229 FS Q&A
- Published on:
- November 24, 2016
0:20 What is everyone working on?
5:00: Questions to ask on a Greenfield project
15:45: How to write cover letters and earn clients
- Apprentice model
- Setting the price
- Writing the cover letter
- The Apprenticeship Patterns by Dave Hoover
- Scott Hanselman iPhreaks episode
37:00: What to do if you have no employed experience
Reuven: I just got a conversation about this just earlier today with this company where I started the part time CTO. I need to get standby initially. They’d been running for a year and a half and they’re doing okay, the company is doing okay and the technology is not crashing too much, not lacking up too much, but it is doing that on occasion and they are 100% based on wordpress. I said, “Look, I just don’t think this is the right technology for doing custom software development.” And they start to say, “What should we use?” And then we finally, after about a 20-minute conversation, realized, it doesn’t matter right now. Because right now we have other priorities and yes, if we really want to it the right way we should switch to something else. But that’s going to require either getting a different team or retraining the current team and building everything from scratch and so on and so forth.
That part of just incredible dangers, so we decided better to fix what we’ve got and the point why I’m saying this is basically there are a ton of different technology actions out there and something is better than nothing and often the decision you make is going to have to do the with the people and the other constraints much less than what’s the perfect technology there. My typical go to are going to be Python and Ruby because I know Python on Ruby strangely enough. Someone else who is a PHP master is going to say won’t choose PHP. I think the main thing to look at is what do your people know and how easily are you going to get people to work on it because that’s going to be your big problem back.
Charles: I agree. I think there are definitely other considerations but they’re usually pretty rare. I think the people thing that Reuven pointed out, I think that’s ultimately the right answer. The training is going to cost you way more than whatever trade off you’re going to make to use the technology you already know unless you just have some really solid constraints that you’re not going to be able to meet with that technology for whatever reason.
For example, if there was some application where for whatever reason there was a real business case or technological case for it to perform in a way that I couldn’t get Ruby to do for example, then I would think about, okay I can’t get Ruby to do it so then I’ll start looking at Elixir or Phoenix or something like that. Because I know with this concurrency model I can get that kind of performance out of it that I can’t get out of Ruby on Rails. But overall for the most part other than that, the only other thing I can see is that if there are some shortcut that you can take with one rather than the other. For example, if there are some plug in for Angular 1.0 that hasn’t yet been ported over the Angular 2.0 and it’s going to cut my development time in half, then I might go with Angular 1.0 over Angular 2.0. But beyond that I completely agree with Reuven that the rule is going to be for me, what am I familiar with and can I do the job in it.
Jonathan: I’m going to actually disagree and say that everything should be Java Script. Full stop.
Reuven: That was frightening words.
Jonathan: I’m going to agree with both of you guys but I’ll throw a slightly different angle on it, I suppose which is that as long as you get into the right class of tool, you’re fine picking pretty much anyone. But you got to be in a right class of tool, you don’t want to shave with a lot more. If somebody’s trying to use the wrong tool for the job that’s the problem. Maybe you could make that argument with wordpress for somebody trying to build a complicated SAS or something. Just like plugin after plugin after plugin. I like Reuven’s story there where you go to start with the business goals and work your way back from there and it’s a lot of times, certainly not all the time but many times you could reach the business goals with just about anything.
Then it becomes a question of like, I think you both said, what resources do we have laying around? There’s a reason why in certain areas a lot of houses are built out of stone and other areas lots of houses are built of pine, a lot of other areas built out of adobe. It depends on what resources are available in your area which is the same thing you’re saying, “Hey we’ve got a whole bunch of web developers laying around. Let’s use web technology.” If you have a whole bunch Scala developer laying around, then fine use that. But I think the bigger picture is what are the goals?
And there’s a timeline factor too. If it’s really important to get points on the board early, get a proof of concept launched in a week then really small tactical decision, very tactical decisions can be important. I’m not a huge fan of Bootstrap but if we need to get something up over the weekend, Bootstrap’s just fine. If that’s your long term solution, maybe not so much and you’ll end up replacing it later on because you end up just fighting with it more than you’re using it, okay fine. Bring that up from the strategic example, just bring that up early and say, “Hey, we’re just trying to get something fast and loose out the door to get funding or get an initial user base or presale or something like that.” Just get the thing done. No matter what you choose it’s not going to be perfect.
