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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 would you do it if you weren’t working on projects that you love? Why do it if the customer sucks, if the project is uninspiring or something else makes you unhappy to work on it every day?

I’ve had people tell me that when you first start out, you have to take whatever crappy project comes your way.

No.

This is how the crappy projects never stop. You take them on and you are so busy trying to live through them that you can’t find the time to go out and get the good projects. And building a relationship with a client who you don’t want to work with in the future gets you nowhere.

Do some analysis and figure out what you really WANT to do and who you want to do it with. Be thoughtful. Be specific. And then figure out the best way to find those clients and projects. Where will they look for development services? What will make you attractive to them. Then step up your marketing efforts. Make sure your next project isn’t a crappy project.

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