Freelance - what does that mean?

Freelance is an interesting word, and means something different to everyone.

For some, it means working with someone who is passionate about their career and skills, and is seeking to work for themselves.

For others, it means taking a risk with an individual who could just 'disappear' at any moment, leaving people with unfinished projects and out of pocket.

Whilst I can't vouch for every freelancer out there, let me set out my reasoning and approach.

Why did I choose to go freelance?

I've always loved technology. If you read my about page you'll hear more about that, but for the past few years I've been lucky enough to turn my passions into a successful career.

I initially started out professional web development for a design agency in Leeds. Working with the design team, I was responsible for turning static Photoshop-based designs into living breathing websites.

At first, I developed on WordPress like many others in the industry, but quickly grew dissatisfied with the limitations that presented (having learned how to code and produce websites from scratch).

After leaving this agency and introducing the digital and web world to a friend's print business, I started making a name for myself in networking groups. This reinforced my passion for coding and building websites from scratch, and was a great success business-wise.

Seeing that there was a market for what I do, I built partnerships with a variety of Leeds-based design and digital agencies.

Things were going great, but being involved in a business where there are requirements for a certain level of profit, and not having the level of freedom and flexibility I'd like led to me leaving here also.

As a result, I've now decided to count myself among the many freelancers out there. Aiming to work on projects where I can make a real difference - and also partner with other digital agencies that need a developer.

Misconceptions about freelancers

Often, the word freelancer can make businesses reluctant to work with an individual over an agency.

The most common question I get is "What happens if you get hit by a bus?".

In reality, this isn't as big a problem as some would think. The same thing would happen as it would when working with an agency; you find another developer.

I'm not in the practice of walking into buses however, so I'd like to think the chances of this happening aren't too high.

Another potential issue is with my development methodology - building from scratch rather than relying on platforms like WordPress.

Again this is never as big an issue as it seems. Were I to develop using WordPress and go AWOL, anybody else picking up the project would still have to take some time to acclimatise with the project and it's setup.

The same is true for my bespoke websites, it's just a case of finding an actual developer over a 'developer'.

What it means to me to be freelance

To me, freelancing offers me the freedom to take on projects that interest me; either from a technological standpoint, or where I can make the most impact.

This leads to an overall better experience for my clients, as I genuinely enjoy the projects I take on and put my skills and heart into every one. Any project not particularly suitable for myself I'm more than happy to refer to a range of developers I've worked with in the past.

Copyright © Nathan Thomas 2018

NT Projects is a trading name of Nathan Thomas; freelance, independant web and software developer