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  • The value of hard questions

    Sometimes freelancers avoid asking difficult questions, like:

    1. Is there a budget for this? What is it?
    2. I know you love this feature. But does it really make the product better?
    3. Can you really be successful with your experienced nephew in charge of security for this product?

    We might be afraid of the answers. Or maybe we’re afraid of the impression the customer will have of us after we ask the question.

    But we’re doing ourselves and our clients a huge disservice when we avoid the hard questions.

    We need to stop trying to be friends with everyone, and instead focus ...

  • Short term clients are better because I’m too chicken to say “no”. WHAT?

    Today I read a fellow freelancer suggest that short term clients are better than long term, multi-project clients, because they don’t come back and ask him to do boring projects he doesn’t want to do.

    Huh?

    Look – every time a client asks you to bid on a project, you can say no. What ever gave you the idea that you couldn’t?

    I agree it can be harder when you have a relationship with the client, but it certainly isn’t impossible to tell a client that their project doesn’t fit with your business model. Even if it is similar to ...

  • The vicious cycle of crappy projects

    Whenever I meet someone who is IndyCoding and working on a project they hate, I feel sad. And a little confused.

    Being a freelance programmer is not the easy solution for most people. You can’t just be a programmer. You have to also be a business person. A sales and marketing person. A project manager. Many programmers are not up to that challenge.

    And there is quite a bit of uncertainty in the freelance programming life. Where is my next project coming from? What if they don’t pay me on time? These are not easy things.

    So why, Why, WHY ...

  • Monthly support rules of engagement

    One of the things I offer my clients is fixed-fee monthly support. This is a great option for my clients, because they can easily budget for hard to predict problems, and it is useful for me because it guarantees me regular income every month.

    Support is easier to offer if you have experience working with the client. On occasion, I’ve been asked to quote support for new clients for apps I didn’t write. I’ve declined because this works best if you have a history of working with the client and the application. You know where the danger areas are, how ...

  • Everything is harder without trust

    Do you trust your clients?  Do they trust you?

    There is no reason to work with people you don’t trust. If you suspect they will not pay you or treat you badly, you shouldn’t be working with them.

    Some Indy Coders act like this is inevitable, that many customers will be untrustworthy and they are stuck. I disagree. In my more than 9 years of being independent, I have never worked with a client who I didn’t trust to treat me fairly. And their behavior suggests that they trusted me, too.

    I spoke with a colleague recent who is struggling ...

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