Another Birthday Introspection

August
21
2010

Just as I did last year, I’ll use my birthday as an opportunity to scrutinize where I’m at in my two to five year plan. This year will be a little different, because now I have a roster of clients to help me put things in perspective.

To my mind, I’ve improved a great deal at “digging my well”. Lining up the next job has become something that I endeavour to invest time in while I’m working hard in the present. The leads don’t always pan out, and I’ve probably lost as many potential clients as I’ve won, but I’m certainly getting better.

I’ve also refused to let the term “freelancer” imply in the minds of prospective clients that I work for cheap or for free. That’s not to say that I’ve not done some pro bono, but I do it on my terms, for whom I want to, when I want to. I’ve set price guides on my website, not just for my prospects’ benefit, but for my own. That goes beyond giving everyone a ballpark idea of what they’ll have to spend to secure my services.

It will also prevent me from getting jaded. Indulge me while I explain…

Before you start pointing fingers…

My twitter feed is chock full of some of world’s best web designers and developers, and when I surf the net, very little of that time is a waste. I’m very often learning something practical or gleaning whatever wisdom they have to dispense regarding being in the profession itself.

What is sometimes overwhelmingly common, is that web industry folk love to “talk shop” amongst each other. By “talking shop”, I actually mean “bitching about clients”. I’m definitely guilty of it. I’ve made no secret that I love to visit Clients From Hell, and I’ve even posted a video that still cracks me up every time I watch it, about the Client Vendor Relationship.

These are guilty pleasures, and in defense of clients, a lot of our “problems” with them are brought on by us. Whether by the way we posture ourselves at the outset of our relationship, or by the expectations or precedence that we’ve unwittingly set. A lack of clarity on our part often ends up creating the relationship we end up complaining about.

Mowing my own lawn

Beyond trying to make a go of my own freelance business, I recently accepted some sub-contract work from a local agency. It’s all part of not waiting until you’re thirsty to dig your well. Though the client for this project is in Suwanee, Georgia (I think that’s all I’m allowed to say) and doesn’t draw from the market I actually live in, I have in essence started competing with myself. By providing said agency with my top-notch coding ability in WordPress customization, I will have improved their portfolio by a tick, thereby making them slightly tougher competition to myself for local clients.

Don’t get me wrong ‚Äî if a client is going to go out of state, province, or even country, they probably won’t do so to hire a freelancer, unless it’s a dude like Elliot Jay Stocks, Chris Spooner, David Shea, Jeffrey Zeldman, or Eric Myers. In most cases these people probably won’t even accept freelance work unless it’s huge. They’re busy people. The movers and shakers in the industry. No, if a client strays from home like that, they’re far more likely to seek a reputable agency. My point being, that I probably would never have had an opportunity to work on that project had I not accepted the sub-contract work.

I don’t know how my relationship with that agency will pan out long-term, but for now it’s been fun working on something like this.

As long as I’m happy

My mother always told us that she would be proud of us as long as we did something that made us happy. Mom’s pretty damn proud. I love coding web. When I do have a lull I’m a little bit miserable about it. If I have any new goal forging ahead it’s to always have code to write. That way, I’ll keep making Momma proud.

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Digging Into WordPress

2 Responses

  1. Danielle Neveu says:

    Thanks for the laughs. This web page rocks. Little sister is also proud of you, and thinks what you are doing is very interesting. Not exactly for me, but maybe you can inspire Jacob to get involved as he finds it fascinating as you do. He is also a smart cookie and I would rather see him doing something productive on the computer rather than wasting time playing games!!!

    Hope you had a great birthday and sorry I am a day late. I was busy doing what I love, sports (Baseball tournament). Also, your nephew Zack was busy in his own soccer championship final. Unlike his mother’s team, his team took 1st place in a 6-5 overtime nail biter.

    So I hope with this comment submission, I am now on some kind of mailing list, where I will get notifications when something new is added. I love the way you write and look forward to any and all new entries.

    Love ya!
    Dani

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