Get tradeoffs in every direction, really, I think business goals are step number one, get the goals form the founder or whoever is really making the big decision. Make sure you’re in the right class of tools so you’re not using the wrong tool for the and then just pick whatever one suits the talents that you have available to you.
Charles: One of the thing I’ll add because I know that some people have folks that work for them that they want interesting work and doing another Rails project doesn’t exactly their thing, right? We’ve done three, we keep hearing about Phoenix and Elixir and we’ll try it. As long as you’re clear about the reasons why and you know what your tradeoffs are then you can make that decision too.
Reuven: I have worked on a few projects where I was brought in. I said why did you use such a technology? And the answer was, “Oh we hired these consultants. They never used this technology before and I thought it would really cool to use it.” So they did it. Basically. the consultants come in, they do it and they run away. Probably run is the right verb there. The company is stuck with their cool new shiny project build in their technology but no one knows how to use it. Sometimes they pick a winner and often then don’t, often they pick these dead-end things that then [00:13:29] you’re coming and save them from the hell they they’ve imposed upon themselves but I’m very, very weary. I love using new technology from my own stuff and trying it out, but when it comes to my clients I’m going to be very conservative and go with something that I know works and it’s a huge community of pool of talent if I get stuck or if something happens to me.
Charles: I guess I was thinking more in corporations where they’re going to keep the same thing regardless but as a freelancer I don’t think I’d take a chance on somebody else’s thing.
Jonathan: Especially if you’re giving a fixed price that people like to play with the shiny tools when they get paid by the hour but if you’re not getting paid by the hour that’s the last thing you’ll touch.
Reuven: That’s a good example.
Jonathan: Because that’s what I know, even though I know I would be in seventh heaven if I finally got around to becoming Ruby expert. Just no business case for me to learn Ruby, zero because it doesn’t make sense.
Charles: Makes sense. Anything to add Philip?
Philip: Not from my tremendous background in software development. I just empathize with both side of that because I feel like that a lot of us there’s this sort of artist somewhere locked inside that does want to be able to do conceptual art and then sell that to clients. Which is really what you described Reuven. They did some conceptual art and some performance art and sold it to their client and you just got to find another outlet for that.
Aging will take a lot of it out of you, aging and cleaning up the mess you’ve made a couple of dozen of times I think will take a lot of that out of you. But I just now can’t help see that as a kind of frivolous is not the right word but it’s like something you got to deal with inside of yourself, otherwise it’s going to interfere with you running a successful business. That’s more to me, what I see and I don’t need to be insulting to the question, right? It’s just a very common pattern I see to myself and if you don’t manage it, it can really get the best of you.
Jonathan: Yeah. Frivolous, I think the word is immaturity. It’s like when I was an immature developer everything was new problem to be solved in a new way with the most cutting edge technology and it was just a lack of maturity. Because like you said, you end up cleaning that up enough times and poof.
Philip: I think that’s part of why I was a hardliner. Anybody and everybody who wants to work for themselves should narrow down their focus but more and more I’m feeling like there is a time and a place to act as a generalist for a while because I think you get some of that stuff out of your system. I think it helps you mature.
Jonathan: I think Open Source is a great way to get that out of your system as well. Do a real Open Source project, not where you just open source for you. You actually take poll requests and you manage it. Because you’ll get people trying to do that to you. Where like, “We need to rewrite this whole code base because you used spaces instead of tab.” You mature quickly, let’s put in that way. And without any risk, you’re going to have to refund anybody.
Charles: Alright, are we ready for the next one?
Reuven: Go for it.
Charles: It says, “As recent graduate, I don’t have much connection so I rely on sites like Upwork to get clients. However, I couldn’t get a single project. I don’t know how to write proper cover letters, set prices, estimate project timelines. Can you please explain how to write cover letters and how you earn clients? That’s not a big question, is it?
Jonathan: In the Freelancer Show podcast episodes 1-270. How do I [00:17:40] the experience when I have no experience?
Charles: It’s tricky. Ultimately, what I tell people is do what you can to make those connections because you’re going to get much, much better clients by finding people through people you know. Go ahead and just use the script, get involved in the forums, get involved in the online mailing list, the Google groups, that kind of thing. Speak at some conferences, speak at the remote conferences. I love getting new people in to speak in remote conferences, by the way.
