I don't think you'll find any hourly-based software usage although that would be really interesting to see ... something like EC2-running-x-application boxes.
Nope, against the EULA too. http://www.adobe.com/products/eulas/pdfs/Photoshop_On_a_Serv...
You absolutely need to know JS well, and be proficient in HTML / CSS, so I'm not sure a focus on either front-end or back-end is good advice. However, with limited time you need to choose your battles well, so don't worry about mastering HTML / CSS at the start (ie, you can duplicate any site but you won't be as fast at it as someone who does this part as a regular gig.) Become proficient with Linux, but don't spend too much time there. Just learn the basics, the rest can quickly become a sand trap and your time is best spent elsewhere.
To make this work, you need six months living expenses at the start of doing client work. Three months is an absolute minimum and once you hit that point you are in critical territory. This is extremely important because this determines how you are able to plan and pick your jobs. Drop below the three month point and you are taking a hit in your job selection and rates because you are forced to take whatever comes along as opposed to having a buffer period where you can work out better gigs. This then places you in a vicious circle because not being able to select the right gigs might make getting your savings back up to six months difficult. Freelancing can be very lucrative to those who are well established in development circles, but at the beginning you will be hard pressed to even be able to pay your basic expenses.
You mentioned you are a traveler. Get out of San Francisco and move somewhere cheaper while you are just getting started. San Francisco is probably great for looking for start-ups to work for as a full timer, but you can do freelancing from anywhere. You can move back at a later time.
You might consider PHP because there are more things that you can do in the market with it due to easier hosting options and the large number of PHP content management systems available. If you were to learn a CMS such as Wordpress, Drupal or ExpressionEngine well then you could easily be landing your first clients within 3 - 6 months. CMS work is mostly configuration and converting static HTML / CSS into dynamic templates. You could focus on learning the CMS (pick just one to start) well for 2 - 3 months while also learning JS / CSS / HTML. After that, you can start looking for clients and move into PHP so that you can extend the platform.
CMS work in PHP may not sound as good as building custom applications in Python and it probably doesn't pay as well on average, but you are on a limited time frame. If you were already an A level developer in Python, then I would have different advice. You can always learn Python down the road a bit and eventually make a switch. One caveat on pay is that marketing / sales skills are ultimately more important for your rates than your programming language selection. I have seen great developers do horrible on the business side and I have seen developers with little skill raking in the cash. The business side is a totally different can of worms and will make you or break you.
Spending time learning is important but spending time building a portfolio isn't so important. A portfolio is necessary for designers, but developers just need to know their stuff. Building for friends and charities is good for learning, but it's not very helpful for your bottom line. Instead, you might focus on building small niche ideas of your own which you might be able to monetize. If nothing else, you could try selling the sites you build on Flippa. Another option (especially if you go the PHP route) is to build add-ons for content management systems and sell them on your site. Working for free should be limited to contributions to open source projects.
Always keep an open mind for alternative business models and plans. If you are a skilled marketer, you could even get started right away by bringing in work and then outsourcing that work to other developers. You could do some world travel and live very cheap by moving abroad to a place like S.E. Asia while you are getting started (that's what I did.)
Lastly, you might consider attempting to get started with a web development shop after your learning period. This will give you a chance to see how a good shop should be run while you continue to build your development chops.
I have been thinking about building out a service to help people get started in freelance web development. I will send you an email.
That's not a very workable strategy.
Work for your December client will interfere with finding your January client - or your January client will show up in October promising to be your December client.
Then your March client shows up, only he wants it done January, too.
Or you start looking for clients in December and you land three in April and three in May.
And your December client holds your invoice for 90 days and your March client doesn't pay you so in May you have to decide if it's worth taking them to small claims court for $2500 - hopefully you've learned enough to write a contract by that point.
Then, May changes the scope of the work and refuses to pay until you do it all over again.
In other words, finding clients is hard work. Getting paid is hard work. Doing what you know how to do is the easy part.
Stop tweeting, blogging and emailing. Stop posting two-liner responses to difficult topic discussions.
Interact with people. Find a forum that thinks deeply, trades ideas and inspirations and fosters creativity. A writing group, a Mensa chapter, heck a ToastMasters club.
