Occasionally folks will ask me, “what does it take for me to earn more money as a freelancer?” They want to know if I have a magic bullet, or if I’ve learned anything through my travels in the business world. The truth is that there’s only one thing you can do to increase your revenues as a freelancer, and it’s this:
Provide more business value for the client.
It’s the dream of every software developer: “I’ll quit my job and be my own boss! I’ll have clients pay me to do what I’m good at!” The developer quits and feels that breeze of freedom, right before they run into the brick wall of freelancing realities: you’re not your own boss, and you traded one boss for five.
Freelancing may be the goal of many developers, but it’s a fantasy, a fake, something that you think you want. Here’s why you should reconsider.
There’s an old saying: don’t write to get rich. Most writers never make anywhere close to minimum wage on their books, and some don’t even make up the advance on sales (if there was an advance at all). Writing a book isn’t always about making lots of sales anyway; it can be about having that line on your resume, sharing your knowledge with a small group who needs it, or just generally wanting to spread the word about something you love.
I definitely didn’t get into writing for the money. In fact, my first book was published by php|architect, a fine group of folks who have a great lineup of books. My second book was self-published, and priced in line with the first.
You’ve worked hard. You’re ready. Your product is awesome. You’re geared up. It’s time. You launch.
You check your email. The first order comes in. Then the next. Pretty soon it’s a flood. You beat your single day goal. You beat your strech goal. This is awesome! You’re excited. You go out to dinner, order champagne. Sales roll in overnight.
By the time you wake up the next morning (probably with a hangover), your excitement has truly built to almost an unbearable level. But then the inevitable happens: your sales slow down to a small stream. Then a trickle. Then to almost nothing.
You’d like to start a business – a successful business. But you don’t know how. Replacing your salary and your boring job with a successful business seems impossible. But it’s not impossible. In fact, it’s easier than you think – if you do it right.
I used to think that starting a business was impossible until I did it. Even though my business is still young and growing, it’s on track to perform extremely well this year. Of course, I have the benefit of a monthly salary that keeps me from having to sell, but that’s a safety net, not an excuse.
To say that I love Github would be a bit of an understatement. I more than recommend it when describing code review processes. At Mozilla, the web development team uses Github for our code reviews, since line notes and pull requests work perfectly with our code review requirements. Github allows a large distributed team to work independently while still working together.
However, recently Github has experienced some issues with it’s performance. Thankfully, most of these issues have been minor. But the issues highlight a serious potential flaw in using Github for critical development processes: