“ ”
top 10
misconceptions
of software
freelancing
john hann
@unscriptable
Saturday, November 13, 2010
who wants to make
$$$$$$$$?
Saturday, November 13, 2010
who wants to make
$$$$$$$$?
Saturday, November 13, 2010
go back and get your
mba and follow the
advice of these books
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
that’s what i did*!
*except for the mba part
Saturday, November 13, 2010
revenues > $100k/mo
Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2
$11,000 $16,000
$30,000
$47,000
$63,000
$79,000
$103,000
$161,000
revenue profit
Saturday, ...
sales cramming the
pipeline
Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2
0.5
1
1.2
33
3.5
5
6
project duration
new projects per month
Saturday, November 13...
it kinda
sucked
the money was good, really good. :)
but i wasn’t 100% happy.
i wanted to code!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
but i wasn’t going to
give up the money
:(
Saturday, November 13, 2010
luckily, the 2001-2003
recession hit
Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2
$23,000
-$4,000
-$16,000 -$16,000
$127,000
$79,000
$54,000
$37,000
revenu...
it was a painful
period of debt
repayment and
layoffs
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
but in 2004,
something magical
happened
(besides paying off my business debts)
Saturday, November 13, 2010
i became passionate*
about javascript
*a.k.a. “obsessed”
Saturday, November 13, 2010
i was also no longer a
consultant, nor a
contractor
Saturday, November 13, 2010
i was finally a
software freelancer
Saturday, November 13, 2010
but i had a lot of
unlearning to do
Saturday, November 13, 2010
8 years running a
consulting firm did
not prepare me to be
a freelancer
Saturday, November 13, 2010
i had a few
delusions… and got
tons of bad advice
from others
Saturday, November 13, 2010
bad advice is like herpes
Saturday, November 13, 2010
top 10*
misconceptions of
software
freelancing
*in no particular order
IMHO YMMV RTFM BBQ ROFL
Saturday, November 13, 2010
“ ”the first order of
business is to fill
your pipeline
Saturday, November 13, 2010
what they preach
Saturday, November 13, 2010
reality check:
clients aren’t going to
wait for you
Saturday, November 13, 2010
there is no pipeline
Saturday, November 13, 2010
you’ve got to get out
there and find clients
(and stay out there)
Saturday, November 13, 2010
“ ”
recruiters are a
cheap and easy
alternative to
marketing myself
Saturday, November 13, 2010
recruiter !=
career
coach
Saturday, November 13, 2010
you must be in
control.
plot your own career
path
Saturday, November 13, 2010
otherwise you’re just
a career contractor*
*oxymoron. contracting can not be a career
Saturday, November 13, 2010
“ ”it’s ok to start out
at a low rate to get
a great client
Saturday, November 13, 2010
$$ –> $$$?
how are you gonna justify this?
Saturday, November 13, 2010
fluctuating rates
strain the client
relationship
Saturday, November 13, 2010
always start out high
and let the client
negotiate a good deal
Saturday, November 13, 2010
walk away if the
client can’t agree to
your
minimum rate
Saturday, November 13, 2010
“ ”
you need to find a
client that’ll hire
you full-time for 3+
years
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
it’s “free”-lancing!
don’t chain yourself
to a client
Saturday, November 13, 2010
skills stagnation +
revenue stagnation
–––––––––––––––––––
career death
Saturday, November 13, 2010
“ ”
i need to learn
[popular skill*]
cuz that’s where
the jobs are
* asp.net, java, etc.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
java
asp.net
node.js
jQuery
dojo
Saturday, November 13, 2010
java
asp.net
node.js
recruiters
college
grads
unemployed
jQuery
clueless
dojo
Saturday, November 13, 2010
indeed.com
java, asp.net – mature markets
Saturday, November 13, 2010
indeed.com
dojo, jQuery – expanding markets
Saturday, November 13, 2010
indeed.com
node.js – nascent market?
Saturday, November 13, 2010
“ ”
the more skills i
put on my resumé,
the more
marketable i'll be
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Jane Duzitall
Core Skills:
XHTML, HTML5, CSS2.1, CSS3,
JavaScript, jQuery, Dojo, Prototype,
Scriptaculous, Sproutcore, Moo...
andy the one-man
bandy
kenny g
which one’s getting the
high-paying gigs?
Saturday, November 13, 2010
andy the one-man
bandy
kenny g
which one’s getting the
high-paying gigs?
