Recently I have been seriously questioning my desire to be a Rails freelancer. I love RoR and coding and all that goes with being a freelancer except for the continuos struggle to find new clients.
That struggle has been the core of my recent frustrations and the reason for questioning freelancing. For those of you that are considering becoming a freelancer, do not get me wrong, it is a great life and I would never try to deter anybody from becoming a freelance developer. I think that the one-person freelance operation is great but I tried to take it further.
What are the reasons that people prefer to freelance as opposed to working for the man? Two main reasons in my opinion; higher pay and not working in an office. What would make a developer want to work for a company? In my opinion again, I feel it is for security and benefits.
That is what I wanted to offer the guys that work with me; benefits and security.
I have learned an amazingly lot about running a business mostly the hard way after my first year. Employees simply will cost more money and by employees I mean W-2 employees. Contractors cost less for a business. So I struggled with that; my desire to help out those working with me and the increased cost to do so.
Ultimately, I recently failed a couple of those guys. I just could not find any work for them. What leads I had were mostly people with great ideas and no money. Others seemed to prefer the lost cost development available overseas. I looked on the various freelance sites and boards but all there are there are jobs that pay less than if I went to work in a fast food restaurant.
I then thought about RoR telecommute jobs. There are not many of those out there. I guess it is that companies feel that they cannot trust a person to work remotely. Maybe they hate working in an office and figure that everybody should have to be miserable too. I know that some big name developers have repeatedly commented on the lack of telecommute jobs. Hey I might want to work for a Bay Area company but I sure as shit do not want to work there. I got a headhunter email from Boston asking if I was interested in moving. Why the hell would I leave my beautiful Phoenix weather to go play in the cold and snow?
So I am left with the idea of local jobs. Punching the time clock (do they still have time clocks anymore) and sitting in an office. Would I rather do that than be a freelancer? Well, no but the other option is hoping to get new business. Who know, maybe tomorrow the phone will ring with a great big shiny new application that needs to be built.
Bottom line, do what makes you happy if you can. Maybe my feelings are just those of somebody in their 40’s and maybe I would fell differently if I were in my 20’s.