Looking to freelance with some partners, where can we source work from? Looking to freelance with some partners, where can we source work from?
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  1. #1

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    Default Looking to freelance with some partners, where can we source work from?

    Hi,

    As per the title I am looking to get into freelancing with a few friends and was interesting in finding out how you folks source work and do you use any resources, agencies etc?

    We will be specialising in Web Application & Cloud Development using Microsoft technology stack (ASP.NET, C#, Web API, Azure etc) and provide consultancy servicces covering Data (ETL, warehousing, migration and architectural guidance), Information Technology, Business Development and Support services.

    The plan is to start with a small contract, something cheap for us but one that we can deliver to a high quality on time and budget however we know that most companies don't respond to direct communication for work. With that in mind do you folks think a jobs portal like upwork.com and peopleperhour.com both which seem to let freelancers find work and organisations advertise work to hire freelancers.

    Just how good are these sites as I half suspect they are honey traps to net freelancers for recruitments agencies and/or marketing purposes.

    I have seen some sites that allow you to bid for work but is this really viable and would we be competing with cheap labour e.g. in India who would offer to do the work for a 1/4 of the cost?

    We have a pretty ambitious plan for the business e.g. not having a physical office working virtual via remote collaboration using tools like Skype etc.

    Appreciate the feedback.

    Regards,

    Trevor

  2. #2

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    Are you freelance or are you are company delivering a product.
    How is a bunch of freelancers going to get on the preferred suppliers list of any decent company?
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    A bunch of freelancers I know set up their consultancy, without a physical office - just working virtually (which I'm not convinced meets the definition of "ambitious"). They worked their contacts built up over many years to get their first clients. After a while, they hired a sales manager and their business expanded dramatically.
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  4. #4

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    People on contractor forums almost never talk about sourcing non-contacting business, except where it's a case of a company a contractor has been associated with previously.

    You seem to be saying "We are a bunch of people who can do IT - like eg Accenture can - so we'd like to be like a baby Accenture". The flaw in that argument is that Accenture is not just an IT company; it's a company that has Marketing, Sales, Legal, Finance etc etc. It's probably easier for a bunch of sales blokes to set up an IT company than it is for a bunch of IT people.

    You say you have an ambitious plan but it looks like you haven't got a plan that is really ambitious. In fact, without a route to market defined, you don't really have a plan at all.

    Then you say you are going to specialize, only to list at least ten areas of IT. That's not really specializing is it? Worse still, you list a set of capabilities that are very run-of-the-mill.

    About six years ago I became very passionate about Upwork (Elance as it was). My idea was not to sell capability but rather to buy it, and buy it cheap. I pitched the idea (of managed projects sourced across Cloud) to Citi. They showed mild interest and gave me a few bits and bobs to look at. However I had a string of contracts that pulled the cash in so I never had time to carry the idea forward. Since those days I have never heard of anyone using this channel, and no company I've worked for as revealed going to these portals.

    You'll see big names on Upwork but I suspect that is not for everyday IT skills.

    That said, there are a lot of people with eg Web, Mobile, SEO etc skills appearing to make a decent amount of cash. It's a very big market. There's a lot of wild west cowboys. There are tons of people bidding pennies per hour but you kind of feel you could make it big, if only could see what will catch customers' attention.

    I would therefore say there is nothing illogical in trying to build a cloud business via Upwork/Freelancer and the great thing is you can keep your current roles until the business takes off. However you would be better off trying to identify some niche high-demand skills that make it easier to by-pass the entrenched interests in big companies who are the ones that mainly can afford to support the lifestyle you wish to become accustomed to.
    "Don't part with your illusions; when they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live" Mark Twain

  5. #5

    Still gathering requirements...


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    A mate of mine with top notch IT skills set up an IT Support company - even now 10 years later he struggles to run a viable business.

