Stick to your values Stick to your values
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  1. #1

    Should post faster


    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    179

    Default Stick to your values

    Just sharing my recent experiences.

    TL;DR for NLUK: You will take absolutely nothing from this post, so back away now. Too much positivity herein.


    Been "on the bench" - as you lot seem to call it - for around 2 years now. Been doing lots of freelance work, networking, marketing and general business building. Work has been between a few hours here and there, to up to approx 3 months on and off - all contracted of course, but completely milestone driven - i.e. not 9-5; I'd often bill for 3 - 4 days a week and basically do whatever hours I saw fit to fulfill the work, with very little input from clients.

    I've absolutely loved it.

    However, I've earned around half of what I'd normally earn contracting, and I've had to use a few savings. Not the end of the world - been doing it long enough to be able to live fairly well whilst not earning, but everything has its limits. I've used any downtime to lose weight, get fit and generally improve myself and my happiness - lost 7 stone in around 8 months and feel great for it.

    Been looking for a contract more seriously since the beginning of Dec 2017. Prior to this I had around 3 casual interviews in a 1.5 year period. Since Dec I've had 9 interviews:

    • 4 projects were cancelled / the client "went internal" / cut budgets
    • 1 client was very clear they didn't want to engage with me as a business - only as a "temporary permietractor" - so I walked away
    • 2 clients said I was "too senior" - i.e. either too expensive, or literally needed a monkey to hammer a keyboard under their direction (i.e. exactly using their own systems and patterns)
    • 1 client offered me the job, but I turned it down (best rate I've ever been offered - £100 per day more than my regular rate, but I'd have had to commute around 100 miles every day and I'd be miserable - plus "pair programming" = ). Looks like all the other candidates were rubbish, as the agent is now scrambling to get new ones in after I've declined.
    • 1 client was a perfect fit


    Of those 9, 2 of the "failed" clients I spoke to have personally emailed me and expressed an interest in working with me in the future on a specialist / B2B / ad-hoc basis - which is great news - time will tell whether they meant it.

    Because I've been doing so much self-improvement and networking, I've approached interviews very differently - basically as a representative of a business offering services, rather than focusing directly on my own skills (though in reality all my clients still know its me doing the work and usually require the specific skills I offer). This has generally resulted in some extremely interesting conversations, and a much clearer understanding of the relationship; and also afforded me the opportunity to hand over a business card. Yes, its also lost me potential work, but I've come to the conclusion that happiness is much more important than money.

    The "perfect fit" client is offering me 99% remote work, will be paying all travel and accommodation expenses for when they want me to visit their offices (which won't be very often), working with cutting edge tech (client has outlined what they think the tech stack will be, but I am essentially dictating it), are offering work based on a mixture of a slightly lower day rate + the rest when I meet milestones, AND to top it off, they've offered a performance bonus of the likes I've never seen (which was a complete surprise as we never discussed it, nor did I ask for it). I suspect this is because they knew I had another offer on the table for a much higher rate and I made such a good impression.

    Client also seems extremely reasonable - in fact, they have been tip-toeing around their milestone requirements as their perception is that contractors generally don't want to work that way. I actually prefer it, as having milestones essentially gives me the perfect excuse to bat any "can you just do X" requests - though I am not expecting this contract to have any such requests. I detect potential bureaucratic issues internally (to do with agreeing terms and making payments), but I'm not expecting any of that to affect me. An opt-in with the agency should rectify that particular risk, though.

    During these past 4 months I have doubted myself, considered lowering the rate that I've spent over 10 years building up, considered taking work away from home, considered commuting over a ridiculous number of miles every day, and considered declaring myself inside IR35 for a number of offers that were blatantly caught. Every time its come to the crunch, I've truly felt miserable and decided to decline.

    The moral of the story is: don't give up on your values or principals, and don't lose hope in yourself.

    There's plenty of fish in the sea, and a client out there for everyone

  2. #2

    Super poster

    ladymuck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default

    Nice post, and well done

  3. #3

    Still gathering requirements...


    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Posts
    92

    Default

    Exactly the same picture as I have. Just I do not have these stones lose Well done!

    If you want to earn more, work less. That is a very good point you made.
    Even if your current earnings is twice less (the same happened to me) that is one more step to financial freedom.

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