Fifteen years ago, Jan Daniels from Kalmthout left his stable HR job in a petrochemical company behind for an uncertain existence as freelancer. Today he provides human resources services for SMEs. “The extra support is a boon to company directors who only have time for human resources during the weekend.”
fter fifteen years as HR manager on the payroll of companies such as IKEA, GTI Belgium, and Borealis, Jan Daniels decided the time was right to stand on his own two feet. In 2001, he founded his own business with sole proprietorship, called Secans Consulting, and since then he has been freelancing with his HR knowledge and expertise.
“A lot of people said I was mad to leave my well-paid job at a petrochemical company to start my adventure on the market. After all, I had three kids.”
But it’s a decision he’s never regretted. He had steady work and being self-employed has many advantages. “It’s the feeling of being your own boss, working for yourself, and deciding who you want to work with. That really makes it worthwhile for me.”
Jan Daniels was a pioneer when he started as interim manager more than a decade ago. For the last two years, he’s been focussing on SMEs. “That’s a market with many opportunities. Plus, I’m able to align my assignments with my personal values even more. The extra support is a boon to company directors who only have time for human resources during the weekend.”
The less interesting aspects of being self-employed do not outweigh the benefits, but they do exist. “My work schedule depends to a great extent on the needs of my clients; I can’t just take off on holidays when I want to. And when one assignment is finished, there isn’t always a new job waiting.”
Jan Daniels has a few tips for anyone who wants to become a freelancer.
“Think carefully about what you want to do, for which clients, and how you are going to do it. And make sure you have a good accountant. But don’t think too much. The time will come when you just have to take the leap.”