To start us off, what made you become an independent consultant?
I've had a lot of instability in my career, and it became increasingly clear over time that I didn't fit in the corporate world and just couldn't seem to find the right startup to work for.
Can you give us a peek into your world – who do you typically work with? What does a project look like (in terms of length, scope etc.)?
The type of work that I do varies a lot. I've worked throughout the clean energy space in various types of analytical roles, some of which were focused on working in spreadsheets & databases while others were more about improving systems & processes.
As an example, my main source of work has been with an energy management company that deploys their systems in grocery stores & restaurant chains. I help monitor and analyze their performance and see how they could improve further and integrate with other technologies (solar, energy storage, etc.).
How did you first work to navigate your work into the sector of clean energy companies? How did you decide this was your niche?
I honestly didn't realize how interesting this space was, until I got into it. I knew I wanted to be a field where I could make a positive difference in the world, and I'd probably be best in an analytical role.
What was your inspiration to take that angle and how did you make your first inroads into a space and build a sustainable and growing success track and generate work?
There is still a lot of work to be done in this space and the opportunities for blue-collar jobs (solar installers, electricians, energy auditors, etc.) are clear, but because my work tends to be rather project-based, it can be difficult to know where the right opportunities are and which startups will be successful, especially since larger companies don't tend to work with freelancers.
How do you acquire new clients?
In addition to participating in the Mylance Community, I'm involved in some Slack groups focused on clean energy & sustainability and a few opportunities have come through there.
Other times I am contacting companies that have relevant job openings and pitching them on working with me on a contract / part-time / temporary basis.
How did you go about 'replacing' benefits such as health insurance and 401K?
I've gotten health insurance through the ACA markets and then COBRA plans when I needed to.
I already had an IRA and had setup an SEP IRA but never used it. I have my retirement accounts in Carbon Collective now, and they're supposed to offer solo 401Ks soon.
And finally, how do you define success? What is the telling point that you got there?
I certainly haven't gotten there, but success will be when I have as much work as I want and only doing work that I want to do.
For me, that could be 30 to 50 hours in a given week and being involved in opportunities that make a really meaningful impact.