From the name "Hyper Freelance - ATF model", one might assume that Decathlon is behind this new invention. But no. In fact, I simply took the liberty of adorning the term used by Ben Issenmann (The Hyper freelance model) with a succession of nice technical words as an ending.
After having deconstructed his pyramid of happiness, I take the time today to share with you my interpretation of the ATF, which I will apply to reality in the coming weeks (spoiler: interviews with freelancers +++).
Don't worry, I promise to smooth out your newly raised eyebrows very quickly by detailing this freelance consultant-trainer-creator trilogy whose ultimate goal is to help freelancers diversify their expertise via 3 activities.
1) As a freelance consultant, you work hard.
After having left the world of salaried employment or having jumped headfirst into the void of freelancing, you are now at the helm of your own company: the micro-business. As the only employee, you are both the boss and the employee. Whether you are an illustrator, graphic designer, developer or copywriter, you are also HR director, financial director and responsible for any other task that can make you cringe.
Whatever your job or specialty, you work hard, from morning to night, or even night to morning (we won't judge your coffee consumption). The first few months or years may not rhyme with productivity, or even freedom (you used to dream about it, but once you're in the field, you realize how busy your schedule is. And often, you have no one to delegate to). Nevertheless, you ride this wave of flexibility, learn to set your prices, make your quotes, find interested prospects and turn them into permanent customers.
Every day spent is a lesson, every problem encountered is an opportunity. You test, you grow, you celebrate, and your sense of pride blossoms as the assignments accumulate. Your working conditions are not always easy, but at the end of the day, you know that YOU are the only hero of this amazing custom adventure.
Your skills are your added value and that added value is what you charge. Only sometimes Naval Ravitkan's words (or tweets) can resonate in your frontal lobe, the front part of your brain: “You won't make much money renting your time.”
Like a game of tennis, the ball (i.e. your mission) goes to the opponent's side and comes back to yours (with only a few requests for changes, hopefully).
But here is the problem, the exchanges are multiplying, the challenges too (let's avoid the worst, let's not use the term 'difficulties' or 'problems' and let's keep smiling): lack of inspiration, bad paying customers, procrastination, anxiety, administrative paralysis...
On the road to high-risk freelancing, paved with instability and independence, some of you have learned a lot. In addition to mastering the workings of this entrepreneurial ecosystem, you are now qualified in your field of expertise. So why not talk about it? Why not share them? Why not convert your activity into teaching new freelancers?
2) Freelance trainer, you teach.
Initially, a consultant, the independent worker that you are can sometimes feel cramped. And without even being aware of it, sometimes thorny, sometimes fruitful, your path has undoubtedly strengthened your expertise.
After having burned your wings more than once in laborious situations, you will rise from your ashes as a consultant. You suddenly feel ready to share. You want to work differently and communicate differently.
Plural, the status of coach or trainer greets you and you embrace this new opportunity. Without wanting to voluntarily climb the ladder of freelancing, this evolution naturally turns out to be a new era for you, conducive to professional fulfilment.
In our first blog post, Lucien explained this unplanned transition from freelancer to trainer. At the time, he had been offered the opportunity to intervene to lead no-code initiation bootcamps organized by Contournement. A new status which, for him, was the beginning of Bootkamps 🤩
Like Lucien, you don't work only for one client but for individuals who would like to be guided. Whether it is individual coaching or group sessions, you accompany them on a regular basis. You revisit the "love your neighbor" formula by applying it to your daily life.
Coach or trainer, whatever the term used, you have only one desire: to help. Because on this binary terrain that is life, online or offline, both fertile and hostile, nothing is lost, everything is passed on. Your know-how then becomes your tool, which you make available to your clients so that they can improve, change something in their lives or even find the solution to a persistent problem or behavior by themselves.
But what is certain is that if you are part of this family, then you have as a common denominator this capacity to accompany these different individuals with a lot of objectivity, listening, support, benevolence and enthusiasm.
Passionate and experienced, over the past few years, you have gained maturity and experience. Through signed quotes, conferences, trade shows and other professional meetings, you have built an audience that likes your personality and loves the service you sell.
