Freelancing – Work Sources

Now that I’ve started thinking more about my life as a freelancer I’ve been looking at where my work comes from and what sort of skills I’m being asked to use. The following is a simple breakdown of that data from Jul 09 to Dec 12. But first a brief bit of history…

I’ve been “properly” iOS freelancing since Jul 09, I started by writing my own apps and supporting this by working for existing customers. Like most app developers I didn’t really earn any money from these. Which prompted me to find iOS work via an Agency in Feb-10, like I say things were desperate and I had bills to pay. That contract ended in Dec 10, I then went back to freelancing but finding work on my own, not via agencies. This has been a really hard process and I’ve had some really good months and a fair few awful ones, especially late 2011 where I didn’t earn anything at all.

My client base has grown and I’m getting regular “quote for this app” sort of requests, sometimes these have come to nothing. In those cases I always make sure I leave with the parting comment that I’m here if they need me and a couple of times they have.  Recently most of my work has since come from either my website, LinkedIn or people recommending me. Just hope the trend carries on!

Contract or Freelance – PROS/CONS

Here are my small nuggets of wisdom regarding contract/freelance (as I see them)

Contracting – PROS

  • It should be relatively easy to find a contract if you have a good skill set, look at jobserve.com or cwjobs.co.uk – the rates do vary quite a bit
  • Once you have a contract its guaranteed income for the length of the contract – so long as you stick to the terms of the contract
  • No problems with getting paid – so long as you get your timesheet signed

Contracting – CONS

  • you have to deal with agents, they are pretty underhanded and will try and squeeze as much information out of you about your current workplace to see if they have an opportunity to sell in a new person (so be careful)
  • They take quite a big cut, the rates advertised are what you would receive but they charge another 15-20% on top to the end client
  • Most of the jobs are in London
  • Most contracts expect you to work onsite

Freelancing – PROS

  • You can work on projects you want to work on (once you have the luxury of enough work)
  • Working from home – I hate travelling into London
  • For me its a more personal approach to development, it feels like “my” work rather than going to an office and working for someone
  • Projects can be quite varied
  • Dealing with clients directly

Freelancing – CONS

  • Finding work – this is really hard
  • Dealing with clients directly
  • Getting paid – once had to wait 6 months for a payment

As you can see the Freelancing PROS/CONS are a lot more personal and I know that for a lot of people maybe not that important. I’ve contracted for about 18 years of my IT career and only freelanced for about 3 years. But I much prefer the freelance approach

You’ll also need to set up a limited company, get VAT registered and sort out PAYE. I use Nixon Williams as my accountant, who are brilliant and can set all of these up for you from the start. I also wrote an app for them that lets you work out what your take home pay would be, give it a try (if you want) iOS  or Android

If you are going to use Nixon Williams, please let me know so that I can refer you 🙂

Any PROS/CONS you think I should add then add to the comments