Go apply for mine. If you have to go somewhere like a port just to get a few projects under your belt, you can say hey I’ve got experience and now you can hire me for more. Then the things that really help on Upwork in particular is getting a good rating and writing a good proposal for the projects that you’re applying to. But Upwork really is a lot of people will go with the lowest price person. It’s kind of a crap shit, my opinion going on Upwork versus going somewhere else. And that’s not to say that you’re not going to get good clients there but a lot of clients are looking for somebody that‘s overseas that does that certain kind of work but not very much. They’re looking for that kind of help. If you’re pricing too high or things like that or you don’t have any experience or rating, then it’s just going to be hard. Overall, I would just go out of my way to meet as many people as I can and get to know folks. And then the part of this is writing those proposals, reaching out to those cold contacts be they on Upworks or something else, really telling them what you can do.
The only thing you can really do there is contribute as much as you can again to Open Source and things like that or to find other opportunities to prove that you can actually do what people needs you to do. And then specialize, that’s Philip’s schtick but I’m going to steal it because it’s important. If you can tell people and show people that you can solve their problem, they don’t care how much experience you have.
Jonathan: Yeah. The proof is in the pudding. If you can point to something and say I did this and it helps a lot.
Reuven: Back when it was called Elance I actually did go there and get projects for a while. When I was desperate, when I didn’t have things, when I was between projects and I would point to my successes, which were pretty good and say see? I would say to myself, “See? It’s worth going in there to get things.” At certain point when I looked back and said, “Oh my god, I’m spending so much time writing so many proposals to get so few actual things out of it.” I decided I would just spend time marketing myself in other ways and other channels. But it seems attractive, right there are thousands of thousands of projects, one of them will clearly want me. But Chuck is totally right that it’s very much a price sensitive thing. If you’re anywhere above a tiny amount per hour, then you’ll probably not have any getaway projects.
Why not speak at conferences and it doesn’t have to be a fancy conference, it’s probably a user group premier area. Go speak there, or just go there and talk to people and say I am available and the answer pretty could someone among them is looking for help because good developers are really hard to come by. If you speak and demonstrate your expertise all the more so. That’s going to take time. It’s not going to be within a week or two. But over a few months if you’re going to do that you should be able to build some good contacts and hopefully some projects that then you can show to people a clever job.
Charles: One of the thing I’m just going to add on to that is that it seems that this person or few many occasions here in English is good but in few other occasions that they’re not made with English speaker which means that they’re probably offshore or near shore. And if you’re one of those folks and you can actually take a little bit lower wage, price, value based pricing, however you want to do it. Go talk to On Shore Developers and see if you can help them out with projects too.
You find a freelancer here in the US, that’s successful, that doing stuff, maybe you reach out to Reuven because you have of the expertise that he does and you say, “Hey look I will work for essentially 50% of the rate or 60% or whatever is appropriate.” Then he makes 40%, 50% profit margin managing somebody who’s actually pretty darn good and he may be willing to take a chance on you. The Reuven’s here in the US and the Reuven’s over in Israel and other people in Canada or whatever where they’re close enough to the US and are doing well with freelancing, you effectively offer them a better value on their time by solving [00:23:07] form as well. And then after you’ve done a few projects there, you can add those onto your resume, get a reference from your mentor and then work your way out from there.
Jonathan: It’s almost an apprentice model.
Charles: Yup. These people are running businesses and it’s almost free money for them and you’re getting what you want out of it too. They have to do some management on your end but it’s not as involved as actually doing the work themselves. What were you saying Philip? Sorry.
Philip: I was going to say that I had the thought that just try to look for patterns in what you’re seeing on Upwork and instead on relying on verbal communication skills, rely more on examples of work like demonstration that you can build whatever needs to be built. That might look like skinning to the job [00:24:13] and seeing what people are asking for. Are they asking for something that integrates with mail [00:24:19] or they’re asking for this other thing? And then build that thing so you can show it off that just to demonstrate that you’ve actually done it. I think that’s going to be more persuasive than trying to be convince somebody in the abstract.
