Freelance vs fulltime?


#1

I am considering taking a one-year as a freelance to gain some independence and decompress from corporate life. Any advices or hindsights on this transition?


#2

I did that. After working as an employee for 14 years I started a company and got an assignment through a broker firm. At the time it was absolutely necessary for me because I was so fed up.

It was very interesting in the beginning, throwing myself into the unknown and trying to make sense of it. The downside of my particular assignment was that I was the only programmer consultant there, so I did not really find a group to connect with. After a few months I got treated as an employee, and it felt like an employment.

I stayed for about 9 months, then had to struggle to get out, because they got rid of regular employees and needed people to take on their tasks (this was the public sector btw).

Had I done the same journey again I’d probably have looked for private companies that are more used to taking in consultants.

Feel free to ask if you want to know more.


#3

I have started freelancing in 2008 after almost 10 years in the industry and I am not looking back.

Finding projects is hard but manageable with a good network.
Although it’s an almost solitary work, it fits my character much better then full time job.

Advice: take finding new projects seriously - at the beginning I just waited projects to magically appear and almost ended up broke.

Also: working as contract developer is different then being freelance. I always try to find projects with small teams or me only, with great deal of responsibility on my side - this works best for me.


#4

Thanks for sharing your experience, @TheDreamer. When you started the company was that just a regular LLC for contractual purposes or did you intended to venture something out of it? Also, it wasn’t clear if you went back to corporate or stayed freelancing, any reason (either way)?


#5

Hey @grumpy, your description sounds like mine. I’ve been in the industry for 10 yrs, and the only positive aspect is steady compensation. Otherwise, everything is getting to my nerves.

From your reply, sounds like you prefer working on your own. Did you have to interact much with clients and deal with unrealistic expectations? I like being on my own with lots responsibility but dealing with people subjectiveness is one of the reasons I am stepping out from corp.


#6

My initial plan was to take on short projects and inbetween work on my own mobile apps. The assignment I found through the agency was just a 5 week one, but it turned out that they wanted people long-term. Haven’t really seen any short assignments since, I don’t network enough though (much due to social anxiety).

After getting out from the assignment, I worked on my own for a good while, finishing up an app and putting it on the market (lots of work, little monetary reward though). I noticed that I need people around me, or my mental health goes down after a while.

I now work for people I know from before, on a long-term that is more like an employment. Nice people, but not a perfect match job-wise for me. I polish the app and plan some new ones in my spare time, but often find myself too tired to work on that after a day of programming at my day-job.

I’ve started thinking of doing something else again now, even switching careers and keeping programming as a hobby/extra income.

What kind of work would you like to do as a freelancer?


#7

@foobar well I’ve been dealing with clients and their expectations both when working full time and now, and i’ve always found it hard. I used to be a project manager, too, so I had to deal with many stakeholders.

but now I can play on my own terms, don’t have to adhere to corporate policy etc.
nowadays, I try to set up my contracts agile-wise, as time/material ones. not always possible, but some clients undestand it’s better for everyone.


#8

@TheDreamer, I have few options on the table, from a somewhat stead work in a small company to simply stay home to work in a project with another guy. So that’s why I am curious on any hindsight so I can balance them better.

As workplace goes, I am going to check out few coworking spaces and see if their environment can be a true resource or it’s just desk space.


#9

Great to hear that you’ve got some options @foobar

I’m curious about how others go about starting to do freelance work. Seems like many opt for developing web sites. I’m more of a middleware/backend guy. I can do simple prototype UI so could work together with a designer on demand maybe.

I guess what I’m wondering is: when going freelance, how do you find resources to help you out with the parts that are not one’s strengths? And how do you find clients?


#10

What did you change when you started taking finding new projects seriously?