How risk professionals can pursue flexibility, independence and happiness

A risk specialist living the dream

I had an interesting phone call with one of the risk specialists on MEETIG8. MEETIG8 is Australia’s first online marketplace for risk, compliance and audit freelancers.

This risk specialist recently pitched to a financial services company to help them build a compliance management framework for some ASIC regulations. When I spoke to him, he was busily but excitedly working on the proposal for this client.

Here’s the little story that made the concepts of ‘flexibility and work-life balance’ hit home for me.

A short story about true flexibility at work

He shared with me that he’s never felt this freedom and flexibility before, having done some 30 odd years in full-time permanent employment in the financial sector. He keenly went on and shared with me what he did that day with the proposal!

Shortly after breakfast, he started doing some research for the proposal, worked hard at it for a couple of hours, then went for a coffee break. He came back to it after a nice brew (coffee of course!) and continued working till lunchtime. After a satisfying home cooked lunch, he worked on the proposal some more and then, because the weather was nice and sunny outside, he did some gardening (therapeutic!). By the time he enjoyed afternoon tea, he was 90% done with the proposal. And by evening time, before dinner, he was done! He sent me an email that night with the proposal to take a look and he was pretty much ready to send it to his client.

(Did I mention the nap he took after lunch?)

 

After we spoke and hung up, I pondered on that interesting call we had and thought … perhaps this is the kind of flexibility that people are truly after. And the real importance of prioritising their lives and maintaining good balance in life and work. I thought … it must have felt rewarding for him having achieved the work he’s set out to do and still managed to squeeze in a good dose of personal stuff that he wanted to do as well.

This is one story out of many, I am sure, of people who want that freedom and flexibility to live a life that they find fulfilling and balanced. Work isn’t everything, I’ve learnt.

Of course, this is not for everyone. But, I figured it could suit a number of different types of people groups.

Flexibility really tugs at the heart of us professionals all the time

Since our marketplace MEETIG8 launched in January, I have had so many coffee meet-ups with people who spent a number of years in a risk, compliance or audit capacity in various industries. Most of them were considering freelancing and “going independent”. The reasons they cited were pretty much along similar lines:

  • Want more flexibility, so I can spend more time with my kids (e.g. I can do the drop offs and pick ups, etc) and be part of their everyday lives … and still work and contribute.
  • Want more flexibility, so I can pursue my interests or a business idea outside of work.
  • Want more flexibility, so I can squeeze in a few months of travel every year and see more of the world!
  • Done my years in the industry and had enough of the politics and bureaucracy. Time to leverage my experience and skills and work for myself. And build a good personal brand and a steady stream of work.

How online marketplaces can make a flexible work-life … a reality

Online marketplaces have experienced, what I’d term, a phenomenal growth and substantial uptake in the last five years. It started with marketplaces such as Uber, Airbnb, Deliveroo and Airtasker, … , and now it’s come to the services industry (including professional services).

“The MEETIG8 marketplace provides a fantastic ‘platform’ for people wanting to transit into a more flexibile work arrangement and lifestyle.

Or simply it’s for people with the risk and compliance expertise looking for part-time or contract work, so they can lead more flexible and free lives, and lead to more happiness!”

Who can benefit from working in an online marketplace?

I thought I’d share my views here on four people groups who can really benefit from being part of an online marketplace for professionals:

  1. Women who want to return to the workforce after having children but really want the flexibility, so they can maximise the time they spend with their kids and still have a great career. (Someone mentioned to me this week that MEETIG8 will be such a great option for “women in risk” who plan to return to the workforce)
  2. Highly experienced professionals who had done many years in the industry and want to ease into semi-retirement and start building a clientele and good stream of work that can progress right into semi-retirement. This gives them the freedom to enjoy being semi-retired and also a good level of work to keep these folks adding value to organisations using the skills and experienced they’ve gained.
  3. Millennials (and Gen Y professionals of course!) who have spent a few years in the workforce and want the flexibility to do stuff outside work (like travel, start their entrepreneurial journey, etc)
  4. Independent risk specialists who’ve been working on their own, relying on their own personal brand to get work. A marketplace like MEETIG8 offers one brand that the independents can get behind and group up. Life can be lonely being an independent … being part of a marketplace enables sharing, networking, and encouraging one another in their journeys!

A great story in the SMH last week about flexibility, innovation and family

In the Sydney Morning Herald (“SMH”) last week, I came across a fantastic story about how a working professional achieved true flexibility by becoming a ‘virtual lawyer’ and reaped the benefits of being able to work from home, spend quality time with the children and deliver fantastic work for clients that is cost effective. A triple-win for the professional, family and clients! You can read the story here.

Marketplaces can be more than marketplaces!

MEETIG8 aims to be more than a marketplace. From May 2017, MEETIG8 has started hosting events such as networking meetups to create community for independent risk specialists and professionals from boutique advisory firms.

“It’s really about building a community with like-minded risk specialists who operate on their own or in a small boutique firm.

Over time, we will be building a knowledge bank of best practices in risk and compliance.”

 

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