Another thing I would suggest doing is, I am going to speak and make it out like wrong, so apologies in offense if it does, but the ugly sides of Americans is that we fear that we’re not going to be able to communicate with people who don’t speak English as a first language. If that [00:24:56] and I don’t know that it is but I would suggest to record a video of yourself. Just introducing yourself to try to reduce those fears unless your English skills are really not good then you’ve got to deal with that. Now, maybe that’s not you, maybe I just wanted to say that in case that that does fit your situation that getting ahead of that objection that oh I’m not going to be able to communicate with this person. I think the easiest way to do that is just record yourself, introduce yourself over videos, say I’m a recent student graduate, I’m super excited about this and I’m looking for clients who need that. My rate is competitive. I’m a 100% reliable. Just introduce yourself in that way, you don’t need to do that kind of stuff later on when you have a portfolio work to point to but at the early phases where you’re at, it sounds like where you’re at now, that could be helpful.
And then the standard device that I would give is pick a market for the article to go after because if you get 10 projects and they’re spread across 10 different types of clients, they don’t have the same effect as even five projects with the same type of market [00:26:06]. If you got a lot of free time in your hands you might be able to look through Upwork and see if there’s any patterns you notice, like a lot of people are asking for Twitter clones or integrating these two systems and see if you can build up some even small amount of expertise around that. I think that’ll take you a lot further than just kind of a scatter shot, take anything you can get approach.
Charles: I just want to pile onto that because that’s essentially what I went freelance, that’s mostly where I was at. Now, I had a few years’ experience as a developer at various corporations nearby, but I had been doing a podcast about Ruby on Rails for a year. I had a year or two worth of screencast up there including a video on how to build a Twitter clone in rails and I was getting work off of it. Part of it was, “Oh this guy is building something that looks like what I want.” And part of it was, “I’ve listened to the podcast. I’ve watched the screencast. I really feel like I know this guy.” The video just really put you front and center. They get to see who you are. Be it a video of the screencast of your screen or video of your face where you’re talking or both. It puts you in there as a person who knows what you’re talking about.
Jonathan: Yeah. I’ll pipeline also and say that a couple of things Chuck just mentioned take a lot of time. If the person is in a particular rush, rent is due or whatever, then that’s the kind of thing that will drive people to Upwork and Craigslist and Viber and all of the other marketplaces. But what you can do in addition to that is to direct outreach to, if you do pick a target market maybe you have some familiarity with classics manufacturers or dentists or farming equipment manufacture. It doesn’t matter. If your family was in some business or is on some business or if you have relatives in HR or whatever, it doesn’t matter, property management. Just pick it. “I’m going to focus on doing websites for property managers.” Because you know that you can get in touch with a bunch of property managers and you’ll have a trust because you have a connection like an actual connection in real life.
If you do that, you should be able to focus your message down and go through your network of friends and family and colleagues and say, “Hey, I’ve been doing web development. I just got out of school. I’ve been doing web development through school and I really want to focus on property management. Do you know anybody who can introduce me to, talk to them, see if there’s something I could do for them?” You’re going to have a lot of built in trust already because of the personal relationships that are connecting that group of people. Outreach like that is a very quick way to get some money rolling in if that’s what you’re looking for.
Charles: Plus one.
Philip: Yeah. I think we can all acknowledge it’s a super challenging situation when you got zero track record of doing the thing you want to do. If you said, “I got a year of runway because my parents are paying all of my expenses for a year and I’m living with them.” Some of the advice I think we’re giving would be the same and some might be different like those more speculative things where you build a thing so you can show it off and demonstrate it or you can build it maybe be better things to focus on. A lot of it depends but just know that we all know it’s not an easy situation to be in. Sometimes just taking a job for a specific period of time knowing that that’s that thing that you’re going to do to get that runway maybe also be a viable choice in some situations. Bet you didn’t think you’d hear me say that. Big advocate of people who do anything and everything to remain self-employed but sometimes taking a job could make sense.
Charles: When I got my start as a programmer, I had worked for two or three companies doing what I was doing for freelance.
Jonathan: Same here. All of my confidence about going out on my own came from full time employment.
Charles: Yup, so it’s not that uncommon. But I understand wanting the freedom and lifestyle around freelancing.
Philip: Yup. Setting price, there’s a ton of Freelancers Show episodes that speaks specifically to that, that might be worth looking at.
You talk about a cover letter, that’s the person asked the question and I think none of us had mentioned that because it’s not how we get work. It’s not how most people at even beyond the basic level of freelancing get work. That’s a getting a job thing and getting freelance work is much more about showing that you can solve a specific problem, building trust that kind of thing and cover letters usually don’t do that.
