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So you want to work for youself

The grass is always greener on the other side. If you dream of escaping Cubeville to work as a freelancer or consultant taking business calls from the beach, setting your own schedule, working in pajamas or nothing at all, and taking vacations whenever you want, I am here to warn you about the brown spots in that greener grass. The biggest brown spot will be cash flow. That 8 to 5 job which you view as a prison to escape provides something unknown to the self-employed…predictable income. For instance, I expected a full payment from one client last night; instead, I received a half payment today. That should be no big deal since another client was scheduled to deliver a full payment today but instead delivered a message that the payment should come tomorrow. These scenarios are why people recommend keeping 6 months of income in the bank. If you don’t have that, the greener grass is too dangerous. Stay in Cubeville! If you are venturing over here from Cubeville with that 6 month income in the bank, your exit plan from self-employment back to Cubeville better be well before that reserve hits zero. Exit plan? Don’t have one? Well, that’s for a different post, but if you don’t have an exit plan, you aren’t ready for self-employment.

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On programming – how to read other people’s code and why

Programming is an art. I [You] do a lot of business that starts off with "…and my developer just isn’t around anymore…" Dozens of statements could come before or after that but no of those statements change the meaning. Quite simply, you are [I am] about to look at someone else’s code and that person may be an expert programmer or a newbie borrowing snippets from other people’s examples. The code may be documented correct or incorrectly or not at all. Regardless, you [I] have to work with that code no matter its state or quality.

If you are a professional software developer, or aspire to be one, you will need to know a lot of of things. Various maths, stats, languages, frameworks, methodologies, tools, etc. Fads and buzzwords will come and go, all during your career. You’ll master some, ignore some, laugh at some. … You have got to be able to read other people’s code. [Source, Design by Gravity, How to Read Other People’s Code — and Why]

Worthwhile read by Christopher Schanck

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Today is marketing and sales day

As a freelancer, I wear many hats. I am a programmer, quality assurance engineer, project manager, gopher, sexy intern, accounts receivable, accounts payable, technical support, information technologies (IT), customer service, human resources, facilities manager, accountant, marketer, and sales person. I’m sure I forgot a few. Today I am wearing my marketing and sales hats. I have committed myself to getting a proposal out the door by lunch.