In this episode of Syntax, Scott and Wes talk about how to make freelancing easier — how to avoid burnout, and tips and tricks to make it successful.
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02:15 - Code
- Use starters and resets and component libraries
- Don't build in something you don't know, unless you have time and budget to do so — WP is good enough for most projects
- Feel free to go over time on projects if you are learning something new
- Re-use code from project to project
- Target similar types of clients
13:09 - Communication
- Often, clear and frequent
- People won't be mad for being too informed — just know when to leave out the technical jargon
- Clients typically don't care about Git, React, etc. — they care about results
- Don't overwhelm them
- Train your clients that you aren't available 24/7
22:19 - Time management
- Set calendar alerts early and often to not miss communications
- Set meetings at 9am, don't wait around all day for meetings
- Block off large amounts of time for dev — you won't be able to get meaningful work done in one-hour slots
27:54 - Contracts + quoting
- Have a boilerplate contract that you can just fill in
- Same for a quote
- Value-based billing
33:47 - Billing + taxes
- Don't be shy when talking about money. Be clear on what you need, when you need it, and on what terms. This is business.
- This is your art, but it's also your business
- Pay quarterly taxes - most likely
- Or don't and take the small hit — then you can pay once a year
- Put taxes into another account if you aren't good with money
- Get a billing management system or get an accountant — you need to focus on working on code
- Wave Apps, Xero, Freshbooks
42:03 - Marketing
- Be loud — people need to know what you offer
- The best marketing is a referral from a previous client
- If you show up, return emails and do a good job, you'll kill it
- Show people what you are excited about: blog posts, videos, tweets, etc.
- Go where your clients are:
- Do you want to be serving small businesses? Family and friends
- Do you want to be a hired gun for a technical team? Conferences/Twitter, blog posts
48:25 - Final thoughts
- Scott — It's ok if freelancing isn't for you. Not everyone is great at all of these factors, myself included. However, with practice, you can be your own boss, work on your own terms, and make money. Also, don't be afraid to take on longer contracts with established teams and companies.
- Wes — Freelancing can be a great filler between jobs or career transitions.
- Syntax 117: Hasty Treat - How To Email Busy People
- Freshbooks - Breaking the Time Barrier
- Design Is a Job - Mike Monteiro
××× SIIIIICK ××× PIIIICKS ×××
- Scott: Displaced Gamers YouTube Channel
- Wes: Battery Adapter for DeWALT 20V Max 18v Dock Power Connector
- Scott: React For Everyone - Sign up for the year and save 25%!
- Wes: Master Gatsby - Use the coupon code 'Syntax' for $10 off!