Even Hacker News is shallow by comparison with real human discourse. Here we get frequent thought-pieces but not a lot of literature, and certainly extremenly curtailed interaction compared with even a minute of real dialog with real people.
And before you get defensive, let me tell you, if you pursue writing professionally, you'll learn this on your own pretty quickly. A critic or a professor will knock you on your ass and show you flaws in your work you'd never even considered. I don't care how much of a prodigy you are, you have a lot to learn.
The way you treat writer's block is through attrition. Just keep writing. No professional writer in the universe ever made it on talent alone, and the secret they all have is that they just write, a lot, every day, whether they feel like it or whether they think it's any good or not.
Also, this: "My vocabulary was wide and far-ranging, and I often utilized five to six different words, all synonyms, to re-iterate the same point in an argument..." is a feature, not a bug. Learning to articulate big ideas with simple words is one of the hardest, but most important, lessons to learn as a writer.
TL;DR there's nothing wrong with you and every writer experiences this. Keep calm and carry on.
But...I think you have to remember you're 16. Nothing you do is ever set in stone, regardless of age and everyone goes through changes. Teens go through changes that are a more volatile.
Try reframing it in your head. Personally, it seems like you're just "not into" writing right now. There's nothing wrong with that. There could be a deeper root cause, but I doubt you'll truly find it.
Keep writing (I guess you'll have to) and things may clear themselves up. Self awareness isn't always a great thing ;)
I'm a professional writer and much much older than you.
Writing, sometimes, is hard. The more you aspire to excellence, the harder it can become if you let it. And you should aspire. You're never good enough.
Here are a few things that may help from my experience.
1) Relax and enjoy it.2) Separate the creative process from the editing process. That is, on first-draft just let it flow. Write anything and everything that comes to mind. Don't worry about vocabulary, spelling, grammar, political correctness, offending your dog. Just get it out. Put on your editor's hat only after you've sputtered out. Then go back, rewrite, and edit. Fine writing is REWRITING. Sometimes many passes; many drafts.3) Keep a notebook. When your mind tickles you with a phrase about anything, write it down. Your subconscious mind is your best friend. But it's shy, easily offended. Censor yourself and it'll shut down. Invite it in and it'll serve you with ideas, images, and language of startling beauty and relevance. It'll also deceive you into believing that something it delivers is better than it is. But you can deal with this during the editing/rewriting phase.4) Give yourself permission to write. And to publish. Keep in mind that you can't please everyone with your writing. No matter how fine a writer you are, some readers will reject you for uncounted reasons. Your goal as a writer is to minimize the number of readers who do so.5) Writing is simply another way of talking. You talk naturally. If you relax, you'll learn to write naturally. To write well you do need to learn and absorb the basics of spelling, grammar, logic, formatting conventions, etc., etc. These technicalities should be internalized like muscle memory. But don't worry about that crap while writing the first draft. Just get it out.
Hope this helps.
I can type about as fast as I think, a speed that would be unattainable using a regular writing instrument based on re-creating memorized shapes using fine motor control. Maybe the slow-down that comes with using a 'real' pen or pencil for writing would give you the right frame of mind to unlock your inspiration.
The short version: try writing in longhand, see if that helps!
All your life you've been breathing and never noticed it, and then you notice it, and how weird it is.
Do you think this may be what you're experiencing? Just increased awareness?
As an over-cautious footnote: This will probably not happen, but if you start to notice "odd" things; (people who can put thoughts in your head, or hearing voices, or whatnot) please seek psychiatric assistance. Early intervention is important. But, like I say, this is almost certainly not relevant!
You're writing through a filter now (a personality you've constructed) whereas before you were writing in a selfless zen state.
So relax. Stop thinking so much and start training your mind through meditation. Read the teachings of Buddha. You will be alright. In fact, you'll be better than alright. This is just a bump in the road.
On the other hand, your current state of having to struggle for every sentence is more in line with the vast majority of peoples' normal experience when it comes to writing.
It is only you who knows what it is that you fear the most. Everybody knows his own fears. Most people cannot face them. So if you want your ability back face the fear that is holding you back, challenge it, fight it, beat it and then write it.
I don't consider myself to be super-smart or have some prodigal intelligence, and my school isn't MENSA. I'm in an average high school.