X
Saturday, November 13, 2010
which one’s got clients
calling him?
andy the one-man
bandy
kenny g
Saturday, November 13, 2010
which one’s got clients
calling him?
andy the one-man
bandy
kenny g
✓
Saturday, November 13, 2010
experienced clients
seek specialists
Saturday, November 13, 2010
“ ”one-man bands do
better during
recessions
Saturday, November 13, 2010
which one’s still making
a buck?
andy the one-man
bandy
kenny g
Saturday, November 13, 2010
which one’s still making
a buck?
?andy the one-man
bandy
kenny g
Saturday, November 13, 2010
which one’s still making
a buck?
? ?andy the one-man
bandy
kenny g
Saturday, November 13, 2010
a) goes hungry
b) takes a long vacation
c) reduces her rate
d) lays low until the market recovers
e) none of the above
wha...
a) goes hungry
b) takes a long vacation
c) reduces her rate
d) lays low until the market recovers
e) none of the above
wha...
what’s a specialist do in
a recession?
lives off her nest egg
taps her long list of happy clients
finds creative ways to pr...
“ ”i need more
experience to get
the good clients
Saturday, November 13, 2010
awesome clients seek
passion
Saturday, November 13, 2010
awesome clients seek
passion
Saturday, November 13, 2010
but where do they
look?
the internetz, duh!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
experiment, tinker,
blog, contribute
create an online presence.
demonstrate your passion.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
github is your resumé
your blog is your
marketing site
Saturday, November 13, 2010
open source software
projects need your
brain
and awesome clients love oss
Saturday, November 13, 2010
“ ”
i should fire the
bottom 20%* of
my clients every
year
*80/20 rule, a.k.a. the “Pareto Principle”
Saturday, November 13...
yes and no
Saturday, November 13, 2010
define “bottom”
Saturday, November 13, 2010
define “bottom”
a) not interesting (not your passion)
b) high stress
c) no leverage

 
 (no references, not bloggable)
d) s...
define “bottom”
a) not interesting (not your passion)
b) high stress
c) no leverage

 
 (no references, not bloggable)
d) s...
pursue the most
exciting, most
bloggable gigs
no matter how small
low stress is good, too
Saturday, November 13, 2010
even better:
eject the bottom 20%
of your resumé every
year
cuz your resumé sucks, dude
Saturday, November 13, 2010
everything on your
resumé should sell
your value and your
passion
ditch everything else
Saturday, November 13, 2010
“ ”
i'm gonna
moonlight b/c full-
time freelancing is
too risky
Saturday, November 13, 2010
some things that are
riskier than freelancing
relying on others for your paycheck
not managing your own career
Saturday, N...
1) find an expanding niche you can be

 
 passionate about
2) experiment, tinker, blog, contribute
3) get out there / get n...
or not…
1) find a simple, part-time gig
2) obsessively over-deliver
3) get a reference (put it online)
4) blog about what y...
“ ”i’m going to learn
how to freelance
from a “top 10” list
bonus misconception
Saturday, November 13, 2010
“ ”i’m going to learn
how to freelance
from a “top 10” list
bonus misconception
Saturday, November 13, 2010
go create your own
strategy
Saturday, November 13, 2010
questions?
Saturday, November 13, 2010
vital tools
github.com
twitter.com
quora.com
stackoverflow.com
groups.google.com
lanyrd.com
meetup.com
indeed.com
linkedin....
image credits
“we ate ur bills” – icanhascheezburger.com
“donut herpes” – myfoodlooksfunny.com
“ticket line” – u2albumrevi...
