After a long career as a consultant in digital transformation, business development, operations and IT for large corporations, Peter Tamas decided to take the leap into freelancing. Two key factors that guided his choice: the freedom to work on subjects he was passionate about and pricing transparency. This new workstyle also gave him a new-found freedom when it came to spending time with his family and traveling. In this interview, Peter tells us why he decided to become a freelancer and how Malt helped him in the process.
Hello Peter, can you please tell us about yourself and the work you do?
I’m Peter Tamas, a French-Hungarian freelancer. I have an IT engineering degree and an Executive MBA from HEC Paris. I work on projects related to IT, but also business management, sourcing strategy consulting, project management, financial optimization and merger and acquisitions.
You worked as a consultant for a long time, can you tell us about your experience?
I began my career in 1998 as a consultant at Capgemini in Budapest, Hungary. I worked on a variety of projects there: I was a Project Manager and then a Project Director, in charge of business development for several clients in Eastern European markets. Capgemini then transferred me to France to develop the partnership they had built with Cisco. I started there doing a lot of business development and then worked on more tech-oriented projects: application architecture and infrastructures. During my last few years at Capgemini, I worked on issues related to outsourcing and led large transformation projects involving team management.
In 2008, I decided to join one of my previous clients, Schneider Electric, as an internal IT Division Manager. I started working on a transformation project and participated in the creation of a new IT team. After receiving my Executive MBA in 2012, I decided to take on a new challenge at Schneider Electric by creating a Cloud business segment with the likes of Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft.
In 2017, I finally decided to become a freelancer. My first project was working with a German startup in the implementation of business development processes.
And for a little over two years now, I have been working for CACEIS Bank, a subsidiary of the Crédit Agricole Group. I work on different projects related to IT and outsourcing for all CACEIS entities, not only in France but all over Europe and in a range of infrastructure services. More specifically, I’m in charge of negotiating contracts with suppliers, optimizing and improving the level of service and I’m also involved in the financial follow-up.
Why did you leave the ‘consulting world’ to become a freelancer?
I became a freelancer after working at Schneider Electric, where I played a role in the creation of a new division within the company with two American colleagues.
This project reinforced my passion for ‘creating’. But once the team was built, I was worried my job would become repetitive. I felt that I had reached the limit of what I could do at Schneider.
So I started freelancing to offer my services and experience to large groups like Crédit Agricole, but also to help SMEs and small companies grow.
What do you think are the main benefits of being a freelancer?
Freedom: choosing what projects to work on and having my priorities aligned with the clients’, which is not always possible when you are working as a full-time employee. If something doesn’t feel right to me, I can simply stop working on it. I also feel more comfortable in my relationships with clients.
As a freelancer, I can choose to work on projects that allow me to apply my skills and values and have a real impact.
I’ve traveled a lot during my career. I would spend on average seven months outside of France for work. Today, as a freelancer, I spend a lot more time with my family, which is really nice.
But I’m really thankful for the years I’ve spent in consulting firms as they gave me experience. If I had started as a freelancer right away, I don’t think I would have been able to work on such a diverse range of projects. Plus it’s great training to work in different languages and cultures.
How has Malt participated in the development of your career?
I found my first project at CACEIS through Malt. I registered on the marketplace in March 2019, by April I already had several meetings and I started working for the client in May.
For freelancers, it can be difficult to get your foot in the door with large corporations. For most large companies, you generally have to go through the purchasing teams and be referred. Usually, consulting firms are referred to them and end up getting the job. If there hadn’t been contracts between Malt and this type of company, I never would have been able to find the project I did at CACEIS, a subsidiary of the Groupe Crédit Agricole.
Two other benefits come to mind: the first is the pricing transparency. Each week I get calls from consulting firms for projects where I can make 600€ , but I know that they resell the service to the client for 1200€. Today, with Malt, the client AND the freelancer are aware of the rates. We know how much we charge and we know Malt’s commission. This is quite unique on the market.
It’s also really helpful that Malt includes invoice follow-up in the commission. I know many consultants for whom getting paid quickly and not having to worry about retrieving the payment is a real bonus.
What tips can you give freelancers who are considering registering on Malt?
The key is to have a strong profile: describe your past experience in detail and include client feedback at the end of each project. I hear a lot of juniors say they’re disappointed by their lack of project offers in the beginning, but I’m convinced that these offers eventually do come and that the Malt marketplace brings more opportunities and simplifies the search for projects. You also have to consider seasonal peaks: the summer is usually quieter, but offers arrive in September. The same goes for January when companies renew their budgets.
You also have to be very clear about your rates, because the rate posted on the profile can be a barrier for the customer. If there is a clear disconnect between the Average Daily Rate (ADR) the freelancer is asking for and their experience, they will be less likely to get offers, even if they are good at what they do. Everyone can choose their rates, but charging 800€ a day as a junior freelancer isn’t realistic. Having said that, you shouldn’t go to the other extreme and offer a rate that’s too low either.
Malt organizes a lot of training sessions regarding these issues that I strongly advise you to attend. These will help you optimize your profile and position yourself well on the market.