It's just that I feel my creative potential has been stifled. Thanks for understanding.
Make sure that you keep the simplicity even while adding all the new features that you'll no doubt get asked for!
Free to read online - or buy a hardcopy.
Unlike less useful works, Rosen actually provides a model for thinking about open source models. Even if you only care about commercial software licensing, this this information in this book will be valuable.
GPL: nobody can distribute your software as a closed-source system. Nobody can also link your software with non-opensource ones.
BSD, MIT, Apache: anyone is allowed to do anything with your code, provided that reference to your name is preserved.
If you code an open-source product, but it's intended for enterprise integration with lots of non-opensource components, go for a non-GPL licence, like MIT.
In most other cases, GPL is everything you need.
For non-software products that you want to share, use Creative Commons licenses.
Also the external links don't work for some reason, but it looks like it should work..
<c:ClickThroughAction URL="http://www.wellingtonstravel.com/" p:Ref.Key="ReportingURL_ClickThroughURL" />
They do talk to each other, users pay for the privilege.
Think of it as a win/win for skype/sip providers. Just not a win for the users.
granted, getting rid of NAT probably means Skype dies
There was "Skype for Asterisk" for a long time, and unsurprisingly it's the first hit on Google. It was killed shortly after MS bought Skype. Life is hard when you buy into proprietary protocols.
With that out of the way, it is possible to diagnose and fix the problem yourself. sudo apt-get install powertop, read some docs, experiment a bit. (Right here is where someone injects "buy a Mac".) And if you go the "safe" route and pick a laptop popular with Linux users, like a Thinkpad, you'll likely have better luck. My laptop (an X201) gets around 6 hours and I haven't changed anything.
Here's a Phoronix article on the issue and fix that covers it in detail: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=linux...
And here's (what I think is) the corresponding bug for Ubuntu: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/760131
Please note that even though that Ubuntu bug is marked as fixed, the following comment on it seems to call that into question:https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/760131/...
Either way, it sounds like it will be fixed in 12.04.
Sorry I can't be more specific, but have a look around at the recent news on this topic.
Do you want to basically work on your own app but perhaps do custom installs of it, or integration work with it and other systems? Then focus on building on a basic app - while you're talking to potential clients. See if any actually want to use it, and what the pain points are.
I don't do 'design' work specifically, but I suspect if you were pitching 'web site design' to people, they'd want to see a portfolio.
Here's my 'portfolio':
website with my name on it, my location, and some description of what I do.links to sample code/projects (just a handful)link to bloglink to resume (outdated by 2 years)list of some moderately current projects (yes, I know you won't have that right now)list of tech I like to work with
That's my 'portfolio' on my site.
What often gets people to me, however, isn't that. It's referrals. Word of mouth referrals from people in my network. But perhaps even more importantly, I participate in local user groups. I nominally still run the local php/mysql group, although I don't do as much day to day as I did years ago. But having my name associated with the local PHP group on meetup.com means I get cold calls from people just because I organize the group.
I get probably 1 a month on average - some random project someone needs done, and they don't know where to turn. They don't care about my resume, portfolio or anything else. They have a need and need it done fast. I sometimes refer them to other people in the local group or my larger network, or take it myself.
"networking" is important, but sometimes a nebulous idea, especially for people who are just starting out. Join other networks - get out there and socialize some, and let people know what you can do. But also promote yourself. An easy way to do that is to run your own group and publicize the heck out of it.
Here's another idea:
Go to local chambers of commerce and organize a 'meet the geeks' ("meet and geek" as a name?) night for local web freelancers in your area and the chamber members. Have it be informal - maybe a couple short presentations by people in the group about "how to get started on the web" or "things to look for in a web designer". DO NOT present yourself, but do organize it. Get everyone's name.
The local chambers should be able to find a space and food and get the word out to their members.
Make yourself known as the go-to guy/gal in your area for work. Even if you can't do the work yourself - that's not as important as being the middleman for that information.
This will end up paying dividends simply because almost no one else will ever do this. The fact that you put 3 hours in to organizing an event and getting people to do something will raise your stature and peoples' estimation of what you can do 100x what it actually is, but that doesn't matter.
Feel free to ping me if you want to discuss this more, or need more help getting started freelancing. I run indieconf.com, a conference for freelancers - perhaps you could attend this fall? (shameless plug!)
