After being laid off from my part time food service job for the summer I decided that going back to the kitchen was not an option considering I’m a Computer Science student. My plan was to ask some acquaintances who own their own small businesses if they wanted to hire me to re-design or make entirely new web sites for them. I spent some time reading various blogs and articles about freelance web development before starting my mission. To my surprise I got work on my first inquiry.
Being a rational person who did his homework I made sure to read not only about the pros of freelance web design, but also the cons. Reading about the negative aspects helped me prepare for the immediate challenges of pursuing freelance work. Within the first 3 days of working with the client most items on the list of cons became a reality for me. Regardless while sitting late at night working on prototypes I felt more happy and content than I have in several years. I felt in control and mentally stimulated, as well as creatively challenged. However, about six days in that feeling started to fade.
Around day six I was starting to add content to the grid I had built. Transcribing the menu items into HTML was tedious and took time. About half-way through I found a more efficient workflow which made me feel better about the whole project again.
At twelve days I had run several revisions, found a photographer and had a working version of the site ready. I was on a daily schedule of revisions with the client. Each revision was meet with positivity, and the revisions became more minor with each e-mail. Throughout the project my feeling of achievement and confidence followed a sinusoidal pattern. Are these growing pains normal for most developers?
Today is day fourteen and the time to migrate the site to the clients host is here. Considering the site is a brochure site I learned a lot both technically and logistically. Furthermore, I learned that no matter how much planning, and preparation one devotes before writing code there are always interesting new problems to solve – be it on the technical side or the client interaction site.
Ultimately I enjoyed my first freelance job. I have never earned money in such a self-directed manner. The biggest problems I discovered with continuing to freelance while going to school full time is making time for the project, and finding consistent work.