The freedom of a freelancer combined with the support of a company, that treats you like a permanent employee. Thanks to this ideal combination, Bjorn Conjaerts is feeling great as an agile consultant for Equalminds. Discover how a freelance agile consultant gets the best out of his job!
Actually, Bjorn Conjaerts is an engineer with a major in computer-aided design. During his thesis, he opted for a subject in IT development. “It was very different from what I had learned during my engineering education,” he says. “However, I immediately developed a passion for it, still until today.” Besides development, Bjorn has another passion: people. “These are two elements (with a focus on the latter) which a scrum master and later an Agile Coach knows how to combine and masters,” he says.
Bjorn has been working in the field of IT development for almost twenty years. He started as a developer, to continue in the field of Project/program management. After that, he grew as a scrum master into Agile coaching and training today. “But most of all I need the constant challenge,” he says. “That’s difficult to find in a permanent role within one company. For someone who wants to have a lot of variety and to constantly discover new things, a job as a freelance consultant is perfect. I started with it as a side occupation.”
But Bjorn eventually found the company of his life within Equalminds. They allow him to grow, experience new and different things and switch jobs when they become a routine. He meets a lot of different people and challenges. He currently works as a Product Owner and Agile Coach for the Digital Experience group within Toyota Motor Europe. There he guides and coaches teams working on the Toyota and Lexus mobile app.
The best of two worlds
Bjorn is a freelance consultant but he works for different clients of Equalminds. That way, he combines the best of two worlds. “As a freelancer, you’re on your own. I’m my own boss, I can choose how I do my job, how often I take vacation…At the same time, the variety of projects allow me to find the challenges that are so important to me. Moreover, I have the freedom to work not only for Equalminds but also pursue other passions with other customers. As a freelancer, I like to maintain that position above all.”
But thanks to Equalminds, Bjorn can also avoid some disadvantages of the freelance status. “Many freelancers are afraid that they would suddenly be out of work. And thus always have to keep their eyes open to find the next assignment. Thanks to Equalminds, I don’t have that concern.” Bjorn works for Equalminds and thus not directly for Equalminds’ customers. “This puts me in a totally different position in terms of (legal) administration,” he explains. “Working for Equalminds, I don’t have to deal with legal constraints, contracts, and negotiations with the end customer. That makes my administration a lot easier.”
Putting people in the center
In his role of freelance agile consultant/coach, Bjorn finds the ideal combination of IT development and working with people. “For me, it’s mainly about the change process,” he says. “It comes down to reacting to change, quickly and correctly.” The roles Bjorn is taking up might smoothly overlap sometimes. But he probably feels best as an agile coach. “I find it really fascinating to guide people and to make them perform and communicate better. Someone can learn technical skills. While for the development of soft skills, you partly build on what is already inherently present in someone. This makes every project/team unique.”
This attitude immediately appealed to Bjorn when got in touch with Equalminds. “The average consultancy agency is thinking in terms of profit margin. At Equalminds, the employees occupy a central place. We really think in function of the individual itself. And yes, the freelancers are also part of it. Equalminds considers all employees in the same way. Regardless of whether they are in permanent employment or work as a freelancer for the company.”
Freelancers are welcome!
It’s not surprising that Equalminds welcomes a freelance agile consultant. “Especially project managers, agile coaches, and analysts like to work on a freelance basis,” Bjorn explains. “These roles require a certain seniority and specialization.” Moreover, these ‘wanted’ profiles are hard to find on the market. “Therefore, Equalminds adopts a very pragmatic attitude. Do they prefer to work for us on a freelance basis? In that case, we would like to leave that option open. I’m the best example of it.”
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