Do your best to impress the company that hired you as a contractor as they could extend your project or refer you to another customer. Go to work with a big smile on your face, be positive, blend in with the permanent employees, agree the measures for your success, and clearly communicate your project progress with the management team.
- Don’t get upset about politics – There are politics in every organisation but the good news is – it’s not your problem! You are “in and out” so shouldn’t really care! The only thing that matters is that you do a good job.
- Have fun if you aren’t billing – Some people do contracting for just a few days a week. Many make the mistake of spending the rest of the week in front of the computer, doing all kinds of work that is not chargeable and then regretting not having time for anything else. If you aren’t billing the customer you should only use the time for fun, advancing your career or looking for another project. Don’t waste your time – it’s precious! Go out on your bike, learn to play the guitar or meet up with long forgotten friends. When was the last time you were able to do that?
- Ask for recommendations – When you do a good job for a customer/partner, make sure you communicate it internally and externally, ask for their rating and a recommendation. You’ll need it for your next project.
- Have a well-deserved break – Clear your mind in between projects or between phases. You need to change your mind set – your work should be chargeable so when you are on holiday do not do any work! Also, you are earning lots more now so you can take a very long break! Your family and loved ones would really appreciate all this new free time you have for them.
We are launching 365 Freelance (www.365freelance.com) this month so hopefully we’ll make your next project search a very easy process.