(futuristic music) - The other piece of freelancing for me is that I feel like I have these sort of two personas, these two roles going on in my mind. And I only realized this recently, that I have the person who's doing the work, who's teaching, who's developing, and then the person who's managing, who's saying, okay, you have to get this done in this many days or this many hours. You have to make sure that you get to this point today.
And there's a certain degree to which in any job, you're going to have to do that, but often we have these managers which, better or for worse, managers are actually really helpful in creating that structure and creating that accountability. And there's a certain amount of that that as a freelancer I have to provide to myself. It's a skill that I feel like over time I've developed and I'm comfortable with, but it definitely took some work to get there. A skill that I found particularly important in freelancing is negotiating, is recognizing or thinking about what my time is worth and what kind of expertise I bring to a project, and then actually thinking about and creating a negotiating position before I sit down to have a conversation about doing some work.
A really important insight for me was recognizing that, yes, there should be a point at which the money is too low or the work is too much where it doesn't make sense for me to take a project. And as a freelancer when you're constantly thinking about what's coming down the pipe, what work you have lined up, it can be really difficult to get in the mindset that you can actually say no to work. But it's important to recognize what your time is worth, and maybe that's what your time is worth to you or what your time is worth in the industry based on the experience and knowledge that you have, and then to be able to actually ask for that and stick to that when you're asking for it.
- So, over the years that I've been working as a developer, I've worked for a range of different clients, and most of them have all come to me through word-of-mouth. I haven't done a lot of advertisement on social media or on my website or any other platforms. But people come to me, and one thing that I've learned over the years is how to talk to them, how to describe the work that I've done, how to negotiate with them on different contracts, and being comfortable discussing financial issues with them about the business relationship.
And that's one thing that's definitely come from several years of experience, and it improves once you get a few projects under your belt. At the outset when I didn't have that full body of work to back up my claims that I could be a good developer, it was more difficult to pitch things to people. But since I've got a few apps out in the store, I've got a few websites up, and I've done more and more projects, it's easier to convince people that you do know what you're doing and be able to describe to them the value and consistency of your work.
- With the onshore team, I really have a lot more time to spend with them over online collaboration tools, like Skype or WebEx, and I'll be able to help them through any challenges they're having that day and making sure that they also understand the overall architecture and vision, because I find that the more they understand that, the more effective they'll be and the more engaged they'll be. So, you don't want someone to just feel like they just own a little piece and they don't understand how that fits in to the big puzzle.
- I've learned a lot of things the hard way, that sometimes you just don't fit with a client. And that's okay. That's fine. It could be you, it could be them, but it's not necessarily a bad thing to walk away from something that somebody else would be a better fit for and you're just going to get frustrated. But I've had to have that experience and I've had to have people explain to me, "You need to charge the right thing." If you don't charge enough, you're not going to stay in business. That's not good for anybody. You need to balance your work and life. If you're unhappy doing this, that's not good for anybody.
So those types of things that aren't the technology side of it necessarily, but more the business side, the balance side, those are the kind of things that as a developer didn't come naturally. I didn't have that experience in how to run a business. I would tell people if you love flowers, don't become a florist; you'll never touch flowers again unless you can hire somebody to run that side of the business. So, being able to wear both hats and run the business but still get to do what you love to do and code, that takes a lot of balancing and juggling.
If you don't do it right, you're going to have to go get a job. (futuristic music)