EDIT: Someone wrote me asking why I said to not introduce yourself. I was saying "don't present yourself" as in "don't do a presentation yourself", but instead have the event be a spot for other people to present themselves. You'll still have a chance to meet and mingle with X other people, you won't have to be as nervous, and the people you spotlight will reciprocate nice things back to you over time.
Freelancing is a Business
First make sure you realize you're starting a business. You may be working by yourself but you're starting a business like any other. You'll need to do accounting, marketing and sales, planning, etc. You can't sleep all day, lounge around, and expect work to get done. Make sure you're disciplined enough to do the work.
If you have a full time job don't quit just yet. Get a few freelance projects under your belt first. Make sure you have months of income in the bank to get you through the slow times. If you've decided to move to freelance because you lost your job think long and hard about it. Do you want to run your own business or do you just like to code? Are you prepared to chase down clients and sell your services to them?
Learn about billing and invoicing. Don't expect to bill 40+ hours a week, especially when you first start. There's overhead in running any business. You'll have tasks that aren't billable. Account for this.
You need to have people skills to run a business, especially if you haven't already established yourself. If you're not great at selling or interacting with people focus on improving these skills.
Your potential clients need to know you're credible. This is why many people have recommended improving your portfolio. In reality there are multiple ways to build credibility and the best one for you depends on what you do.
Understand your target client. You are trying to sell your services to them. You need to know what they want and need. If your client isn't technical then what good will code samples do? If your client is the CTO of a development firm how useful will a pretty website be without code?
In general it's a good idea to have a nice looking website with some sample work. It doesn't need to be an amazing design but make sure it doesn't look like a coder with no design skills made it. Pay someone if you have to, you want your business to look good after all.
The actual samples and quantity doesn't matter too much so long as it fits two criteria: it's good and it highlights what you do. If you write code have a few samples from the languages you work in. If you build basic content sites for businesses (eg CMS or ecommerce sites) put some screenshots up or link to them. If you're a designer put up some nice designs.
Portfolios are best for incoming leads, when potential clients come to you. They don't know who you are and are making a judgement based on your website. As I highlight below networking is a much better and more likely way for an unestablished freelancer to get work. Don't expect many (if any) people to stumble onto your portfolio and hire you from it.
While a portfolio style website is nice it's even better if you can establish yourself through work, video, or words. This means blogging, speaking at conferences, starting or contributing to open source projects, and hosting or organizing events related to your expertise. Establish yourself as an expert at what you do.
Set an hourly rate that reflects your skills and raise it over time. I recommend billing at least $50 per hour. Setting a higher rate actually implies credibility. That said, you'd better be able to deliver. Someone paying for your time expects to get quality work out of it.
You'll always have more credibility if you can meet someone in person. Which leads to networking.
Network, Network, Network!
In my opinion this is the absolute best way to get clients. Get out there and meet them in person. Reach out to people you've worked with in the past and see if they need some work done (don't steal your employer's clients though). Get on meetup.com and go to events, lots of them.
Don't network for just yourself, do it for others. If you run into someone who needs a designer but you write code put them in touch with a freelance designer who does good work. Help out your fellow freelancers and small business owners and they will return the favor. Even if they don't you'll be happy to know you helped a friend.
Just because people are giving you recommendations doesn't mean you can't get work elsewhere. Try everything that comes to mind.
Try looking through the computer gigs section of craigslist. I tried this once when I needed new clients. I emailed less than 10 people, had a few respond, and ended up with one client.
Get Your Hands Dirty
Finally, be prepared to do work you hate when you first start out. You may have to accept work you don't enjoy doing to establish yourself and get experience. My first substantial freelance gig was a content site / CMS project. I hate content sites. I find them tedious and boring. I did it anyway. You have to do what you have to do.
Once you start getting enough work you can turn down projects you don't want to do. Find what you like, focus on that, but for now do whatever people will pay for.
I wrote a Ruby gem because it was a fun project. It was in a problem domain that interested me. A developer found the gem, saw that it would be useful for his project, and soon became my first client.
I tried the "MVP for $500" approach a few months back. It generated some solid leads, but none of the projects were remotely as fun or as interesting as my current one. It's certainly doable to compete based on some perfect balance of price vs. quality, but I've found it's much more rewarding (mentally and financially) to compete by being the #1 expert of some piece of software a client wants to use.
Ruby dev Giles Bowkett wrote a pretty good blog post on lead generation for freelancers, http://gilesbowkett.blogspot.com/2010/03/programmers-what-to....
Have you thought of scoping out the established freelancers in your area and contact them to do some of their lower level work at a competitive rate and with permission to link to those projects that you worked on? You certainly don't want to claim credit for work you didn't do. So you do need to be clear as to what you did. Showing your are a dependable team worker is going to be in your favour.
My pitch was: MVP For $1k. You get an MVP for 1k. 0 iterations. I could have charged $3-5k at least, looking back.
See hn thread here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2075928
This was the building block of my former consulting company.
Additionally, I'd recommend cold calling (you have to be good in sales, if you're not, get better at it now -- go read the ultimate sales machine). It's highly effective. Personal experience.
My problem was my network. I had only one regular client, a small web consultancy that gave me a couple projects. But they weren't very profitable themselves and so didn't want to pay me much, and were slow to pay even then. Beyond that I had to get work from freelancing job boards, which are a poor way to get good-paying work.
After about 6 months of trying to set up a sustainable business, only getting the occasional small gig and going into debt for the trouble, I had to call it quits. I now work at a consulting firm. I like it because it's a similar experience, but other people bring the work to me :)
My point is that having a network of people who respect your work is important. Ideally, starting out this alone should be enough for you to break even (net of living expenses). From there you can nurture those clients (they're your lifeblood) and try to expand. You should only resort to job boards as an act of desperation to keep your pipeline from drying up.
Reach out to an open source project that needs a new website and offer your services for free, or make a simple online utility to show off what you can do, and open source that as well (open sourcing your products shows confidence in your code).
Also (shameless plug ahead): if you're looking to pick up some freelance gigs, sign up at http://gun.io and get notified when new freelance gigs for your skills are posted.
Here's the text:
Many have asked how I'm finding freelance jobs in this market. Well, here it is! A couple months ago I decided that I was not going to be able continue bringing on clients if I didn't bust my butt trying. I spent some time on CareerBuilder and Monster Jobs but had zero luck. Those sites are not built for the freelancer, but Craigslist is.
Craigslist is a Freelancer's Dream Come TrueThere are so many job postings on Craigslist it seems impossible to sift through them all. To add to the problem, Craigslist is still playing this "locals-only" game where they try to trap you in your city's section. Well, as a freelancer, location is irrelevant. We can work from our home in our pajamas. So, how do break out of this localized prison? Thankfully, Craigslist gives you almost everything you need.
Craigslist Loves RSS Feeds Almost as Much as I DoEver notice there are no images on the Craigslist site other than those inserted in the listings? If so, you missed a very important one. At the bottom of each search results page there is an orange RSS feed button and that's the most important part of this setup.
Craigslist + RSS + NetvibesForget about your love affair with Google for one second. Google Reader is lame in comparison to the nifty, easily customizable Netvibes. For this example, it's what I'm using and it works perfectly.
Tools Gathered: Check. Now It's Time to Find JobsOn Craigslist's home page, you may or may not have noticed that there is a list on the right hand ride of the layout labeled "US Cities". This isn't by accident. It happens to be the largest cities in the US and that's exactly who I want to be targeting as a freelancer. Click on the first one in the list (Atlanta) and let's get started.
Under Jobs, I select "Web/Info Design". Select whatever option you'd like.Select all the search options you like, specifically "telecommute"No need to enter any search terms, just click SearchThere it is! Your list of jobs for that city.Scroll to the bottom right and grab that RSS feedImport that into NetvibesTitle the feed whatever you'd like (e.g. "Web Jobs: Atlanta")Now repeat these steps for all the other cities you'd like to charge a premium for your amazing services
Contact the Job PostersOnce you have the list of jobs, you need to start contacting the job posters. Be courteous, include your resume and your portfolio and don't forget your phone number! Try your best to stand out. Be very clear with your subject line what it is you're e-mailing them for. They are getting hammered with requests so you don't want to blend in.
It's a Numbers GameRecently, several people have asked how I am using Craigslist to push my freelance career forward. I thought this would be the easiest and most beneficial to spread the very simple concept so that more of you can try it. It is not fool proof and it does take work. Before I recently became maxed out with work, I was sending out 20 resumes a day. I would go for days without a single response because of the amount of e-mails the job poster was receiving. It's a numbers game and if you're persistent, it will work to your advantage.
Build a personal site - nothing crazy and nothing that is difficult to update or requires constant maintenance to stop it looking dead (e.g., blog component or 'latest news').
Make sure friends and family all know exactly what you do and that you're looking for work. They'll keep an ear out for opportunities. Sometimes they might be over-enthusiastic, but any lead has value. If your work queue is empty, you can handle a few time-wasters or painful jobs to get your start.
Major charities will usually turn down offers of unpaid online work (they want donations) so try for smaller ones. Or community sports groups. Companies may be wary of someone without a portfolio but given your spare time, you can afford to design a concept to prove your ability - no obligation to them. There is a line re: 'work for free or full-rate, but never for cheap', so you might have luck doing some charitable freebies rather than cut-price for small businesses.
Remember that the little jobs will often be the most painful, so don't give up when the early projects drag out. Always be building in your head a picture of how long certain types of tasks take you. Track it manually if you need to - concept design, cut to HTML/CSS, etc.
Business networking can help. Many areas have little small business organisations that will have get togethers or advisors.
Especially look to connect with marketing people who work for small businesses with suppliers/sponsors/etc and marketing freelancers who need a go-to web guy. Make an initial contact through an unrelated interest rather than going in with a sales pitch immediately IMO. If you are a strong programmer, speak with small graphic designers who likely farm out their backend work. Or if you're a designer, try to get a feel for which IT companies want a designer they can tap either as a contractor or someone directly in contact with their client.
(Me: Web developer about to complete a 14th year in business, now with two employees. Started by working on the side during an on-the-job traineeship. All work is now just word of mouth; have never advertised, barely bothered networking, etc.)
Most people that get into the freelance game have little experience selling themselves (I know I sure did), I would suggest sales skills will help you much more than a portfolio.
A person will hire you if they believe you can get the job done at a price they like. A portfolio is just a small part of saying I'm the right person for the job.
No-one ever asked me for for a portfolio when I was doing websites, because they aren't interested in what I did in the past, they are interested in what I can do for them. Obviously the more complicated the job, the more proof someone will be likely to ask for. Wasn't sure if your talking about making websites or more complicated development.
Can you post specifically what you have done to try and get a freelance gig. I feel we can help you much better then, rather than give generic advice about yeah portfolios are helpful(which you already know).
If you are a developer, and you seem relatively smart, there are hundreds of people waiting in line to hire you. Everyone needs a web developer. Everyone.
1.) Think about a project you'd like to work on. It doesn't have to be crazy, but preferably has elements that will challenge you. The best projects will hands down will be the development of tools that are useful to you/open source.
2.) If you have any network at all: friends, family or previous clients, send out a quick email. Tell them what you're offering and ask if they need anything done. Make use of those closest to you/familiar with your work.
3.) Post your info on the monthly HN "Seeking Freelancers" post. This is a great way to churn out quality projects.
4.) Get on and contribute to communities like Forrst (if you don't have an invite, let me know and I'll set you up) and GitHub. There are a lot of people on these sites that tend to have overflow work that's perfect for a freelancer. Just be helpful with others and contribute ideas frequently and you'll come out on top.
If you have any other questions, feel free to shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Best of luck!
I've had one gig so far for $750 (that was an invite, not sure if from elance or the client) and it went really well. I'm hoping to find two gigs a month in the $500-1500 range each, because then I will be able to sustain myself indefinitely here in Idaho.
I think that most of the people on Hacker News are very talented and may not know it, or are sitting on achievements that they don't recognize. So maybe do some soul searching or ask friends if you have done anything they have found useful/impressive and then use that for your portfolio.
I have also been fixing computers over the last year to bootstrap but am pretty burned out on it because I did that for 3 years before quitting my job a year ago. I'm wary about being on call in my town because the main reason I'm going freelance is autonomy.
I'm very interested in being part of a freelance network that uses strength in numbers to find gigs and help guarantee work without putting undo pressure on individuals, or forcing them to give up their independence.