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Top 10 Misconceptions of Software Freelancing

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Top 10 Misconceptions of Software Freelancing

  1. 1. “ ” top 10 misconceptions of software freelancing john hann @unscriptable Saturday, November 13, 2010
  2. 2. who wants to make $$$$$$$$? Saturday, November 13, 2010
  3. 3. who wants to make $$$$$$$$? Saturday, November 13, 2010
  4. 4. go back and get your mba and follow the advice of these books Saturday, November 13, 2010
  5. 5. Saturday, November 13, 2010
  6. 6. that’s what i did*! *except for the mba part Saturday, November 13, 2010
  7. 7. revenues > $100k/mo Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 $11,000 $16,000 $30,000 $47,000 $63,000 $79,000 $103,000 $161,000 revenue profit Saturday, November 13, 2010
  8. 8. sales cramming the pipeline Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 0.5 1 1.2 33 3.5 5 6 project duration new projects per month Saturday, November 13, 2010
  9. 9. it kinda sucked the money was good, really good. :) but i wasn’t 100% happy. i wanted to code! Saturday, November 13, 2010
  10. 10. but i wasn’t going to give up the money :( Saturday, November 13, 2010
  11. 11. luckily, the 2001-2003 recession hit Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 $23,000 -$4,000 -$16,000 -$16,000 $127,000 $79,000 $54,000 $37,000 revenue profit Saturday, November 13, 2010
  12. 12. it was a painful period of debt repayment and layoffs Saturday, November 13, 2010
  13. 13. Saturday, November 13, 2010
  14. 14. but in 2004, something magical happened (besides paying off my business debts) Saturday, November 13, 2010
  15. 15. i became passionate* about javascript *a.k.a. “obsessed” Saturday, November 13, 2010
  16. 16. i was also no longer a consultant, nor a contractor Saturday, November 13, 2010
  17. 17. i was finally a software freelancer Saturday, November 13, 2010
  18. 18. but i had a lot of unlearning to do Saturday, November 13, 2010
  19. 19. 8 years running a consulting firm did not prepare me to be a freelancer Saturday, November 13, 2010
  20. 20. i had a few delusions… and got tons of bad advice from others Saturday, November 13, 2010
  21. 21. bad advice is like herpes Saturday, November 13, 2010
  22. 22. top 10* misconceptions of software freelancing *in no particular order IMHO YMMV RTFM BBQ ROFL Saturday, November 13, 2010
  23. 23. “ ”the first order of business is to fill your pipeline Saturday, November 13, 2010
  24. 24. what they preach Saturday, November 13, 2010
  25. 25. reality check: clients aren’t going to wait for you Saturday, November 13, 2010
  26. 26. there is no pipeline Saturday, November 13, 2010
  27. 27. you’ve got to get out there and find clients (and stay out there) Saturday, November 13, 2010
  28. 28. “ ” recruiters are a cheap and easy alternative to marketing myself Saturday, November 13, 2010
  29. 29. recruiter != career coach Saturday, November 13, 2010
  30. 30. you must be in control. plot your own career path Saturday, November 13, 2010
  31. 31. otherwise you’re just a career contractor* *oxymoron. contracting can not be a career Saturday, November 13, 2010
  32. 32. “ ”it’s ok to start out at a low rate to get a great client Saturday, November 13, 2010
  33. 33. $$ –> $$$? how are you gonna justify this? Saturday, November 13, 2010
  34. 34. fluctuating rates strain the client relationship Saturday, November 13, 2010
  35. 35. always start out high and let the client negotiate a good deal Saturday, November 13, 2010
  36. 36. walk away if the client can’t agree to your minimum rate Saturday, November 13, 2010
  37. 37. “ ” you need to find a client that’ll hire you full-time for 3+ years Saturday, November 13, 2010
  38. 38. Saturday, November 13, 2010
  39. 39. it’s “free”-lancing! don’t chain yourself to a client Saturday, November 13, 2010
  40. 40. skills stagnation + revenue stagnation ––––––––––––––––––– career death Saturday, November 13, 2010
  41. 41. “ ” i need to learn [popular skill*] cuz that’s where the jobs are * asp.net, java, etc. Saturday, November 13, 2010
  42. 42. java asp.net node.js jQuery dojo Saturday, November 13, 2010
  43. 43. java asp.net node.js recruiters college grads unemployed jQuery clueless dojo Saturday, November 13, 2010
  44. 44. indeed.com java, asp.net – mature markets Saturday, November 13, 2010
  45. 45. indeed.com dojo, jQuery – expanding markets Saturday, November 13, 2010
  46. 46. indeed.com node.js – nascent market? Saturday, November 13, 2010
  47. 47. “ ” the more skills i put on my resumé, the more marketable i'll be Saturday, November 13, 2010
  48. 48. Jane Duzitall Core Skills: XHTML, HTML5, CSS2.1, CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery, Dojo, Prototype, Scriptaculous, Sproutcore, Mootols, Mochikit, ASP, ASP.Net, VB, VB.Net, C#, C, C++, 80x86 Assembler, Ruby, Rails, JSP, Java, Spring, Sprong, SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, Sybase, Firebird, Postgres, Berkeley, MongoDB, CouchDB Saturday, November 13, 2010
