- Also see the sketch notes
Notes from @lawduck:
Topics - Getting Started and then methodologies/logistics.
Getting Started/Getting Out:
Why'd you head out? *Wanted to be independent *Wanted to create something
Where you start: Plan in advance if you can; working in an organization is a great opportunity to build name recognition and credibility. For the most part, employers are happy to send you - there's a dual value for both the future indie and for the company you're working for.
Planning to head out: *Pick your community or market. Identify what the target is. *Blogging and speaking at conferences is always good.
Blogging can definitely generate leads - @znmeb - still have to ask for $.
*Network the bejeebus out of your target community.
CHECK IN with your folks, conferences you've attended. Volunteer - it may lead to getting paid. CONTRIBUTE. Give information. People will still trust you as an expert. The reputation of expertise comes from demonstration - articles, tutorials.
(Brief sidebar on law - blah blah blah)Margins make a difference (true to all indie contractors). Overhead is evil! But, perceptually, is there a problem with not having the office?
Answer: no - just meet at their space, rent a conference room, create a virtual office (say, at Cubespace!). Home all the time, though, can suck. You're not in the right zone sometimes, and you can have Kubrick-esque moments dealing with just you and your laptop at home. So, Twitter as coffee break. Find space (like at Cubespace!) that you can use & get a sense of an "office" Everything's individual, though. Find your comfort.
The Pressure to Grow:
What happens when people approach you and say "Do this cool awesome project that's bigger than your capacity!" - what's the answer if you truly don't want to assemble a team? It's a question of choices: If you truly don't want to assemble a team, or pay employees, you can price yourself out of the job (i.e. bid waay too high). Honor your skillset - if you can't project manage, don't subcontract. Consider the risk to your reputation. Deliverables, quality, etc. BUT: consider the benefits to your reputation - maybe getting a big win with a team of cohorts will make an enduring mark in the community. If you do want to take it on: Know your strengths and weaknesses. Pick people accordingly. Present the subcontract pieces to the client. Put your teammates through the mill FIRST - i.e. don't wait for a high-priority project to "try someone out."
Administrative and Operations Suck:
Phone calls, invoices, accounting, back end office. It's a pain in the ass. Systematize. It's sometimes good to get The Guy on the phone.
Never, ever, ever:
Start without a business plan. Start without six months of savings. Work without a contract. Work with a contract that you didn't review with the client. Accept pay that's not pay - cash speaks. Don't do ALL the hours of work for a slice of something. "Why would I want a minority interest in a illiquid company?" Work for your friends. Fail to research the company that's approaching you.
The Economy now: how we doin'?
Adjusting rates. Worrying about getting paid. Cautiously optimistic.