The developer tracks at Apps World have been really busy over the last couple of days. This afternoon we caught a really interesting panel discussion on how to be an effective freelance developer. Here are some nuggets of wisdom from the panel.
The first and most logical question, is freelancing for you? Ask yourself honestly. Are you willing to sell yourself and fight to win a client? Are you happy working on your own with no one to back you up? Can you deal with perhaps not knowing where the money for next month’s mortgage payment is coming from?
Many freelancers strike out on their own in the belief that they’re going to get rich. They’re often disappointed.
Freelancing allows you to be your own boss, with all the freedom that this entails. You can decide what kind of projects you want to work on.
However, this freedom may not mean tons of extra spare time. Time you’re not working is time you’re not earning. You take a day off sick; no one’s going to make you get a doctor’s note. But on the flip side, no one’s going to donate sick pay. You can end up with much less time once you realise that you’re only limited by how much work you put in.
Communication is your friend. Bad communication will waste your time. Sit with the client and create the spec together. When you take the time to do this, you uncover all the potential problems, and get to the root of exactly what they want. You’ll end up with a detailed document that is very unlikely to change once you get under way.
Clients like to know how much something’s going to cost, but you’d ideally like to charge a day rate. No problem, you can estimate how many days a project will take and offer them a full quote that makes this clear. The beauty of that is, if the brief changes mid-project, it’s easy to calculate how much extra these changes will cost, and transparent too as the client has already agreed that day rate.