At the same time, you are most likely still a consultant (at least part-time). If this is the case, your coaching activity indirectly offers you the power to increase your rates as a performer. Despite this increase, the demand answers the call since you have built a real audience. Your community, loyal and eager for new things, is waiting for you.
3) Creator, you become.
In addition to delivering a service and conducting coaching, the freelance trainer lets his or her creative urge win (do you recognize yourself?! 😜). Whether it's your curiosity or your creativity, one of them opens the door to a previously unthought-of path: developing a product. From project to reality, this final step in the hyper freelancer's journey beautifully punctuates the path of the all-around freelancer.
Indeed, with your portfolio, your expertise and your accumulated income, you can now consider investing that professional cocktail in the creation of an object.
Whatever its form, physical product or "productized service", it becomes very quickly independent and allows you to earn money without asking you daily.
Indeed, once conceived, tested with your target customer and launched on the market, your product-service is ready to fly on its own. Its first quality: revolutionary in its own way, it is considered as a product that is as easy to buy as it is to sell, since it has been designed as a solution capable of solving the problem that your future customer has always encountered in the past.
And it is probably this very situation that pushed you to create it: by being a 'victim' of a specific bread point, you have thus developed your productized service with the will to facilitate the daily life of your consumers. An evil for a good as the saying goes! Because let's not forget that behind every difficulty lies an opportunity 😊
Fruit of your work and mirror of your journey as a freelancer-trainer, your achievement reflects who you are, maker at heart, with 1000 new ideas per hour. Moreover, this product-service being in full growth, in addition to generating automatically recurring profits, it offers you the possibility of working on its improvements/evolutions or to create a second one as powerful as the first one.
On my side, after months of freelancing here and there, I realized that it was time to let a personal project (long-buried under my clients' priorities) germinate by launching my product. It probably wouldn't change the lives of French citizens, but I knew deep down that what I wanted to market would brighten the lives of a few interested people. Above all, my product had to illustrate my need for authenticity, for truth, for humanity.
After Come & follow me was born, the opinion of my relatives confirmed this ambition: "Your product is great, but what is even better is what is behind it. It's you, your personality, your character and the way you play with words". It is true that I have always believed in their power, in their multiple meanings and definitions. So much so that I tattooed them on cardboard. Nothing revolutionary you might say. But when the heart is the CEO of your company, everything becomes more important. Because beyond the product, customers buy a philosophy of life, a signature, a soul.
That's why today I manage to sell my black and white posters from Bali, which my Wonderparents post every Wednesday for me. Creativity has no boundaries. Freelance by day, designer by night, I juggle both activities. Nevertheless, I never went through the 'Training' box and although I should never say never, I don't think I'll ever try it. Hiding behind my screen, I enjoy typing 'anonymously' and can't imagine myself teaching 'publicly' my passion for words, rhymes and storytelling.
But who knows, now that I'm working for Bootkamps, I'm not immune to creating my online bootcamp very soon 🙃
In any case, as you will have understood, this model of Freelance All-Terrain is, therefore, a chameleon: free to each one to appropriate it, to reshape it, to test it, to wait, to start again.
But one thing is sure, in order for it to be sustainable, this model only works in mirror mode: it must model the person you are, not the person you would like to be like or the business model you would like to copy.
Don't try to be the best, be unique first. Stand out, be niche, be YOU. Diversify yes, but only if you specialize. The hyper freelance model is demanding and greedy in terms of skills. And you can't master them all perfectly.
Nevertheless, you can take them, train and familiarize yourself with as many skills as possible and then draw the ones that will be useful to you at the moment. The more you have, the more you will diversify your income. You will accumulate multiple activities and identities simultaneously. A permanent balancing act far from easy but this model would not be called 'hyper' freelance if simplicity led the way 💃
To conclude 👋
I'll see you next month to complete this theoretical model with practical cases. Thanks to the 3 people interviewed, we will be able to understand more about what is behind the ATF model with its many faces. Freelance half-consultant half-trainer, freelance-creator only or all three at the same time, they will detail their atypical paths, the logical evolutions (or not) as well as the steps of reflection as to the multiplication of their skills and their use.
A rich and concrete series of interviews that promises to help you identify your added value and make it profitable. Because don't forget that it is what others don't have. It is your essence, the one that will always differentiate you from the competition.