For all the good points about freelance programming like the freedom to do it whenever and wherever you want, the awesome returns you can get from it and more, there’s still some sucky things about it that can’t be avoided.
I’m not saying don’t freelance, I’m a fan of it, but keep the following in mind and you’ll be alright.
The Time Suck
In the end, freelance programming is and will always be just another job. It’s great for income generation, but it’s not anywhere near passive income – one of the mantras of this blog.
Trading time for money is good if you can get the fantastic rates to warrant only working a few hours a week. That’s subjective of course, some people love working on other people’s projects.
Suggestion: Be aware how much time you’re spending freelancing and charge accordingly.
Sometimes you get part way through analysing a project for a job and realise it’s not really what you want to be doing.
As a freelancer it’s your prerogative to choose what you want to work on.
Sometimes (ok, most of the time) the overwhelming feeling is to accept a job because it has landed on your lap. It’s a hard feeling to say no to.
Suggestion: For your own mental health if you don’t want to do a job then say NO. Another, more enticing, project will be around the corner.
Mental Wear And Tear
All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy. And so it is with freelancing.
Sometimes enough is enough and you need a freakin’ break. But the onslaught of jobs coming at you left right and center like ninjas out of the night is overwhelming you until finally you have a nervous break down at the shopping mall and throw a bunch of oranges at a group of elderly people going about their business all the while screaming, “Whaat?! Whaaaat?!”.
Suggestion: Take a break from it after each job. If it’s going to keep being fun to do, you need to do fun.. away from the damn computer.
Take A Breath, And Remember Why You’re Doing It
My final tip is to remember what you’re freelance programming for in the first place.
Whether it’s to save enough money to go on a holiday, or start a business, or put that money on your home loan.
Whatever the reason, keep it in sight. Make every keystroke worthwhile to you.