    1. Although he's great at IT he's crap at sales and lacks business acumen

    2. It is really, really hard to actually bring in new business - there is no pool of people waiting for you to arrive on their doorstep - the point previously made that it's easier for sales people to setup an IT business than vice versa is very valid

    3. Many business are very reluctant to change suppliers and would rather the devil they know with rip off costs and crap service than risk moving somewhere else

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverlight1 View Post
    A mate of mine with top notch IT skills set up an IT Support company - even now 10 years later he struggles to run a viable business.

    1. Although he's great at IT he's crap at sales and lacks business acumen

    2. It is really, really hard to actually bring in new business - there is no pool of people waiting for you to arrive on their doorstep - the point previously made that it's easier for sales people to setup an IT business than vice versa is very valid

    3. Many business are very reluctant to change suppliers and would rather the devil they know with rip off costs and crap service than risk moving somewhere else
    Spot on. It's a common misconception - setting up a business requires you to think like a business person. A top spec business person can turn themselves to almost any business, almost regardless of sector.
    Last edited by vwdan; 14th February 2018 at 09:45.

  7. #7

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    The problem for IT guys is you mostly want to be building stuff, not building a company. So I generally agree with the comment about sales people starting a company.

    And without clients or a product to build and sell, you have nothing - yet.

    That being said, I've seen a few folk do it.

    Couple of IT guys I worked with started a company, basically pooling their contracting income together, while also working toward building a specific product for a market they knew well.

    Another couple of guys contracted for the NHS. Using their NHS contacts they then formed a company and bid on an NHS project, which they subsequently won. They then built a small consultancy company from that.

    As for peopleperhour etc, I wouldn't waste your time. It's a race to the bottom on prices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vwdan View Post
    Spot on. It's a common misconception - setting up a business requires you to think like a business person. A top spec business person can turn themselves to almost any business, almost regardless of sector.
    I know a group of three contractors in the UK who set up their own consultancy. The MD had so-so technical skills, but turned out to be a very good businessman. They sold the business a few years later for £15M.
    Boomers tend to believe in “freedom of speech”, which is a fascist concept used to spread hateful ideas.Given that hate speech is not possible without free speech, any defence of free speech is a form of hate speech. - Titania McGrath

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    Quote Originally Posted by NotAllThere View Post
    I know a group of three contractors in the UK who set up their own consultancy. The MD had so-so technical skills, but turned out to be a very good businessman. They sold the business a few years later for £15M.
    How did they get their work?
    "Don't part with your illusions; when they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live" Mark Twain

  10. #10

    Default Freelancing is difficult

    I have been a freelance PHP contractor more just over 14 years now, though not in a formal team. As has been said it is very difficult getting work without a "presence" or reputation. I have just gained a contract through a digital agency with a client who got left in the dark by their previous freelancer. Now they are going through a bricks and mortar agency with a main road location and an established history. They will be paying much more for what will be mainly my work but as has been said elsewhere companies don't care as long as they can sign off that they did due diligence.

    My work has come from:
    1. Previous contacts - if you have all been super useful and helpful in your permie roles (if not don't go freelance) then when an out of the ordinary job needs doing your ex colleagues should be recommending you. This is like gold as a recommendation from an employee means more than a thousand CVs
    2. Digital agencies - love them or hate them they have the client relationships and often don't have in-house skills for more than WordPress or e commerce packages. Be prepared for tortuous lines of communication
    3. Jobsites - scour these again and again and you will find the odd remote or direct client looking for work. I did 9 days teaching for one client who has just come back with 20 days work for me
    4. UK freelance sites - for instance https://www.freelancers.net/project/...opers-Required. I got 3 year's worth of work from such a site. You will need to look every day and may only get a contact once a year...

    Seminars, BNI, physical forums etc. Many moons ago I got 2 jobs just by asking questions at a forum.

    As has been said it is hard work. You need to decide whether you are just a bunch of freelancers, in which case you may wish to all setup individually and then pool resources where needed. That eliminates financial issues as you simply charge each other for your services but can act as though an organisation. The 2nd option is setting up as an actual company. You WILL need offices, even if is just a rented boardroom and hot desking. You will also need suits, professional website and your day rate needs to double.

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