Clarissa van Tuyll

Freelance life stories: Clarissa van Tuyll

Freelance life stories: Clarissa van Tuyll
Clarissa van Tuyll

Clarissa van Tuyll

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In our blog series ‘people like you’, Sweav members share their personal stories. In this episode Clarissa van Tuyll, ex EY VODW, shares hers.

Tell us something about yourself and your background

As the fifth child in a family of six children, our home used to feel a bit like the Weasley's, with always something going on. 

As much as possible, my parents encouraged us to broaden our horizons. Learning practical skills, like how to build a rabbit hutch or repair a roof, but also musical skills - we even have a family band. At school, we were left with no choice other than taking as many and diverse courses as possible. 

In the end, I always appreciated this variety of activities and learning experiences. That is why I joined EY VODW, a consultancy specialized in customer-centric innovation and transformation, after my master in Economics at the University of Groningen. I enjoyed it greatly and spent over 7 years at the Dutch office, before I migrated to Dubai together with my family and continued working at the EY MENA office.

Why did you decide to quit your job?

The main reason was flexibility. Having two young kids, I needed more flexibility to organize my schedule in a way that worked for me and my family. As an independent consultant, I now fully control my own agenda. 

How are you experiencing freelance life?

I feel like the independent consulting life is a journey where you need to explore the workload and types of projects that work best for you. 

During my first project I was part of the team of an established consulting firm working full time. The project was very intense, yet working with the team was a great experience. On other projects I worked part time and directly with clients, allowing me to establish a better work life balance.

Overall, the freedom and flexibility that freelance work provides is a tremendous plus. Doing projects because you want to, instead of because you have to, is a great feeling. I initially missed having colleagues, but the Sweav community thankfully filled this gap for me.

What is the biggest misconception people have about freelancing in strategy or M&A?

For me, it was that it would be too difficult to find projects, especially since my network in Dubai was still very limited at that time. Fortunately nothing proved to be less true, once the word was out, numerous opportunities presented themselves.

What would be your advice for people considering going freelance?

Get in touch with other independent consultants to discover their pros and cons and see how you feel about them. At first, I felt burdened to reach out to others, yet I found fellow freelancers to be extremely helpful and always willing to chat. 

In general I would say: if you want more freedom, a better work-life balance, and aren’t too risk averse; working as an independent consultant is definitely worth considering.

About the author

Clarissa is an independent strategy consultant. She's specialized in design thinking and innovation. She lives in Dubai together with her husband and three kids.

Clarissa van Tuyll

Clarissa van Tuyll

Independent strategy consultant @ Sweav

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