Nash.rb Message Board › Freelancing... Is part timing possible?
I know we have a couple of folks who do freelancing with rails, and was wondering if you could offer some advice to those of us who would like to get there. I'm sorry if this has been asked before (or if it was the topic of a meetup already), so feel free to ignore me if needed.
So, without giving away any of your business model secrets, etc., I'm wondering if it's possible to part-time my way into freelancing with rails projects. I have a decent day-job, but ultimately would like to transition to some rails development work if possible. I was thinking that a good way to go about that would be to work some smaller projects on nights and weekends to build up my skills and reputation. I know I'm likely not even capable of doing a project right now, but hope to be up to speed within the next few months. Does anyone have any suggestions/tips/etc. on this subject in general? Do you use freelance sites (guru.com, etc.) to find gigs, or do y'all do more local work, word of mouth, etc.? I guess even more elementary than that would be this: are there part-time jobs to be had that will work around your current work schedule?
If not covered already, this might be a good future topic for a meetup...
|A former member||
My experience has been that good projects are tough to come by in Nashville -- it is largely a .Net/php town. I recommend contributing to some open source projects (or starting your own) and trying to find other work on the job boards (working with rails, rubyjobs, etc). Hope that helps.
My best answers:
1) is it possible to part-time my way into freelancing with Rails projects?
Yes! But there is nothing unique to Rails about this. What you are providing is a service to meet the real needs in the market and Rails is your tool (because you enjoy programming when you get to use Rails, because you can get more done in less time, because the project is easier to maintain down the road...) Any new business/freelance would be facing the same path and options having to do with getting started, finding clients, building reputation. We are just happen to be doing it with Rails.
2) Getting started with part-time projects, building up your reputation
Do a project for yourself in Rails first. Solve some need that you already have. For example, if you day job was as a Realtor, you could build a Rails project that queried the MLS, or Zillow, and looked for good values, or unusual activity, and send you reports and alerts. Maybe you can make a public site out of it.
Along the way, you may develop a plugin or gem that can be released open source (like Alex Sharp said). That will help in getting future work from the credibility and visibility.
Come to Rails, Ruby, web-development, web-design and technology meetings in town. You'll meet other developers/designers that you might end up working with part-time. You may meet future clients
Tell everyone you know that you turn people's software ideas into web startups and give them examples. "For example if you had an idea to create a local DVD swapping club online, I build sites can run that". Or tell people you do websites, and you'd love to help out if anyone needs one.
3) Guru.com and friends
I'm not interested in these, and haven't seen enough money in the projects to make it worth it. I also am worried about the miscommunication from lacking face-to-face interactions.
But also, I've never used these, so I don't really know.
But this is different from job-boards, which I do think are more promising.
I recommend using an RSS feed reader, searching for jobs online, and subscribing to the promising feeds that may post the jobs you want to hear about.