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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