Charles: I think it’s an artifact of Upwork because I’ve hired people off of upwork. Heck, I hired people off of Upwork last week and in a lot of cases they ask you to write a cover letter that is essentially, “Hi, I’m interested in your project and here’s why and here’s what I can do for you, and here is why I think it’s going to work out blah blah blah.” And the estimated project timeline is also something that I think Upwork gives you the option of asking for. I don’t usually ask for that. I usually either do a straight bid or I give people a reasonably low threshold for their hours to see what they can do for me. Then if they do a great job, then I usually have 10 more of the same thing that I need done. And so then I’ll hire him for that.
Anyway, if you’re going to write a cover letter then do whatever you can to find out as much about them as you can and then get in there and say, “Hey, it looks like you do podcast for programmers and you have these online conferences because the latest project was find a list of NoSQL databases and speakers that speak about NoSQL and that way I can contact them to see if they want to speak at the remote conference.” If you’re doing that kind of thing, then if somebody would come into me and instead of saying, “Hey, I do really good research blah blah blah.” Now I hired five people to do the job but I’ll keep the one that does the best job and have him do that for the next couple of conferences. If I was only in the position to hire one and make it work, it’s be the person who came to me and said, “Hey, I looked at Devchat.tv. I get what you do. I get what you’re about. I can see where this has value to you. I’ve already done some preliminary research and you can see it here.” Man, I’d pick that person up in a heartbeat.
Jonathan: Yeah. Demonstrate some hustle.
Charles: Yup. And then estimating project timeline. Honestly again, if you’ve done a little preliminary work where I spent half hour doing research on NoSQL and it looks like I’m probably going to spend another two hours doing this kind of research and compiling all the information for you. Then again, you’ve demonstrated, “Hey, I’ve already been working on this. I get why you want it. I’m going to give you the best outcome probably in two hours. Then if you wind up going to three and you let me know, “Hey, look I’m almost done and I’m a little bit over two hours.” I’m good. But Upwork isn’t the best place to find clients in my opinion.
Reuven: I’ve met as lot of people who have contributed to open source projects and got involved in that whole variety of reasons. One of which was to beef up their resume and granted this is a technical angle than a business angle.
But open source projects are both desperate for people, desperate for help and very, very grateful of people come and say, “Yeah I’m going to help you out.” If you were to choose a project it has to be middle sized not incredibly popular, like I said not necessarily bad thing but I think not tiny. Again, it’s going to be some time. You spend some time helping and adjusting and improving. If that software is being used by companies at some point, companies will come to you as one of the people who know and they’ll ask you to help them out with it.
Entertainers used to be out of the show, classic example that with Redmine. We helped a little bit with it and helped that someone else’s more and I think it was the main maintainer that and they’re certainly hired for ridiculous number of consulting projects working on it. And it might take some time but it’ll allow you to build your credibility in very visible way. And in a small community, they’ll also work to each other when it comes up.
Charles: I don’t know Eric was ever the primary maintainer of Redmine but he by far had the largest number of plugins for Redmine. People will hire him because they are using two or three plugins that he wrote and it was really easy to pee a lot from there and go, “We need another one and we wanted to work with these ones.” It worked out really well.
Another thing with the open source community is that even on the larger projects, a lot of them have a documentation team that is hard to fill. There’s a book called The Apprenticeship Patterns by Dave Hoover and he talks a lot about basically how to find and build refine mentors and build relationships like this and if you can make relationships like this doing what you call seeping the dojo. You’re answering Github issues and you’re troubleshooting particular bugs and zeroing in on what the issue is or if you’re working on the documentation as I said before or you’re doing some other just code clean up, writing tests, all that kind of stuff. Getting a set up on Travis CI. If you’re doing that kind of work, then you’re still getting credit for being part of the team on that particular project. I’ll tell you, if you’re doing enough for those jobs that nobody else wants to do, you’ll get noticed by the team that working on the Open Source. If you’re doing that, if you can put a reference up and say, “Well, I spent a bunch of time helping with Ruby on Rails,” For example which is a huge Open Source project or one of these mid-range, mid-level projects, I spent time working on and helping with this project, they’ll go ask the team leader. The team leader holy cow, they were a ton of help. You can get credit there even if you worked directly contributing for the code for very long.
