I just recently started working as a freelance developer. Most people I talk to think it's great that I am taking this step, but they also say that they would never do it themselves, mostly because of the uncertainties and risks it means. This is no surprise really, but it got me thinking about what would be needed to avoid all those uncertainties and risks when going freelance.
The biggest risk is obviously not getting any client work. I already had a first client project when I went freelance. This made a big difference since I knew I would earn money from day one. Having a first client is essential to be able to start with great confidence and to avoid freaking out after just a couple of months when all your savings are running out.
I have been thinking about what would be needed to reach the same level of 'security' as when being employed. Knowing this will make it a lot easier for me to focus on the right thing when going forward.
Having more than one client is obviously a good way to spread the risk. However, I imagine it will be a lot easier to overcommit when having two or more clients. Your clients doesn't care if you are working on another project when an urgent issue arises, it just needs to be fixed asap. This is a reality you'll need to accept.
On the other hand, one benefit you get as a freelancer is the freedom to completely decide over your own time. Some people freelance to be able to work less. This sounds great but doing so most likely means you'll have to stick to some higher risks (e.g. few client, smaller projects etc). I guess it's about taking a decision between finding a stability or working less hours. The decision is yours to take.
Having a wide network will make the life as freelancer a lot easier. I am really grateful for all connections I have made during my previous employments, but I know I will need to expand my network a lot more.
I have been starting to investigate what possibilities there are to join a freelance network in the Malmö region. There are a few of them but all of the ones I have come across takes out a charge for using their spaces, equipment etc. I see why they need to charge for that, but at the same time it will never become a wide open space where any freelancer can get involved, help each other out, meet new people every day, find new business opportunities etc. If you know a place like this, please tell me about it. If I don't find this space I might even create one myself one day!
These were some of the thoughts I currently have around freelancing. If you have any suggestions/tips on how to best survive as a freelancer, especially in the Malmö region, please add a comment below.