Getting Off the Freelance Roller-Coaster

You love the idea of freelancing, but in practice, you've found it to be stressful, unreliable, at times even terrifying. It doesn't have to be this way. Learn from a seasoned freelancer the strategies and tactics he's used to avoid the freelance feast/famine cycle and log billable hours every work day for nearly four years. Join us to receive actionable tips you can begin using immediately to stay booked and get off the freelance roller coaster. Page

by Yitzchok Willroth @coderabbi

This was another if my favorite talks from the conference. Yitzchok was a fantastic speaker, very knowledgeable and well spoken. While I am not currently a freelancer nor do I plan to be one in the near future the content of this talk was invaluable. Most of the content is applicable in some way to freelancers and people who work remotely. Great slide deck. I would definitely attend another talk by Yitzchok.

My notes for this talk can be found below:

  • freelancing is scary
  • can be liberating and terrifying – a lot of stress and anxiety
  • having paying work everyday was essential for success
  • freelance portfolio should be managed similar to an investment portfolio – diversify
  • type diversity – vary the types of services that you provide. projects, consultancy, maintenance
  • source diversity – avoid limiting yourself to a single client. periods without work are unrecoverable
  • only working on one project means you will likely have a period of no work following
  • limiting yourself to one client will ties your prosperity to theirs. losing them as a client means starting over
  • time diversity – never have projects ending at the same time.
  • clients are more interested in hearing about current projects than previous projects
  • good clients respect a professional's availability
  • projects which span the holiday season in to the next year are more valuable than those that end right before the holidays
  • hire a “marketing department” – hire several – anyone that will prospect for opportunities on your behalf
  • contract work is a possibility and can be more valuable than other forms of work
  • stay engaged
  • freelance designers and front-end developers can be another resource both in helping you find work and helping with work
  • designers and front-end developers often have an easier time marketing themselves
  • other developers might be able to hand off projects to you.
  • clients concerned about the “bus factor”
  • fellow freelance developers are not competitors they are assets
  • be a good community member, be active in open source projects, blog, and get involved in social media
  • don't wait until you need work to look for work – by that time it is too late and you will be losing money
  • you need to find time to look for work every day
  • good clients wait for good developers – don't be afraid of projects that are looking to start before you are done with your current project
  • make sure your name is a part of the conversation – you want clients thinking about you even when you can't do work
  • actively prospect everyday – passively prospect all of the time
  • “every personal inquiry deserves a response-in-kind”
  • opportunities that may not be for you may lead to opportunities that do
  • you need to know what you are saying “no” to before you say it.
  • go back to the well – actively solicit previous clients for new work
  • successful freelancers say that 61% of their work comes from referral
  • rainy day projects – projects that may not be high priority for clients now may be projects for you in the future (perhaps at a discount rate when you need work)
  • time-box working hours in advance – only leave those hours under exceptional circumstances
  • train the client that you will not communicate outside of your working hours
  • put a value on your family time to help justify your working hours
  • treat your workday as if you are going to an office