I've wanted to post about this topic for a while now, though I haven't been able to come up with an approach that doesn't make it look like I'm begging for work! I'm employed and I usually enjoy my job!
I've had dozens upon dozens of conversations with fellow developers regarding freelance software work. Many of them think that it's a fairly trivial process to strike out on their own and simply "freelance." You know, if they could only shake the management overhead, they would make gazillions.
I don't get it.
First of all, how exactly does an individual with a software engineering background find work as a freelance developer? This has always escaped me. It seems as though there's a bit of marketing knowledge needed.
I have friends that find work. I have coworkers that keep busy on the weekends. These opportunities seem to pass me by. Is it a situation where a developer needs to setup an entire corporate facade and pawn himself off as "Synergistic Corporate Solutions" or "Logimental Systems Design?" Complete with domain, eight-hundred number, and phony sales department? Is it a word of mouth thing?
Next, what about ongoing maintenance agreements, bug fixes, and support? All of this sounds like a lot for one dude. How do you folks out there running one man shops set this stuff up? My first thought is that the amount of money required to fully support someone would require a level of service too high to provide with such limited resources?
Is there even a market for it? I've a second degree black belt in Python-Fujitsu, a small collection of vendor certifications, 12 years of professional Linux experience, and I understand enough of the business voodoo to get invited to the fancy marketing meetings. Aren't there 45,000 guys just like me out there trying to make a buck on the side the same way? It seems as though it would be a bit of a saturated market.
I'm coming to the end of a two week vacation. I could really get used to working in a home office. It's been nice to see my kids during the day and enjoy a bit more time with the family. I'm really starting to like not having to sit in Atlanta traffic twice a day (and my blood pressure is thanking me!). My current employer doesn't allow telecommuting so it's not really an option right now.
I guess I'm looking for a good book or similar resource that touches on the subject. Perhaps the experiences of others that have tried to make a living doing what it is we do.