The choice of billing model can make or break a project

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Have you ever undercharged a client? Have you ever had a client complain that you’re overcharging them?

These sorts of disputes are common in the freelance world. Many come down to one simple mistake: charging a fixed price when you should be charging an hourly rate, or vice-versa. The choice should be made for each individual project and based on several variables.

With this in mind, I ran a poll to find out what freelancers prefer and why. I spoke to some of the respondents in the comments and in private messages to understand their choice.

Here are the takeaways…


Shun the non-believers!

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If you asked a random person the question “are software developers rational as a whole”, you would very likely get an affirmative response. That response would show ignorance of the periodic pseudo-religious movements within the industry.

One of the current religions is test-driven development. If you write tests after you write the actual code that performs the task at hand, you are now the weird one. If you don’t write them at all, you’re a veritable sinner.

All praise the current system. There is no better system than the current system. There are no excuses not to use the current…


Six rules for leadership in a distributed world

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The year 2020 brought about a remote revolution of sorts — whether they wanted to or not, many companies decentralized their operations.

This decentralization exposed some challenges of remote work to the wider public. As someone who has worked in several distributed teams over the course of a decade, I’ve watched even the most competent companies struggle to grasp the new paradigm.

This struggle is especially apparent in leadership roles. …


The most learning-intensive 3 hours of my life

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Recently, I came across my notes from a technical interview I did back in 2017 with a funded tech startup. The interview consisted of a 30-minute video call, followed by a coding assignment that took about 2 hours, and a 30-minute feedback session the following day.

Despite doing well on the call and having a stimulating discussion with their CTO, I did a pretty mediocre job of the coding task. It was a full-stack to-do list project that required building a bunch of interactive features in a short timespan and I found it challenging to complete in time. …


Stop letting your side projects die a slow death

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How many side projects have you started and then quit? Software developers are always learning new technologies, trying out new things, and building their ideas. They also build teams, launch startups, and create paid products.

However, most developers I have talked to report an abysmal completion rate on their projects. Many have 10 or more unfinished side projects, and most have participated in freelance projects that never saw the light of day.

Why is this problem so prevalent and what can you do to remedy it? Here are five rules I have formulated over nine years of experience that will…


Prioritize ruthlessly, invest effectively, and optimize growth

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Image Courtesy of Jovan CIcmil

Some of the fastest-growing companies in the world are losing money every year, and yet investors have more and more faith in them each year. The bottom line remains negative, and the stock prices are soaring. Why is that?

It all comes down to why the bottom line is negative. The fastest-growing companies often lose money for years because they’re reinvesting all their profits into better tools, client acquisition, research, personnel, and more.

The same concept that works for growth companies can apply to individuals, with one important caveat — you need to keep your bottom line above 0 as…


Four methods I’ve used to expand my vocabulary and communicate fluently

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Image Courtesy of Jovan Cicmil

Have you ever watched a lecture, or read an article, where the author had a lot of knowledge but struggled to express it clearly in English? I’ve personally dropped at least a dozen Youtube tutorials for this reason.

If you’re a non-native speaker thinking about creating content, it can be a daunting prospect. Will native speakers mock you? Will your friends find you pretentious? Will your work be trenchant or dull? Delightfully erudite or full of embarrassing solecisms? As this paragraph grows more and more hifalutin, you may find yourself becoming increasingly annoyed.

If that’s the case, mission accomplished. This…


The path from my first line of code to my first client

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Image Courtesy of Jovan Cicmil

Back in 2011, I was a university graduate with a very foggy look at the future. The field of study that I had chosen at age 18 now seemed like a foolish choice. Even though it was an engineering degree, in my country it resigned me to office work in one of maybe a dozen telecommunications companies.

This is not what I had envisioned when I left high school.

I was lucky enough, however, to have been introduced to programming by this time. …


At the intersection of freelancing, writing, and marketing

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This was an eventful year for the world, to say the least. For me, it was an echo of the immortal words of Charles Dickens: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the year I started creating content in addition to my regular freelancing work. I wrote close to 40 articles and published my first course on Udemy.

It was also the year of lockdowns, Covid-19, and frustrating socio-political strife.

In 2020, I’ve had more interactions with fellow writers and fellow software developers than ever before. …


How to make the most of your freelance income

Money management tips for freelancers
Money management tips for freelancers
image: author

I owe a lot to freelancing. As my readers know, it has provided me with reliable income and ample opportunity for self-improvement.

However, freelancing isn’t without its challenges. Being independent also means being self-reliant. There is no security, no health plan, and no pension built into freelancing — you have to make them happen yourself.

Here are some tips for managing your finances as a freelancer.

Keep books

I can’t emphasize enough how important bookkeeping is for a freelancer. At the end of each month, take some time to tally up your earnings per client/project/platform. Make a nice Excel sheet with some…

Jovan Cicmil

Freelancer, entrepreneur, and writer. www.jovancicmil.com

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