Many people who read this blog are considering a career in the world of presentation design themselves, I get many questions about how I got to be who I am today professionally.

The answer: it happened somehow over many years, there was no deliberate career planning. Once I was free from a big corporate structure, you can shape the projects you choose to work on. Finding the first projects was hard, and the work I did closely resembled my strategy consulting work at McKinsey.

When you build up your initial base of happy clients, words start spreading and you get increasing freedom to pick those project that interest you. There is a reinforcing loop here: you do your best work in the type of projects you like, which gives you more demand for more projects you like. In my case, I loved presentation design work, and the prize was: more pie.

But. This transformation took years. It required a certain skill base to start off with (10 years of work experience in consulting in my case). At first, you get highly unpredictable income. As a freelancer, you need to like working on your own. A super-specialised freelance business is hard to scale beyond increasing pricing. (See Seth Godin on dumbing down/scaling up, I smarted up and scaled down).