I really want to be able to support myself with my freelance job but I know that I have a long way to go before I can do that. I’m going to share my strategy with anyone currently visiting Planet Limux so that they can see what I’m doing, and what has been working for me, in case they are freelancers too and need some ideas or encouragement.
Right now, I keep my fees low to help build my client base and resume. Also, because I have a day job, turnaround time is not as quick as I’d like, which is another reason I don’t charge as much as some other people can. However, I can’t wait until I have enough freelance credibility that I can charge a living wage for my work! I’ve been doing this on and off for about a year and a half now and I’ve raised my rates every four months or so. Nothing huge, so that my existing clients complain, but it really starts to add up. Hopefully, it won’t take too long for me to get on par with my more established peers.
I am trying to put myself out there and reach out more. I’ve joined a few message boards and I started this blog to reach out to other people in similar situations. I also really want to go to OpenRheinRuhr this year. It is a fair on free software that has exhibitions, lectures, and workshops. I really want to meet developers and other programmers to talk about their experiences, find new open source software that I can use for my clients, and get some career advice. They are also doing some stuff on licensing, which can be kind of a murky area for me, so any help I can get, I’m going to take.
The end goal is to be able to support myself through just my freelance work. I know people who are brave enough to quit the steady paycheck and focus solely on their passion project but I am not one of those people. If my work was small but constant, I probably would do it—I could survive for a while living frugally until things picked up, I don’t have that many expenses right now—but it isn’t quite there yet. While yes, I’d have more free time to devote to rounding out my client base and be able to churn out projects faster if I didn’t have anything else taking up my time, I’d also starve. Nor would I have the electricity to power my computer or anything like that. So I work. And it’s fine. If you don’t think you can quit your day job yet either, don’t. Don’t let anybody tell you it is holding you back. Since I’m in a similar field at my day job, I actually end up doing a little networking there. I’ve brought in a few clients this way, either through employees who run a side business and need something or through referrals. Again, every little bit helps, so I’m sticking with it for now. As soon as the work gets more consistent and lucrative, I will walk out those office doors and never return!
There you have it: my three-arm strategy: a steady increase in fees to build up credibility and your CV, networking to add to your client base, and then enjoy being your own boss! Fingers crossed that it is a good plan!