Freelancer Insides: Marcos Bechelany, Freelance IT Consultant

10.12.2018

Marcos Bechelany is a freelance IT consultant from Brazil. He has been freelancing for over 20 years and has a wide variety of experiences under his belt. His journey is a great example of prioritizing the customer to make for a long-lasting, lucrative freelance career.

Hello, thanks for being here to share your freelancing story with us. Firstly, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what are you up to right now?  

My name is Marcos Bechelany, I'm Brazilian and I live in the city of Belo Horizonte in the state of Minas Gerais. I provide consultancy in ICT matters, manage projects for the development and maintenance of IT products and develop projects for the creation and evolution of new small businesses involving mind mapping, business cases, business models, business plans and business management.

 

What was your inspiration and when did you actually decide to become a freelancer?

Starting in 1991, I decided to work as a freelancer and created my own company to provide consulting and IT application development services. I then created Fleet Maintenance Management software that was a pioneer and very successful and a large number of customers that leveraged my business and sustained it until 2002. In 2002, I received an invitation to provide consulting and systems development services as a legal person in a solid financial organization and I had to make a decision between investing heavily in my company's growth to support the new market competition or connect to an excellent exclusive service contract for several years.

In December 2014 the contract was terminated and again a decision was required and I opted for the freelance model.

 

Was it difficult for you to start freelancing? Could you share with our readers the most important lessons that you have learned on the way?

Yes, it's still difficult. The exact identification of my service niche is being my biggest obstacle to getting projects. I believe that the focus and willingness for the freelance work model is paramount. The establishment of your niche of performance in relation to your professional profile, experience in the subject you are proposing to offer, and the humility to start are important points, among others.

This relationship is something very difficult to identify and has caused me difficulties in getting jobs, because I always expect a very narrow targeting for my services which is rare. I think we should be more elastic in relation to the services requested not to arrest ourselves exclusively in our greater expertise.

I think we should be more elastic in relation to the services requested not to arrest ourselves exclusively in our greater expertise. 

 

What kind of services have your clients asked you to provide? Is there any particular project that you are especially proud of?

From a demand, which can be a business case, an idea of a new venture or product, the implementation of an IT area, the change or evolution of a software, the change or implementation of new processes among others, I elaborate on the project, with all phases of the life cycle and manage its implementation involving the team, users and other stakeholders, using the best practices and tools -  PMBOK, ITIL and so on. 

Challenging and innovative projects are the ones that most excite me, but I feel good working on any kind of project from its origin until its completion, because no two projects are the same, and they require different solutions and a lot of creativity and learning.

A project that gave me great pleasure and personal and professional fulfillment was the bank automation project that changed the level of a small financial institution and put it at the forefront of using state-of-the-art technologies and on an equal footing with the main competitors in the financial market.

 

 

Do you use other freelancers or companies to provide skills that you don’t possess or to delegate tasks that you don’t enjoy that much (accounting, taxes, etc.)?

I am always fully open to these partnerships to complement my work and produce a great result for the client. I seek these partners in my network of professional contacts and also in freelancing sites like freelancermap.

 

Now tell us, how do you find new clients that are interested in your services? Do you mainly work with local clients or are you more active internationally?

I use freelancing sites such as freelancermap and I also use my contact networks, social networks and business networks. I have my own website. I work mainly with local clients, but I am available internationally.

 

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

I make a personalized service and on-demand which allows to offer a great cost-to-benefit ratio. I also offer digital marketing activities and differentiated services according to the needs of the client.

 

 

What is a typical day like for you? How do you manage to balance work and life? Do you use any apps or software to help you organizing yourself?

I start my day looking after my physical and mental health. A quick meditation, a great breakfast, an hour of physical exercise. I started my work with administrative activities, followed the professional activities with the tasks as planned. Pause 2 hours for lunch and short rest with a period of sleep.

Then I begin an afternoon retreat with the professional activities in the planned sequence. I stop at 6:30 pm for dedication to activities with my wife and family, movies, happy hours, meetings with friends, etc.

I take the time to keep updating myself with small online courses, webinars, lectures, face-to-face seminars and technical, professional, social readings, etc.
I also hold periodic meetings with my clients, mostly face-to-face, preferably with prior scheduling.

I use applications like MS PROJECT, Outlook, Google Suite etc.

 

What are you most excited about for your business in the future? Do you ever think about going back to full-time employment?

I have not yet reached my goal as a freelancer; I do not have the financial stability I need. But I see quite encouraging projects for the upcoming future as a professional freelancer.

At that moment I do not think of returning to the status of full-time formal employment. I am quite acclimated to my quality of life and I do not want to lose it anymore.

 

What advice would you give someone who is looking to start as an IT consultant?

  • Initially define the nature of IT services that you have the maximum knowledge and experience - the IT area is very broad.
  • Maintain continuous knowledge among the subjects connected/integrated in some way to focus your consultancy.
  • Update your portfolio with the lessons learned from each new job.
  • Prioritize ethics, quality and respect for the commitments made with clients; they  are the guarantee of new work.

 

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

Stay focused on pursuing your personal and professional goals.

 

Where to find Marcos

Marcos Bechelany Freelance IT Consultant
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