  49. 49. andy the one-man bandy kenny g which one’s getting the high-paying gigs? Saturday, November 13, 2010
  50. 50. andy the one-man bandy kenny g which one’s getting the high-paying gigs? X Saturday, November 13, 2010
  51. 51. which one’s got clients calling him? andy the one-man bandy kenny g Saturday, November 13, 2010
  52. 52. which one’s got clients calling him? andy the one-man bandy kenny g ✓ Saturday, November 13, 2010
  53. 53. experienced clients seek specialists Saturday, November 13, 2010
  54. 54. “ ”one-man bands do better during recessions Saturday, November 13, 2010
  55. 55. which one’s still making a buck? andy the one-man bandy kenny g Saturday, November 13, 2010
  56. 56. which one’s still making a buck? ?andy the one-man bandy kenny g Saturday, November 13, 2010
  57. 57. which one’s still making a buck? ? ?andy the one-man bandy kenny g Saturday, November 13, 2010
  58. 58. a) goes hungry b) takes a long vacation c) reduces her rate d) lays low until the market recovers e) none of the above what’s a specialist do in a recession? Saturday, November 13, 2010
  59. 59. a) goes hungry b) takes a long vacation c) reduces her rate d) lays low until the market recovers e) none of the above what’s a specialist do in a recession? Saturday, November 13, 2010
  60. 60. what’s a specialist do in a recession? lives off her nest egg taps her long list of happy clients finds creative ways to provide value networks and travels more than ever contributes more heavily to oss and blogs Saturday, November 13, 2010
  61. 61. “ ”i need more experience to get the good clients Saturday, November 13, 2010
  62. 62. awesome clients seek passion Saturday, November 13, 2010
  63. 63. awesome clients seek passion Saturday, November 13, 2010
  64. 64. but where do they look? the internetz, duh! Saturday, November 13, 2010
  65. 65. experiment, tinker, blog, contribute create an online presence. demonstrate your passion. Saturday, November 13, 2010
  66. 66. github is your resumé your blog is your marketing site Saturday, November 13, 2010
  67. 67. open source software projects need your brain and awesome clients love oss Saturday, November 13, 2010
  68. 68. “ ” i should fire the bottom 20%* of my clients every year *80/20 rule, a.k.a. the “Pareto Principle” Saturday, November 13, 2010
  69. 69. yes and no Saturday, November 13, 2010
  70. 70. define “bottom” Saturday, November 13, 2010
  71. 71. define “bottom” a) not interesting (not your passion) b) high stress c) no leverage (no references, not bloggable) d) small $$$ e) all of the above Saturday, November 13, 2010
  72. 72. define “bottom” a) not interesting (not your passion) b) high stress c) no leverage (no references, not bloggable) d) small $$$ e) all of the above Saturday, November 13, 2010
  73. 73. pursue the most exciting, most bloggable gigs no matter how small low stress is good, too Saturday, November 13, 2010
  74. 74. even better: eject the bottom 20% of your resumé every year cuz your resumé sucks, dude Saturday, November 13, 2010
  75. 75. everything on your resumé should sell your value and your passion ditch everything else Saturday, November 13, 2010
  76. 76. “ ” i'm gonna moonlight b/c full- time freelancing is too risky Saturday, November 13, 2010
  77. 77. some things that are riskier than freelancing relying on others for your paycheck not managing your own career Saturday, November 13, 2010
  78. 78. 1) find an expanding niche you can be passionate about 2) experiment, tinker, blog, contribute 3) get out there / get noticed (meetups, social networks, online communities) 4) avoid the easy path (recruiters, job sites) 5) watch for your next passion jump in with both feet Saturday, November 13, 2010
  79. 79. or not… 1) find a simple, part-time gig 2) obsessively over-deliver 3) get a reference (put it online) 4) blog about what you did (think value) 5) repeat, aiming for a better gig / rate 6) quit your lame-ass job when you score an awesome gig / rate Saturday, November 13, 2010
  80. 80. “ ”i’m going to learn how to freelance from a “top 10” list bonus misconception Saturday, November 13, 2010
  81. 81. “ ”i’m going to learn how to freelance from a “top 10” list bonus misconception Saturday, November 13, 2010
  82. 82. go create your own strategy Saturday, November 13, 2010
  83. 83. questions? Saturday, November 13, 2010
  84. 84. vital tools github.com twitter.com quora.com stackoverflow.com groups.google.com lanyrd.com meetup.com indeed.com linkedin.com irc & mail lists Saturday, November 13, 2010
  85. 85. image credits “we ate ur bills” – icanhascheezburger.com “donut herpes” – myfoodlooksfunny.com “ticket line” – u2albumreview.com “one man band” – flickr.com/photos/randychiu/ “kenny g” – idiomag.com “dog tied up” – flickr.com/photos/clintjcl Saturday, November 13, 2010
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