Jonathan: Yeah, absolutely. I couldn’t agree with you more. I have some students who are contributing to the open APS system which is Artificial Pancreas. A whole suite of software for people who have mobile. There are iOS apps. There are all sorts of server side stuff as a million things. The reason I bring it up is because instead of being in a huge project, there’s actually not that many computer Rails, there’s not that many people working on it but the people who are using it, to see they are passionate about the project is an understatement. It’s life changing. To contribute even in a small way to something that is massively important to people, you might find patrons coming out of the woodwork to just fund you to keep working on it directly.
Charles: Side note on that we did an interview with Scott Hanselman who is a well-known programmer. He’s actually a type one diabetic and we interviewed him for the iPhreaks show and we talked about that kind of system that works with insulin pumps and things like that to automatically deliver insulin.
Jonathan: I don’t know that much about it but I just know that the people who are using them are very thankful.
Charles: Yup. It’s something you have to constantly be monitoring and if you have kids, you have to monitor them. Anyway, it really does change the shape of someone’s life. Definitely people care about that.
We still got time. Anyway, I’ll ask the next question. It’s sort of similar to the other one. “Hello I went to Freelance as a front-end developer. I have no job experience. Dropped out of college and live in a third world country. The problem is that on Freelance website and LinkedIn there are places for experience, company and education. I have none of them. The only experience I have is several projects I made for myself and my friends. How do I void the gap in these two and how do I present myself with projects that I made? Should I lie that I’m student and work for somebody? I love what you guys do. Hope you answer, huge hugs. Ross.”
Jonathan: Ross, never lie. That’s never a good idea. But I would definitely say that, I mean this just a repeat of what we just said. Just show what you do. I’ve been in the position in a bunch of different capacities to need to hire people. I’ve made it to hire people, directly, from myself. To do design on my own personal projects, I’d made it to hire people for firms where I was upper managements. Had a review applications at fortune fifteen companies for people who wanted to get full time jobs and I never cared at all about their education or the past experience. It’s all like fine, maybe I care a little bit but all I really care about is what can you do so show what you can do. In the education thing, something personal and clever and just be like, you know I didn’t go to school because I was too busy working on this and this and this or whatever.
I suppose it depends on what they pick for a career, but I can’t imagine that my kids are going to go to college. It just didn’t make any sense to me in the traditional sense of college. I don’t think it’s that important for this kind of thing. Because I’ve seen people who have degrees extinct. It just doesn’t indicate anything. I went to music school and I actually graduated and that was a bad sign because if I was better I would’ve gotten snapped up by somebody before I had the chance to graduate and I feel the same way about software people. If you’re amazing, then just do the work, just show your work and don’t be, I’m not saying that you’re ashamed that you didn’t go to school but it sounds like you’re presenting it as if it’s a deficiency. Just be honest like, “I’m new. I just love this stuff. Here’s what I’ve done. Didn’t see the need to spend money on school to validate myself and I haven’t gotten hired yet so maybe you’ll be the first one.” That kind of thing.
Philip: I think listing an employer or self-employed is fine. To me that’s not lying, that just a way to not have an empty field in that part of the thing you’re trying to fill out. Self-taught is fine for education. I guess I’m saying the same thing Jonathan is. Boring but yet still true and factual way of saying those things. Education – self-taught. Employment – self-employed.
Jonathan: I love that. I would put that resume at the top of the file.
Charlie: Yeah. There’s a lot that says one of thing just to point out because Ross mentioned LinkedIn and Freelance websites. LinkedIn has a spot for endorsements of expertise and so you can talk to people and them to endorse you.
The other thing that’s on there is that you can actually put in projects and if you’re writing software for particular group that can benefit from it you can also put that under service and so you can put those things in there. They just don’t necessarily wind up going up in your job experience. But if I went in there and I saw oh look, Ross is written these three applications in Angular or React or some other front-end tool, and he’s learned some back and stuff to get that together or he’s using fire based or something like that. You have those skills listed there. Then I’m probably going to talk to you if I care about those skills or if it looks like you’ve solved some problems that I need solved. And so, you can still put them on there, you just don’t wind up putting them under your experience as a company that you’ve worked for. And even then, you can still put that on their donated time working on a project that I knew would benefit people who needed budgeting software.
