Freelance Voices: Riverflex Freelancers Describe Freelance Life In The Netherlands

This article is the third in my series “Freelance Voices,” a series that celebrates the experience of freelancers in different parts of the world. This article focuses on freelancers in the Netherlands. As a side project to the recent Global Survey on Freelancing that my Agile Talent Collaborative is leading together with Professor Gerald Cupchik of the University of Toronto, I’ve invited platforms in a wide range of countries to ask their freelancers to describe daily life: the work, life, challenges, and the impacts of remote work and Covid-19. For the Netherlands, I’m grateful to the platform members of Riverflex, a fast growing freelance platform with strong digital expertise focused on independent management consulting and interim management. The platform works across Europe and assists global and regional enterprises like Nestle, Ahold Delhaize, and Samsung, as well as a wide range of start-up and SMB clients. While the Riverflex platform combines freelancers from many countries, and has locations in London, Barcelona, and Istanbul as well as Amsterdam, this report focuses on their home-base Dutch freelancers.

Here are Dutch freelance voices from the Riverflex community:

Jeng – Project Manager and Management Consultant “Being a Freelancer is all about having an independent mindset and the freedom and flexibility to choose your own clients and projects. This allows me to focus on delivery quality and adding value to clients, and be less bothered about internal hassles working for a consulting firm. This has improved my work-life balance, which is important being a dad.”

Jonathan – Independent Consultant “Working as an independent allows me to work on only highly relevant challenges without the need to ‘sell’ as much as possible (which is ultimately the aim of traditional consultancies). I’ve learned that’s what I care about most.”

Manuel – Agile Coach and Interim Manager “I just do what I’m good at and I love it! No politics, employees, or employers getting me off my focus. And so nice to finish, take the learnings and start afresh. Covid? Weird to intensively work together for months and leave without ever actually meeting.”

Rahul – Management Consultant “Challenging client problems, project variety and complexity, and freedom to work “my way” are the main reasons I like freelancing. It continuously challenges to come out of my comfort zone and rethink my future direction. Uncertainty of assignments, client acquisition, and language-related barriers are the most significant challenges for a freelancer. Covid impacted me heavily because the pipeline of projects suddenly dried out, but I enjoy being a freelancer and now aiming to grow my network and business.”

Marcel – Interim Manager “Becoming a freelancer was accidental, but it fits me perfectly. It allows me flexibility in what I do and to pick up new skills and experiences along the way. After working remote for over a year I’m now moving towards a hybrid arrangement. This allows more attention to people’s personal preferences whilst making sure the team keeps interacting. One of the good things to come from the past year.”

Mark – Transformation Leader “I started freelancing after my MBA. It enables me to apply new skills and run my own company. Business development is a challenge, which I’ve solved by partnering with another company. The amount of administration surprised me and uncertain T&C’s can be a concern but it’s very satisfying when each invoice gets paid by a satisfied client.”

Sandra – Change Program Manager “Being a Freelancer gives me the freedom to choose when, where and how I work. It allows met to utilize my skills and experience optimally, and helps me to focus on impact and result oriented engagements. The combination of remote work for focus and face-to-face work for engagement is ideal.”

Bram – Cyber Strategy Consultant “The Covid crisis has resulted in more opportunity for independent professionals and networks like Riverflex. Organisations are realizing that freelancers bring experience and value and a competitive rate. Our track record, professionalism and commitment enables us to compete with top consulting firms.”

Bruno – Business Strategist “Being a freelance consultant frees me to carve my own path and grow and learn in directions I choose. There are highs and lows, but in the end, the power to shape your own future, to be able to continuously learn and develop yourself, reflects – for me – the true value of the word freelance.”

Fleur – Transformation, Project and Risk Management Professional “I love the flexibility of freelancing. Uncertainty is part of it, but it only really worried me in the beginning. We’ve now all experienced the ability to work remotely, and more organizations are employing a flexible/ hybrid model, which I personally prefer.”

Rick – Digital Transformation Consultant “Working as an interim provides the opportunity to work for high level companies and ‘make the difference’. It challenges me on an intellectual level. There is always a challenge behind the challenge which gives me the opportunity to develop myself on multiple levels and areas of expertise. As an interim consultant I was used to working remotely for many years. So, Covid-19 did not have a huge impact on my way of working.”

Margriet – Design Sprint Facilitator “Freelancing keeps me on my toes and connects me to others. I work on approximately 20 projects per year with different clients so I’m continuously building relationships. That’s what makes freelancing so worthwhile for me. It pushes me to pay more attention, to be present.”

Pim – Business Agility Strategist “After working at a corporate for over a decade it was time for a change. Freelancing offered me the chance to plan my own agenda, follow my purpose, and help many start-ups to focus and drive sustainable growth.”

Toine – Strategic Purchasing Consultant “As a freelance consultant and interim manager in purchasing, supply chain and operation excellence, I am passionate about helping organisations build a strong team, and define, enroll, and deliver a strategic business objective. It’s a thrill to support organisations in a time of transformation and enrich my professional know-how.”

Linda – Business Consultant “Freelancing enables me to give my best to my clients and to myself. The projects enable me to be creative, cooperative, and do what I do best. Acquisition pushes me to learn, grow, and be uncomfortable. The flexibility enables me to travel, write, and explore other interests. I love it!”

Nardo – Management Consultant “I started Freelancing just a year ago and didn’t realize the impact it had on my professional career. I’ve been able to curate a portfolio of projects that expose me to the industries and problems that form part of the ‘Green Renaissance’ and I couldn’t be more enthralled. I encourage future freelancers: ‘Seek out mentors and take charge of your professional development.’”


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