I’m happy to say I’ve taken the leap from full-time work (programming or managing programmers)….to part-time freelance programming, to full on consulting. What I mean by this, “consulting”, is I’ve jumped into a lifestyle that has no guarantee of a paycheck or a job, past today. In return I get the flexibility I need to spend time with my kids and perhaps equally important, spend time with myself on my own terms.
I left a full-time job one month ago and found my first paying gig 2 weeks ago. I’d say it took me 4 weeks of emailing, calling, lunching and meeting to secure this job. I don’t think that was a particularly long time to look for work, and I am happy with my ability to drum up this business. But it was a bit nerve wrecking, not knowing when something would come through, and I learned a little bit through the process.
- Your rate is a non-starter. If you have a minimum $/hour you need to secure, inform your potential client of this as early as possible. There is no reason to meet in person if they are unwilling or unable to pay your rate.
- Timing is a bit more flexible. Even if you are booked solid right now and a potential client needs you to start ASAP, you can suggest a later start date. Let them know when you would be able to give them more hours…perhaps they are flexible.
- Some clients may choose not to pay you, or drop out of the engagement without any warning. Be smart about who you engage with (do they have funding…do they have other employees or contractors?). But ultimately, this is a risk you have to expect.
- Always be looking for the next contract. Consulting engagements come and go and may take a month’s lead time to secure. You need to always be looking for the next job.