“I got the Fortune 500 list of companies and I started calling them, like literally cold calling these companies.”
If there’s one way to make an impression, this could be it. And Victor Roy knows how to make an impression.
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A freelancer for the last 20 years, he’s learnt that to succeed in this form of work, you need to be a salesperson, a people person, a problem solver, an accounts manager and above everything: a hard worker.
“I was working in a job, just a 9 to 5 job. I saw that there were other people that were doing contracting and getting paid a lot of money and doing exciting things. And I wanted to be a part of that. And so I've moved into a contract role and haven't looked back since, actually,” he told Yahoo Finance.
An IT worker, Roy’s skills were in demand from the get-go, with a large multinational organisation first taking him on.
Roy then leapfrogged into other similar roles from there.
“[With] the first contract I actually saw an opportunity. There was a large global organisation and they had a specific requirement that I had special skills in. And those skills were in the supply chain space.”
He approached the organisation, telling them he wanted to address the gap. This first contract took him to Hong Kong, and he went on to roll out a number of other projects in other countries.
These roles snowballed into one at freelancer firm, Expert360, which he now uses as a freelancer.
But he couldn’t have done it without being willing to be proactive, and that meant cold calling Fortune 500 companies.
“I had to be a sales guy,” he said.
It pays off: taking home around $1 million a year, for a day’s work, he’ll earn $1,200-$2,000 before tax and insurance.
He doesn’t tend to do less than 50 or 60 hours a week, and sometimes takes on staff to help him complete jobs.
“I generally don't have any gaps between contracts.
“And so if I take time off, I've got to take time off without pay.”
But he says freelancer platforms help him seek out work, so he doesn’t need to cold call Fortune 500 companies.
“I can rely more on the people that I work with and my network as well.”
He took some risks along the way as well. Wanting to have a real go at it, he would travel anywhere in the world to meet with C suite bosses..
“Those meetings ended up taking me and giving me contracts in many different parts of the world, which was exciting.
“There's probably not many people that can say they've seen 40 states of the United States. The 40 States in the US. Or who have worked in more than a dozen different countries around the world.”
Biggest tips for people thinking of freelancing
Roy said his biggest tip is to be able to build up several skill sets.
“In my opinion, one skill is relationship skills and people skills. Being able to talk to different types of stakeholders.”
It’s also important to be able to differentiate yourself in the marketplace.
“Also learn about sales as well, to be able to sell yourself, as well.
“But also I think it depends on the ability to go and chase the business and find opportunities as well. You just can't wait for the opportunities to come to you. Some people say I'm lucky getting lots of contracts. Well, I think the luck comes from the activity.
“More activity, reaching out to your networks, getting in front of people, cold calling, the more chances of getting opportunity.”
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