Freelancing for Fun and Profit

Posted March 28, 2011

I'm working on a new project: professional advocacy and development for independent software developers.

I've been tinkering with this idea for several years. Portland has terrific freelancing culture -- almost everyone I know has side projects, or picks up short term contracts between "real" jobs. I've seen smart people do great things in their spare time, and there certainly isn't a shortage of work out there (particularly if you're a web or mobile developer).

Most of us developers just want to make a living writing kick ass software, and freelancing can be a very enjoyable way to work on a diverse set of projects, meet a lot of great people, and make a solid income.

That said, a lot of people have a very hard time making the jump from spare time projects to full time freelancing. A lot of people stall out after their first contract, get burned when client relationships turn sour, or get bit in the ass by The Powers That Be when tax time rolls around.

There are a lot of mistakes that can suck the pleasure out of freelancing, and I'm pretty sure I've made almost all of 'em. Hind sight being 20/20, I can see that most of those mistakes were avoidable -- so I'm interested in sharing what I've learned, and learning from other successful freelancers.

Like I said: I've been tinkering with ideas on how to to promote and learn about successful freelance software development, and I figure now is as good a time as any to do something about it.

To those ends, I've launched i26r.com and a workshop for freelancers here in Portland. i26r? I figure it's easy to remember, and a hell of a lot easier to type than IndependentSoftwareDeveloper.com.

The site is in it's infancy, but I believe in the "release early, release often" mantra. My goal is to start building a professional ecosystem for freelance software developers, and I'm starting with two simple tasks:

First is the i26r Workshop. It's a full afternoon dedicated to helping people who are new to freelancing: lots of Q&A, panels, discussions about marketing and managing your own business, etc. I've even rounded up a few freebies, so it's worth the ticket price even if you sleep though it!

Second is the i26r List, a mailing list where I'll be sending out freelancing opportunities to anyone who subscribes. It's free for both subscribers and for companies that are interested in hiring professional software developers. Not a bad gig, 'eh?

There's more coming down the pipeline, but right now I'm keen to get these two things out the door. If you're a freelancer, or thinking about freelancing, I'd love to hear from you about what services or information would be useful to you!

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