Marketing Consultant Back in Someone Else’s Boat

Freelance marketing consultant Scot French enjoyed being his own boss, but wanted to work for a large organization again.

french-scot158x188Scot French liked the perks of working as a freelance marketing consultant. He worked with nearly half-a-dozen startup technology companies in two years and enjoyed the flexibility and variety of working for multiple clients.

“I was able to have a lot of different experiences,” he said. “Focusing on one job can make work redundant or repetitious. Freelancing made work interesting and exciting. And the autonomy and flexibility was great. It allowed me to spend more time with my kids and coach their teams.”

He also found monetary success, he said. But the honeymoon soon faded. French, who lives in Seattle and had previous in-house experience as a marketing manager at interactive companies, found that work was taking more of his time. While he was free to leave the office during the day, often he’d be back at his desk that night. And, he said, “one of the things I wrestled with as an independent contractor was whether the world needed one more marketing-services organization.”

He also yearned to be back “in the boat,” as he called it. Collaborating with other members of a single team, helping to guide that boat, being a part of that success, French said, was ultimately more important to him than being autonomous. “What it came down to was that I have always wanted to be a part of a team that was building something. And that’s the biggest thing that was missing, and that’s what pulled me back to a full-time job.”

So last summer, French decided that if the right opportunity came along, he would go back to work with an employer.

While French was mulling strategies that would help him transition back to a full-time job, opportunity knocked on his door. One of his clients told him about a new company, Mpire, an advertising optimization technology company that sells to agencies and advertisers and needed someone to do its marketing. “He told me I should get to know this company,” French recalled. “He said they were doing some interesting stuff, and I’d be perfect for them.”

Many of his previous clients were also Mpire clients. So he agreed and accepted a job at Mpire in November. “It was an opportunity to get into a company that I like in a market that I am excited about,” he said. “I am using my ability to hone in and focus and see if I can build this company.”

French said that anyone looking to make the transition from independent contractor to full-time employee needs to keep an open mind when considering opportunities. “You are never sure where great opportunities will come from. And then do your due diligence. Make sure this is the move you want to make.”

But even if you’re ready to give up on being your own boss, do the best work you can for the clients you have. Your reputation is on the line, French said. “It’s so key,” he said. “That’s what will bring you opportunities.”