This is my most linkbait title yet.

General Questions

I recently responded to a Reddit post where someone asked me how to get started contracting. These are my thoughts.

So you make custom apps for people and bill them by the hour?

Yep, exactly. I can do fixed bids also, but that doesn’t happen often for mobile apps.

How do you find your clients? Word of mouth?

Yep, it’s that mostly. Conferences, accelerators, etc. I’ve done one contract with Upwork and it was ok. Very low rates there though.

Do you meet with the clients face to face or Skype/email?

I definitely prefer meeting face-to-face. Probably a third of my contracts are remote, but you just tend to not be as effective when remote.

Do you ever get any uncooperative clients or does being freelance offer you the opportunity to pick and choose the good ones?

I do get uncooperative ones. About 3 weeks ago, I had to end the relationship with one of my clients. It was a good source of money, but his meticulousness (which is an asset for him) was too much pain for me.

Any libraries or resources you would recommend someone interested in something like this?

I would just recommend starting coding. I started learning on Udemy. Just start shipping products/side-projects so you have a portfolio, and the contracts will come.

Getting Contracts

I want to expand on the “How do you find your clients?” question, because I get it a lot.

I don’t have a stream of inbound work proposals, but all of my contracts have been inbound. I don’t have any online presence, really.

How I got my most recent contracts, chronologically:

  • A mentoring session about my startup at the time, at a local accelerator. (Capital Factory)
  • Upwork.
  • Someone I met at same accelerator. Saw me progressing on previous startup, so that provided validation.
  • Recruiter reached out to me via LinkedIn.
  • At an AR conference. Someone saw me working on another client project and asked what development I do.

So, basically totally random. This may be a result of how I handle my work time when I don’t have a contract.

In my mind, there are two things you can do when you don’t have a contract. You can either do business development (sending out proposals, etc.), or work on startups/portfolio pieces/side projects. I choose the latter.

I believe that spending time on the former will actually get you a higher revenue per year. However, I’m interested in creating businesses, so I spend my off-time on those.

My goal is to achieve a total value of liquid assets in the single digit millions range. You can get almost certainly get there contracting, but my desired timeline is probably too aggressive to achieve that contracting. So I try to make new businesses.

Pick whichever off-time method fits your goals.