I guess this was an overshare but I've given up on pride and am willing to do whatever it takes to succeed this time.
Ultimately if you land a job freelancing the client is looking for a few key things, an excellent portfolio, good communications skills, and most of all experience. These qualities take time to develop and allow the client to put more trust in the hands of someone outside the company.
An alternate to freelancing is working for some small startup for a year at a time. You'll get a wealth of experience and also a chance to build your portfolio. Good luck.
1) While I found most non-technical folks seeking freelancers to prefer a portfolio over a resume, the same wasn't true for dev firms. They usually have technical staff on board, so even though I lacked a portfolio at the time, they still recognized my technical accomplishments and background (whereas my non-technical clients really don't understand that stuff, they'd rather see a portfolio).
2) Many make use of contractors at a regular frequency, so if you're able to hook up with one, or a few, they'll help provide steady work during the early times.
3) Since they provide steady work, you don't have to concentrate as much on networking or marketing yourself. You'll eventually have to worry about that stuff, but when you're starting out you have so many other things to worry about. Dev firms help defer that burden, or at least keep the work coming while you figure that stuff out.
Best of luck. Freelancing can be tough when you start out, but very rewarding once you get into a good rhythm.
Here's a sample invoice:https://github.com/aantix/big_bucks_no_whammies/blob/master/...
Basically the gist of it is to offer people something simple for free, to build relationships.
Keep in in mind that technical is only half of it. Communication in the other half. The client wants someone that they can talk to, feel comfortable with and trust. If the client and you are comfortable, you're a long way there, even with limited experience. So again, talk to people.
If you do get online work, great, but I think you will have a better chance of getting yourself established by starting locally. Also, only take work you can comfortably handle, especially when building a reputation. Don't get desperate and say yes to bad jobs. Clients value dependability over heroic efforts.
Even though those seemingly unimportant jobs were all I had, I was grateful because I knew they would lead to more spectacular and promising prospects.
As expected, almost a year later, I was landing great jobs thanks to my quick, small jobs at the start. People starting seeing that the jobs were finished, people were happy etc.. Although my work is now in another realm, those qualities hold true anywhere.
Try to find some jobs in your own network, see if anyone knows someone that needs a website built or even just a simple button designed. That's how I would start again if I had to.
Freelancing can be a great job but it takes time to build up a good client roster. The key to having a decent life while freelancing is having a client roster that needs ongoing work so you aren't constantly hustling for work.
Also, the startup I'm currently working on does something directly relevant, so you might be interested in updates: http://www.instahero.com/
Once I did something similar with a prototype, but it was on reddit instead of odesk, and turned into a great high-paying gig.
Of course, it would be better if you networked.
Ask everyone you have interacted with on some sort of professional level to recommend you on LinkedIn. If they don't have an account, offer to help them sign up.
Email everyone you know and tell them you're looking for work, and make it clear what you do (this should be in completely non-technical terms).
Answer job postings personally. Online jobs have a lot of applicants, so make sure you are showcasing your personality, as well as your skills. Not every job is a good fit, so better to eliminate the obvious duds as early as possible.
Be honest. Don't try to sound like you have more experience than you do, but also don't be afraid to speak authoritatively about topics you know well.
Respect yourself. You are interviewing to solve someone else's problems, so if you're the expert in the room (so to speak), don't be afraid to be firm on how things should be done. Quality clients should respect you for this, and you're better off without the few you'll lose anyway.
Network anywhere and everywhere!
Otherwise you basically have to either undercut everybody in your bids to make yourself attractive on a cost basis, or when you bid on a project, show the customer a "proof of concept" or something that shows you already have something solid to show them before they choose a freelancer, which may or may not be feasible for the type of projects you're interested in doing.
When I first started freelancing, I spent 10 hours on a redesign for a local fitness boutique. It was an easy project that earned $700, but I would've done it for free if I knew all the business they'd send my way after. After seeing the site, the receptionist's brother wanted a website for his bike store, another client wanted a new site for his business, even the guy who cut my hair wanted me to make him a website after seeing the one project I had done.
