How to live a successful life as a freelance software developer
- Share what you know
- Be the community
- Contribute your code
- Manage your cash flow
Successfully manage three of these pillars and you can have a stable career. Successfully manage all four and you will create a rock solid foundation to build the life you want.
The foundations of each of these pillars can go very, very deep but they all have a simple first step to get started. Don’t get lost in the details of each section or discouraged when you look at how deep somebody else has taken these principles in there own life and business.
This isn’t about them it’s about you. Learn from the experts, borrow and steal but make it yours.
Share What You Know
The more people who know that you know what you know the more valuable you are. Don’t be selfish, share your knowledge. Somebody out there knows more than you but somebody out there also knows less. Share for the person who knows less and learn from the person who knows more.
You have the ability to reach a unique cross section of this world. Nobody has the ability to reach the exact same parts of the world as you do.
Be the Community
Life can be lonely behind a computer screen and you need community and real life relationships. Attend every meet up, user group, hackathon and code camp you can get to. Volunteer to present, ask questions and look for opportunities to help. Always go to the after party.
Make friends who don’t code. Ride your bike, climb a tree and jump in a river. Never forget that no algorithm or code however beautifully crafted can match the beauty of a white bark pine at 10,000 ft.
Contribute Your Code
Contribute code to an open source project and you’ll be sharing what you know and being the community at the same time. Have your code reviewed and criticized by the world.
You are not your code, internet trolls can’t give you a hug when you come home from work and continually improving your skills matters more then what you delivered yesterday.
Know Your Cash Flow
Life takes money so make sure you have enough of it. Know your expenses and have a plan if all your projects stopped tomorrow.
The ability to walk away from a project because you don’t need the money that comes with it is the most powerful leverage you can have. You should always be willing to walk away. Value freedom of movement.
If you don’t have more than one source of income you must have a plan for when you have no income.
Practice living below your means. It’s never as bad as you fear it might be.