Wednesday, September 21, 2005

To go or not to go

I have been toying with the idea of becoming an Independent Software Consultant (ISC), which is a glorified name for a freelance programmer, for sometime now. There was a time that I was quite confident that I could make what ever I make in my day job very easily as an ISC in a couple of weeks, provided I find work.

The biggest worry was not having a steady income, although the potential for earnings was higher. The only way to ensure a steady income was to work a dedicated amount of time for a client every week.

For this, I did find one client in the US, but his timings were not very practical for me. Working for him required me to stay up for most part of the night for six days a week. And that was taking away the time that I had to spend with my wife. So after a couple of weeks, I said no to that deal.

Then I had very good deal going, where I was maintaining a software for another client. This was a web-based application and the client, who was a software development company themselves, had me maintaining a system they had developed for a client. It was developed using ASP.NET, a skill which they did not posses, and they had got it developed by a freelance programmer who was not available anymore. They used to send me the bug lists, which I received in the morning, and I use d work on them during the day and upload the deliverables to their server by my evening, which was their morning. And I billed them by the hour.

This was a deal that worked very well for me for a few months, until my contact point there suddenly decided to leave that company. He introduced me to another contact person, but he was rather non-responsive and I was left in the dark. I did get paid for my work though. But right now, I am without a proper long term working arrangement, so my recurring ISC work has come to a halt.

But on the bright side, I have two freelance projects that I have taken up which needs to be finished. So I might as well use this time to complete these and get them out of the way and then start looking for more projects.

And who knows, I may get landed with a few long duration projects and I might actually become a full time ISC, and say good bye to my low paying day job!

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