BTG CEO Jody Greenstone Miller sat down with the Gig Mindset podcast (Listen)—hosted by Microsoft’s Paul Estes and Bruce Bracken—to discuss how companies can better tap into high-level independent executives, and why there are more six-figure freelancers today than ever before.
Here are our favorite moments:
“One of the things that’s really helped is that, over time, people know great people who have done this for a while, and that really changes things.”
The potential for companies who tap into the independent talent marketplace is huge, according to Miller. She argues that innovation is fundamentally driven by how many “at-bats” a company has, and deploying independent talent allows a firm to significantly increase how many times they tackle a problem.
And all of this starts with hiring that first freelance consultant.
“You start by showing you can bring in somebody here, you can bring in somebody there. ‘Oh, that worked? Let’s do that again,'” she said. “Companies who are facing talent gaps, in part because of the baby boomers retiring and because millennials don’t want to work the way their predecessors did, they are going to have to dip into this pool. And the companies that do it the soonest and get it down are going to have a huge competitive advantage.”
“Nobody any good could be an independent consultant. That’s the number one myth that I need to burst.”
Miller told Gig Mindset that she finds this myth particularly pernicious because it is both false and also makes it more challenging to convince companies and executives to engage with the independent talent marketplace.
“I think, more and more, the best people are everywhere, and you’ve got to learn how to access them and find them,” she said. “You look at other industries where there’s been a move to a freelance mode. Take sports, take Hollywood. What happens in those industries is that the very best people are there because they can actually command a greater compensation because it’s a free market. I think you see a lot of that in the tech industry and I think you see more and more of that in the professionals that we deal with.”
“I like to joke that everybody I meet is either talent or client and most people will be both. Clients become talent, talent becomes clients, it’s the way of the world.”
Miller commented that most people find themselves evolving from doing work to managing work in the course of their careers, but the independent marketplace often allows these individuals to return to their roots.
“I think a lot of the reason some consultants, in particular, go into the independent market is that as you go up the ladder in a consulting firm, you don’t get to do the projects anymore,” she said. “What you do is you get clients. You’re going to manage a different group of people to deliver the strategy or whatever the project is. [Those consultants] miss doing the work because that’s what they went into consulting for in the first place. So, in some ways, when they come into the independent market, they’re coming back to do the work they like to do.”
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