Jean-Charles Varlet (Creme de la Creme): "It’s totally possible to become a freelancer later in your career"

Jean-Charles Varlet is the founder and CEO of Creme de la Creme, whose function is to connect freelancers to companies. He spoke to Leaders League about how freelancing is no longer just in vogue among younger workers, and can be equally suited to those in their 40s and 50s.

Posted mardi, juillet 11 2023
Jean-Charles Varlet (Creme de la Creme): "It’s totally possible to become a freelancer later in your career"

Leaders League: It’s generally assumed that freelancing is a young person’s game. How do you view this statement?  
I co-founded Creme de la Creme in 2015, back when I was still a student at Essec. Convinced that a paradigm shift was taking place in the world of work, I could see that the young generation were driving a freelance trend. Today, 59% of Gen-Zers actually prefer working freelance to being a company employee, a fact that served to confirm my hypothesis from eight years ago.

What about older workers?
It is absolutely vital you are an expert in your field if you are to make it as a freelancer. Your business client needs someone who knows how to operate efficiently from day one because they are paying for experience and expertise. That said, you are not going to achieve success overnight when you switch to freelancing. You have to pay your dues in different posts and ideally have acquired a certain level of seniority. When one is more senior, retraining generally goes smoothly, therefore it’s totally possible to become a freelancer later in your career.    

A freelancer needs to know how to showcase and sell their expertise

Moving from an office environment to a freelance existence is not for everyone. What qualities do you need to succeed?
I would agree that freelancing doesn’t suit everyone. You need to know how to showcase and sell your expertise, as this untethered existence can be destabilizing for the uninitiated. What’s more, while the idea of freedom to choose your own hours, place of work and clients is certainly enticing, you must be extraordinarily disciplined, which requires time management and logistical ability. Nobody is there to tell you what to do or when to do it, so it’s important to carry out an honest self-audit of your strengths and weaknesses before taking the plunge.

Sum up your company, Creme de la Creme, in a few words.
Creme de la Creme is the number one network for tech freelancers in France. We have a membership of 20,000 IT experts who we put in contact with major companies who are looking for those with digital-transformation expertise. We have digitalized the entire process, from sourcing to paying freelancers, which works well for us but was a calculated risk at the outset. What’s more, we focus heavily on the human aspect, and take pride in allowing people to reinvent their lives and begin a new chapter in their career.