121: Freelancing in Support with Zeni Bandy

121: Freelancing in Support with Zeni Bandy

Zeni Bandy returns to talk about how freelancing is a great opportunity to both pivot and learn.


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Charlotte Ward 0:12
Hello, and welcome to Episode 121 of the customer support leaders podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward. This week we’re talking about freelancing in customer support. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic. I’d like to welcome to the podcast Zeni Bandy. So Zeni, the topic for this week is freelancing and support. And you’ve had two stints as a freelancer, where did it all begin for you?

Zeni Bandy 0:47
Well, actually, I had a completely different focus from university, I studied environmental analysis and planning in college. And so when I moved out to California, I got a job with the public works and public works department. And I was making maps for them. It was okay, I got pretty boring pretty quickly. And I wasn’t that inspired with the career path as I thought I was going to be. So as a result, I decided to stop and completely rethink what I wanted to do. Someone gave me the idea that I should look online for work. It was something I hadn’t really thought that much about, but I thought it made sense to give it a try. And this was in 2016. So I got into Upwork, one of the most reputable sites with a really large network of contractors and clients. And I found a 10 out of 10 to 15 hour a week role with a bone broth company. And I didn’t know that that was what I wanted to do. It just seemed like an easy job that I could do very quickly, and wouldn’t have to spend a lot of mental capacity on it. While I figured out what I was really passionate about. At the time, I was also working on starting my own company. So it seemed like a good fit because it was in the same industry. And then, after a few months of doing that, I actually became a full time employee and my career blossomed from there.

Charlotte Ward 2:27
That’s awesome. So you say you went full time from being a freelancer? How did you get back into freelancing the second time?

Zeni Bandy 2:34
Yes, that’s a good question. So I moved to Paris in November, two weeks before a huge strike, and then comes COVID. So not the best job market to enter. I also in the process of learning French, so very important language when you’re in Customer Care here in France. And so I decided it made the most sense for me to actually continue to grow and learn by freelancing, while I’m learning French and looking for the right opportunity.

Charlotte Ward 3:04
That’s an interesting point, actually, that freelancing is a learning opportunity in and of itself, isn’t it? You learn so much being out there in the fields so quickly? right?

Zeni Bandy 3:15
Exactly, exactly. And really is a good way to build out your list of experiences. And so when I look for freelancing work, I really spend some time thinking about what my profile is lacking, or what are things that I want more experience and, and so when I’m searching for different opportunities, or different clients, different projects, I’m thinking specifically about the types of skill sets that I’m looking to develop. So for example, I actually took on a client who really need a lot of help with onboarding her clients, and managing her projects. Because even though it’s not directly customer support, it helps me enhance my, my resume, it’s still directly related, even if it’s not traditionally support.

Charlotte Ward 4:04
Hmm, yeah, something of the success overlap there with the onboarding side of things. So that’s really interesting that you seek out clients based on what you want to learn rather than being qualified for what they’re asking for necessarily, I mean, qualified in inverted quotes, but you know,

Zeni Bandy 4:18
yes, yes, it is. It is a different approach. And I think that it is a way to the way that I think about it is I’m getting paid to learn something new, or getting paid. To add more examples of experiences I’ve had once I’m ready to transition to a full time role.

Charlotte Ward 4:42
And I know that in freelancing, you build a lot of transferable skills, and you also have to build the ability to sell yourself and your skills, right. How do you find that balance if you don’t necessarily have a great deal of what that client is looking for already on your resume because you’re looking to add it to your resume with this client.

Zeni Bandy 5:04
Yes. So I have, for example, the one of the clients that I’m working with specifically wanted someone to create a content management system in Asana, and she specifically asked for you too, should create a video to show her once a process that you made an Asana, I didn’t have that available. I have made many processes in Asana, but I haven’t specifically made a content management process for a marketing agency. So what I did instead was I created a video of myself talking about other relevant experience and why I thought it was valuable for what she was looking for.

Charlotte Ward 5:45
That’s awesome. That’s awesome. And just having that confidence to see past what is effectively a shopping list, and understanding what you can bring to it. That’s really, really key actually. And that’s really key for you. That’s really key not only as a freelancer finding clients, but looking for a job as well, right, a full time role.

Zeni Bandy 6:06
That’s right, and it’s positioning yourself as what you can do for them with the skills that you have, instead of what the job is going to do for you and why you want it.

Charlotte Ward 6:20
That’s it for today. Go to customersupportleaders.com/121 for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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