Freelancing and Open Source

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Slides from the "Independent Software Developer" presentation at Linuxfest NW 2011, in Bellingham, WA.

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Freelancing and Open Source

  1. 1. The Independent Software Developer Peat Bakke peat@i26r.com @peat http://i26r.com/Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  2. 2. Orientation • Introductions! • Freelancing and Open Source • Marketing and Sales • The Bottom LineTuesday, May 3, 2011
  3. 3. Who am I, and what the heck am I doing here?Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  4. 4. Who are you?Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  5. 5. Employment vs Freelancing • Employee: employer owns copyrights and inventions, even during “down time” and outside of the work place. • Freelancer: you explicitly control the boundaries of what your clients own.Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  6. 6. Employment vs Freelancing • Employee: limited free time outside of employment activities to contribute to open source projects. • Freelancer: optimize contracts and schedule to provide time and resources for open source hacking.Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  7. 7. What is a Freelancer? • You are offering your talent for solving a particular type of problem to lots of people ... in exchange for money. • You are responsible for how your software gets built, and for the quality of your work.Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  8. 8. Freelancing Pros • Flexible Schedule • Flexible Location • Flexible Projects • Flexible Flexibile Flexible Flexible Flexible • “Flexible” starts to look and sound a bit funny, doesn’t it?Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  9. 9. Freelancing Cons • rot13(“VEF”) • No guaranteed income. • Distinct lack of cultural appreciation for misanthropic behavior. • Most clients don’t “get” the open source world.Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  10. 10. Separation of Concerns • Concerns about money are satisfied by landing contracts with clients. • Concerns about open source are satisfied by building time into your schedule to contribute to open source.Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  11. 11. Legal Entanglements • Most contracts are “work for hire.” • Contract should specifically say that you will disclose all pre-existing licenses. • The (L)GPL discussion will be exciting. Get it out of the way up front.Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  12. 12. The (L)GPL Argument • You don’t pay for the software, unlike Windows, Oracle, Photoshop, etc. • You can fix fundamental problems yourself, unlike Windows, Oracle, Photoshop, etc. • The easy trade for getting amazing free tools that are user serviceable: if you fix something, you give it back to everyone else.Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  13. 13. Dirty Words • Marketing: understanding who wants what. • Selling: turning someone into a client. • Marketing + Selling = LARPing in a suit.Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  14. 14. Showing Up is Half the BattleTuesday, May 3, 2011
  15. 15. Marketing • Who’s using your technology? Go to user groups and mailing lists to find out. • Are they hiring freelancers? Just ask. • Can they pay enough to make it worth your while? Just ask. • No? Can you try another technology?Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  16. 16. Selling • Communicate at the person’s level • Establish that you are trustworthy • Engage with their goals and interests • Show that you can help them • Give them an easy choiceTuesday, May 3, 2011
  17. 17. Communicating on Their Level • Reflection • ReinforcementTuesday, May 3, 2011
  18. 18. UPLEVEL INTERDEPARTMENT SYNERGY!!!Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  19. 19. SCALABLE RESTFUL WEB SERVICES!!!Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  20. 20. Reinforce Their Goals • I’d love to hear more about ... • Is this a good example of ... ? • What can I do to make this kick ass? • Can you tell me more about your business?Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  21. 21. EstablishTrust • Offer a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). • Bring one to your first meeting. • Take (light) notes during the meeting.Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  22. 22. Establish Interest • Take people out for coffee, and pay for it. • After each conversation, take five minutes to search Google for related information. • Explicitly say you’re interested, and ask about “next steps”Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  23. 23. Show Them You Can Help • Ideal situation: show off a previous client who you solved the same sorts of problems for, step your prospect through the solution. • Backup situation: work through a problem by asking questions, offering solutions, and responding positively to mistakes.Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  24. 24. Make It An Easy Choice • You’ve established that you’re interested, talented, and motivated. • Time and money are the hard limits for a project: give them a timeline and cost.Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  25. 25. Finding Your Rate • You are the seller: you need to make sure your costs are covered to ensure that you are able to do the things you want to do. • Client is the buyer: they have specific problems to solve, with an interest in doing it as effectively as possible within their budget and timeline.Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  26. 26. Cost Based Rate Income x (1 + Tax Rate) / Billing Ratio / Working Hours • Income • Tax Rate • Billing Ratio • Working HoursTuesday, May 3, 2011
  27. 27. Cost Based Rate $50,000 x (1 + 0.3) / 0.7 / 1500 = $61.90 per hour • Income • Tax Rate • Billing Ratio • Working HoursTuesday, May 3, 2011
  28. 28. Cost Based Rate $50,000 x (1 + 0.3) / 0.7 / 1500 = $61.90 per hour • Income • Tax Rate • Billing Ratio • Working HoursTuesday, May 3, 2011
  29. 29. Cost Based Rate $50,000 x (1 + 0.3) / 0.7 / 1500 = $61.90 per hour • Income • Tax Rate • Billing Ratio • Working HoursTuesday, May 3, 2011
  30. 30. Cost Based Rate $50,000 x (1 + 0.3) / 0.7 / 1500 = $61.90 per hour • Income • Tax Rate • Billing Ratio • Working HoursTuesday, May 3, 2011
  31. 31. Cost Based Rate $50,000 x (1 + 0.3) / 0.7 / 1500 = $61.90 per hour • Income • Tax Rate • Billing Ratio • Working HoursTuesday, May 3, 2011
  32. 32. Cost Based Rate $50,000 x (1 + 0.3) / 0.7 / 1500 = $61.90 per hour • Income • Tax Rate • Billing Ratio • Working HoursTuesday, May 3, 2011
  33. 33. Gut Check Estimates • Establishes timeline, and it’s a communication tool for sorting out features. • Consider: understanding, planning, coding, releasing, supporting. • Gut number is the low end. • Confidence as 0.1 (extremely low) to 1.0 (extraordinarily easy). • Low / Confidence = HighTuesday, May 3, 2011
  34. 34. The Easy Choice • Clients need a project completed by a certain date, within a certain amount of money. • Convert time estimates to weeks or iterations to get a delivery date. Hours are a difficult unit to negotiate over. • Multiply high estimate by cost based rate to get the price of the contract. • Negotiate on confidence score.Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  35. 35. Recap • Freelancing gives you more power over intellectual property and time management. • Think about marketing and sales in roleplaying terms. • Understand how much you need to make. • Negotiate on your “confidence” basis. • Showing up is half the battle!Tuesday, May 3, 2011
  36. 36. Thank you! Peat Bakke peat@i26r.com @peat http://i26r.com/Tuesday, May 3, 2011

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