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The Secret Life of a Flash Freelancer


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The Secret Life of a Flash Freelancer

  1. The Secret Life of a Flash Freelancer Peter Elst - Flash on the Beach 2009
  2. Why go freelance?
  3. Top reasons to go freelance I hate my job I hate my boss I hate my colleagues My work is not valued Our clients are idiots I’m wasting my time I’m not paid enough
  4. Top reasons to go freelance I want a challenge I want freedom I want to experiment I want geek status I want to build a business I want to live up to my potential
  5. My story FlashForward 2001 - Amsterdam Macromedia Flash MX sneak peek Flash MX Most Wanted Components Macromedia Certified Flash Professional Freelance Flash developer
  6. My story FlashForward 2001 - Amsterdam Macromedia Flash MX sneak peek Passion + Flash MX Most Wanted Components Sharing Macromedia Certified Flash Professional = Freelance Flash developer Work
  7. Start blogging
  8. Write articles
  9. Author books
  10. Speak at events Flash on the Beach FITC Adobe MAX FlashForward Flashtival The ActionScript Conference webDU Multi-Mania Scotch on the Rocks MediaElements
  11. Be accessible
  12. Work versus pay • Not all work is paid work • Where do you draw the line? • When does helping out become working for free? • How do you set expectation?
  13. Work versus pay • 15 minute rule • Give advice not solutions • No refund policy That said... • Be nice! • These are potential clients
  14. Freedom requires discipline • Its (too) easy to do overtime • Keep track of your hours • Set milestones and create daily todo lists • Procrastination is your enemy
  15. Dealing with clients • Be clear about your skills and expertise • Give honest feedback about their plans • Know your role within the project • Communicate and set up a workflow
  16. Choosing your projects • Do not take on just any project! • Make sure you feel comfortable about the work • Money should not be the determining factor • Its tempting to bite off more than you can chew
  17. Failure is an option
  18. Embrace the possibility of fuckups • Murphy’s law and human fallibility • Technical limitations are not always avoidable • Have a backup plan and learn from it
  19. Surviving nightmare clients • Find some way to vent your anger • Never send out impulse email replies • Accept that some clients are jerks • Provide honest feedback and a project debriefing
  20. Project checklist • Is the project technically possible? • Is the project deadline feasible? • Is the budget within your range? • Are you excited about the project? • How well does the client communicate? • How do you feel about the team? • Is this a project you would put on your portfolio?
  21. Setting your price • Know your value and respect it • Be consistent about pricing between clients • Charge by the hour/day or a fixed rate
  22. Charging by the hour/day • Low risk for the freelancer • Client typically requires you to estimate • Make sure you keep a detailed timesheet
  23. Charging fixed rates • Much bigger risk for the freelancer • Be careful about doing this for experimental work • Calculate in extra days for contingencies • Clients know the exact budget
  24. Estimation versus guesstimation • Don’t do fixed pricing without a signed off spec • Break down the project into chunks • Compare with previous projects • Don’t forget to take research into consideration • Be sure to budget in 20 to 50% extra hours
  25. The cheap/fast/good dilemma Clients always want all three, though: • Cheap and fast won’t be good • Fast and good won’t be cheap • Good and cheap won’t be fast
  26. Dealing with feature creep • Feature creep happens • Make sure you work in iterations • Embrace change (but charge for it) • Have the client budget in features
  27. Project workflow idea proposal functional spec technical spec budget contract prototype
  28. Project workflow idea proposal Concept functional spec + technical spec Definition budget = Implementation contract prototype
  29. Setting goals • Where do you want to go with your business? • Do you want to employ people? • What are you passionate about?
  30. Preventing burnout • Force yourself to take a step back • Make sure you have a backup plan • Work towards a daily routine • Keep yourself motivated
  31. Work/life balance • 40 hour weeks are difficult but not impossible • No deadline is more important than your health • No deadline is more important than your family • Working from home can make things easier
  32. Self evaluation • Regularly look back at your work and evaluate • Be critical but recognize your strengths • Find areas you need to improve on and do it
  33. Experimentation • Try out new technologies and push it to the limit • Don’t limit yourself to what you know • Go outside of your comfort zone
  34. Contributing to the community • Open source your work whenever you can • Be recklessly vocal about the things you care about • Get involved in local user groups, other initiatives
  35. Time management • Time is a limited resource • Break up your day into different tasks • Keep track of your hours on each task • Try to minimize impact on other projects
  36. Ten commandments 1. Know yourself 2. Be passionate about your work 3. Communicate with your clients 4. Experiment and share what you learn 5. Don’t let money primarily drive your decisions 6. Be self-critical but allow yourself to be proud of your work 7. Accept failure and learn from it 8. Set yourself goals and work towards them 9. Don’t be afraid of change, embrace opportunities 10. Have fun!
  37. Q&A • Are you thinking about going freelance? • What are issues holding you back? • How is it working out for you?
  38. Thanks! Feel free to get in touch with your questions, feedback. blog: email: twitter: @peterelst