What’s life like as a freelance programmer?

Challenges of Freelancing

Like any other career freelancing comes with a lot of challenges.

The challenges require more responsibility. Here are a few challenges to consider:

  • You have to communicate, developing influence within the organization and its partners without necessarily being there on site.
  • You have to deal with clients who don’t pay; therefore your income stream is less reliable.
  • You have to pay for your own insurance, both health insurance and any business insurance you decide to get.
  • You have to create your own social life.
  • You have to own failures 100%. There is nobody else to blame when a project fails. If you built it a certain way and its buggy then guess who the client is going to pointing a finger at? Even if it is not your fault, guess who’s going to potentially lose?
  • You have to deal with the challenges of incorporation, accounting, quarterly taxes (in the US), and a separate bank account.
  • Finally, you have the big challenge of hunting clients, probably the most important part, because without them there is no work and no payment and your consulting business is dead! Eventually there is the challenge of hiring people to replace you, but that is outside the scope of this post.

Freedom

The largest reward of freelancing is a tremendous amount of freedom. No other job gives you full control over your time, even when compared to being the CEO of a company.

You don’t have to show up at an office and wake up at a specific time.

You don’t have to have as a boss someone you may perceive as being beneath you.

You can move from city to city if you’d like.

If you are feeling inclined, you can work much longer hours and get paid much more money.

You can work on new entrepreneurial venture or you can devote time to hobbies.

You can build your self-esteem in an incredible way through a feeling of independence and control in your life.

Money

The average Senior Software Engineer salary in Austin, TX is $120,000 USD/year. That’s pretty high. Now consider that the Senior Engineering Consultant charges at $120 USD/hr. That’s $234,000 USD/year working 8 hours per day. If you’re choosing your projects right, you’ll probably enjoy doing more than that and start seeing closer to $260,000-300,000 USD/year. Suddenly your parents aren’t mentioning that you didn’t become that doctor or lawyer anymore.

Autonomy

You want more work? Take on more work.

You want to take it easy for a while and spend time with the family? Pull back your available hours.

When you’re freelancing, it’s your call. Working full-time you’re committed to a minimum number of hours and deadlines that are tied to other people’s commitments that you probably didn’t choose. You’re in charge of your life when you’re a consultant.

Social Life

You’ll almost never hear from a freelancer “I can’t attend that event because I have to work on that day”, unless they are deliberately trying to avoid the event or perhaps managing their own time ineffectively. The fact is that as a freelancer you have a much more flexible work schedule than a full-time job and you can balance that with a strong social life. You may have to take the odd call or answer the odd email or two during your outing, but you can enjoy saying ‘yes’ to more event invitations.

You will however be required to take on more responsibility for your own social life as a freelancer as it will not be provided to you in “fun and mandatory company parties”.

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Best of luck on your online business, Engineer!

Jomel

Jomel is an Online Engineer who works at home to generate extra income. He is one of your reliable guide to best and effective Business Lifestyle Strategies for Engineers

Philippians 4:13
I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength.

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