If you can't find anyone in your network that's looking for help, try contacting local businesses with crappy websites. You can create some screen-shots of a potential redesign or even create a working demo page using pre-built themes (check out trial.mysitemyway.com). You'd be surprised at how many projects you can get from this type of outreach.
I am a fan of what he gives away for free: https://www.odesk.com/blog/2011/04/5-techniques-to-double-yo...
For the provision they will do all the legal work - which can be considerable. I'm very satisfied with this arrangement.
I would recommend you to get in touch with agencies. Just make sure they don't screw you over - the division should be at least 80/20 in your favor.
Its really interesting to look back and see how our company was formed by the feedback we received. Early on we had one idea which we called 'KaBadge' and we asked what everyone thought here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=795952
This made us discover an even bigger need. Before people were going to think about karma/badge/point portability they were going to need systems to help award them. We switched gears really quick and went to work. It look a bit of time to convince ourselves that it would be possible. This was way before someone tossed out the term 'gamification' so it was really hard to do any research on this new market.
Then we came back to the community with IActionable: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1126780
Unfortunately at that time there was no way we could have moved to California to be part of YC. (families, babies, mortgages, etc) But, we were lucky enough to discover a local (Utah) incubator back in 2010. Eventually my friend and I convinced ourselves to quit our jobs: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1347464
We quickly raised a seed round after the program and haven't looked back. Things are definitely still evolving but its been an awesome roller-coaster ride so far.
From the title, I thought this would be about projects that began as "Show HN" (not began as YC startups, and then showed HN), and I find that idea, of sideprojects that became something greater, intriguing.
Great idea to compile such a list.
And I'm pretty proud of my website, too.
It was great feedback--comment #1 (1055 days ago) is in our app and boosted our conversion into solid double-digits: "You need a sample document, so people can test out the 'using your mouse to sign' part without signing up."
The photos will run you around $195/mo for every asset Evox owns (not just what you see on Auto Swatch). They have 360 views, videos, etc etc.
"I have no idea who I would talk to about something like this (without connections there)."
Really though? Just email a few people in each place using LinkedIn with titles like "Business Development" or "Corporate Development". In 2 seconds this guy looks promising:
You can probably guess their email addresses or use google to ferret out the pattern. Lead411.com is actually useful to save you time, but their customer support sucks when you decide you want to cancel that account.
If you search for them in LinkedIn and their name turns up "Private", use google to find bits of their linkedin profile. Coming to linkedin from a google search gives up all the "private" data.
Be bold. I've emailed complete strangers everywhere and have gotten meetings. I have a habit of emailing whoever I want. Mark Cuban. Marc Benioff. Howard Schultz. And I get meetings.
The most important part of reaching out to folks is to follow up. I can't believe how many times I've had to send two or three notes to the same person. Yes, you can become a nuisance. Try to do it nicely. There is a way to accomplish this without coming off as an automated spammer. I've heard from multiple people I've emailed 3 times, that they are glad I followed up with them, because they simply get too busy to remember to make an entry for me in a calendar. Even if you hear from someone and then they blow you off (e.g. don't make it to the conference call, etc.) Keep following up!
The back-end is Django. Should easily be Heroku-able if you offload the assets to S3.
If that is the primary reason you are interested in selling though, I would start thinking: how could you re-position the site to be successful? Just to throw out some ideas, instead of researching cars, could it be for recruiters to research programmer candidates? Or could it be for scrap-bookers to research and purchase scrap booking materials. Or could it be for gardeners to research and purchase plants? Or could it be for homeowners to research and purchase snow blowers? Etc...
With the current site, you are trying to get revenue outside of where the transaction is made. While this is possible, it is ALWAYS easier to make money at the point the transaction is made.
I challenge you, as I have challenged these people in the past, if it has "that much" potential than why not continue to do it yourself?
I am sure if you saw an opportunity to make a lot of money, you could get past the idea of working with investors, and media folks. Shit if you made enough money you could just hire someone to handle it.
Saw your site when it first launched and really loved the look and feel of it. Just curious about the numbers for the site - i.e. maintenance costs, monthly visitors, etc. How much would you value the site?
I'm sad to see that you're at the point of shutting it down but I hope it's provided you with a learning experience that drives you toward success.
Like nick says, this does have a lot of potential to people who have time to invest.
Nice job! (to everyone who were involved with it)