Philip: Depends on your situation, you may not even need a LinkedIn profile. That’s the other thing. Instead set up a little page website that features your work, has contact info or call the action of some sort. If you’re going to do that, don’t get caught on the trap of talking about the art of that technology behind what you did, to talk about how has a business application or helps sorts of problem. I’m not saying for sure you should put up a website because that can be for a lot of people a rabbit hole that doesn’t produce good results but that might an alternative to playing the LinkedIn game. There may be no website to having a LinkedIn profile so just don’t do it.
Jonathan: Yes, probably. I imagine that Ross is thinking that leads would come in through that channel and like the old saying it’s, if I’ve had six lead come in through LinkedIn, I’d be surprised. In years and years of being in LinkedIn.
Ross, just to give you a sense of maybe what I would do if your name came across my desk is something that might be helpful to me, I am going to Google you. Something needs to come up. And if that’s a bunch of really reasonably popular like Github repost or commits on projects that are ventures to me or in about.me profile that tells me a little bit about yourself and maybe some screencast you did on YouTube. Those are all equally valuable. But something needs to come up. If nothing comes up, I’m going to be scared. I’m going to want to see something. You have that something out there. To echo Philip’s point, it doesn’t have to be LinkedIn at all. Just as long as something comes up.
Charles: And then the other thing that I would put out there is again when we talk about this, but go out and meet people. Join some online communities. Find some freelancers that are doing what you want to do. Get to know them. See if you can get some mentorship or some work from them and just a lot of this is going to come down to who you know. If you can get to know the people who are going to be able to get you started and get you going who have already gotten past this particular hill, then that’s going to pay off for you.
Jonathan: Yeah. Maybe send a question into a popular podcast.
Charles: We’ve gotten a few from Ross.
Reuven: Well done.
Philip: You mentioned living in a third world country which I don’t view as a liability at all. I think you can make that into an asset. For especially from the cost perspective. I know that that’s maybe seems like it’s the opposite advice we’re always giving. But you do have start somewhere and I don’t think your location has to be a liability. You can always talk about how you’re getting the stuff done while your clients are sleeping and have things ready to review. There are still some times on overlap so you can communicate real time. You can dance on both sides of that and talk about how it’s an asset to your client, that you’re remote. Just don’t let anybody tell you that that’s automatically a liability. I don’t think it is.
Reuven: No. But I will tell you as someone who lives outside the US or outside the North America. I’ve been in touch with the clients over the years and some of them had just said that don’t want to work with someone outside the US. For a while I try arguing with that. I’ll be like, “But I have this experience. But I work crazy hours.” They don’t care. Some people are not just that interested and don’t let that get you down because there are a lot of other people out there and someone that will be flexible and someone who would be very happy to work with you.
It might just take also a lot of rationing up, you don’t have experience, that’s okay. Work on something really small for little amount of money and then do something a little better and especially people assume so we were living a third world country so I can pay them peanuts. If it means that you can up your resume and like show something that you’ve done, that’s okay at first. Obviously, it’s not okay for the medium long term but at first show people and show off your abilities, that’s great. Then the next person you talk to, you can charge a little more. Over a number of months, you’ll be off to charging that small amount.
Also at some point even in third world countries, they do have need for software engineers and they do often pay pretty reasonably for people with those talents. I wouldn’t just write off working for people locally especially since they speak your language, you incise into their culture, their business, your locals. You can meet with them in person which helps to build trust. The worst case even if they pay very low, that are the way that’s going to begin rushing up you resume and have things that you can show to people. To show off and get other projects. I like what Jonathan say about LinkedIn. I actually do get contact from people in LinkedIn all the time, it’s all recruiters asking me to work to their company. Actual projects coming through is really, really rare, but annoying messages not so much. Save yourself and don’t worry about your LinkedIn profile just yet.
Jonathan: GitHub. Answer questions on Stack Overflow. Contribute on GitHub. Create and about.me page. And just do good work and put it out there.
Charles: Yup. We have a few people live in the room. If you have any other questions go ahead and drop them in on us otherwise we will answer them here in another month. I think our next Q&A is in the 13th of December. Looking forward to that. I know there’s usually a little bit of a delay so I’m stalling for time just to make sure.
Alright, I don’t see any questions coming in so I’m going to hit the big red button. Thanks for all the questions, these are always fun. We’ll catch everybody next week.
Jonathan: Bye everyone.