Maria Guzman - SAP Consultant from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

This week's freelancer insides interview is with Maria, a freelance SAP IM PS Consultant with over 8 years of experience! Check out how Maria started freelancing, whether she'd ever go back to full-time work, and the biggest lessons she's learned from freelancing.

Maria Guzman
 

1) Hello María, thanks for participating in our freelancer insides series. First of all, can you tell us bit about yourself?

Yes, of course! I am Argentinian and 49 years old. My University degree is Public Accountant and I also have a Bachelors in Administration. I began my SAP career as SAP IM PS Consultant being a PWC’s employee in Buenos Aires, Argentina, since September 1998.

After 4 years, I became an SAP IM PS freelance consultant after an interesting offer for an assignment for a telecommunications client abroad. After living abroad for close to one year and finishing my assignment, I returned to my country Argentina and kept being assigned to different local clients, some of them with worldwide presence (different industries: like Engineering and Construction, Energy, Oil and Gas, Telecommunications…) Even now, I am facing new challenges, because this market (SAP market) is moving forward constantly.

2) What made you decide to enter into the SAP field? What was your academic background and how did your career start?

I decided to enter into the SAP field because I had experienced an ERP implementation (JDE) in the company I was working for at the time, and was fond of the tasks related to similar projects. I wanted a change too, and when PWC took mine we began the selection process around the SAP field.

3) What exactly made you decide to jump into freelancing?

The interesting offer I received to work abroad for an international client.

4) What kind of services have your clients asked you to provide?

They were always related to my area: SAP IM P- around project processes. My services have included implementations, upgrades, improvements, support. I do often work with local clients but I’ve also been working with international clients remotely.

5) What does your typical work day look like? Do you work a normal “9 to 5”, Monday until Friday?

Well, it depends on the assignment. Sometimes I work longer hours, and sometimes it’s 9 to 5. Oher times I also need to work on weekends.
 

“Sometimes I work longer hours, and sometimes I enjoy waiting for the next project – I try to balance work and life as much as I can!”


It all depends on the current project. Some assignments are more flexible and allow you to organize your schedule as you wish. Then I can split my workload and work less some days or not the complete week.

And when there is no assignment and I have to wait for the next project, I enjoy that time-off of not working! I try to balance work and life as much as I can!

6) Now tell us, how do you find new clients that are interested in your services?

I take great care of my connections and network. I try to keep in touch with my past clients so that they don’t forget about me! One of the best tools I know for this is LinkedIn. I find this social media network very useful to grow my professional network. I also try to stay up to the date on the news in my niche.

7) Could you cite one thing that you learned in your professional life that surprised you?

Yes, how people adapt and overcome all kinds of situations (also those you thought you couldn’t deal with). Not just on a professional level, but on a private.

On the other hand, I've also realized how the world is constantly changing (that fast!), and that obviously this forces people to change, too.
 

“I’ve learned how people adapt and overcome all kinds of situations – not just on a professional level, but privately too.“

8) How do you set yourself apart from your competitors? What makes you special?

I think that honesty is my strong point, among others, and the service characteristic I have naturally to teach and be patienct enough to teach people to learn SAP.

I am always trying to work in a team basis, despite it being a big challenge, because you may not always be working with easy going people. 

9) What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting a freelance career? And what does it takes to be successful as a freelancer?

I think that the secret is to work hard, stay updated, not forget your clients, and always try to be an honest person.
 

“The secret is to work hard, stay updated, and always try to be an honest person.“

10) What are your future plans? Would you like to continue freelancing or to switch to full time employment?

My future plans are to find a new assignment, because now I am in the period of actively looking for new challenges. I do sometimes think about changing to a full-time position, but it would be a huge decision because the freelance lifestyle always seduces me!

Freestyle! Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?

I would like to add, that this way of working can bring you lots of benefits, BUT also RISKS that you have to face, and all of them are on your side. Be aware of this!

Where to Find Maria:

LinkedIn
 

Would you also like to be interviews in our "freelancer insides" series? Send us an email to info@freelancermap.com with the subject "freelancer insides" and shortly describe your services, experiences, and status!
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