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 help you guide your projects successfully from idea to deployment. …


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 an individual. …


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 was a minor demonstration of the power of a rich vocabulary. Choice of words matters. …


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

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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 graphs over time. …


A popular piece of personal finance advice debunked

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How often have you heard financial advice like this: a car is a depreciating asset, so spending a lot of money on a good car is by default a bad investment; you should buy a cheap ride to get you from point A to point B and invest the rest of the money into appreciating assets.

The question I have to ask is: is your time an appreciating asset?

When choosing between a $20k car and a $4k car, there are several questions you should ask yourself. What are the qualities that make the former so much more expensive? Is it just a matter of branding and marketing, or are there tangible advantages to the more expensive option? …


My journey from an idea to publishing a course on Udemy

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When I was still new to blogging, I wrote an article about my success on Upwork as a freelancer. I didn’t think much would come of it at the time, but it turned out to be quite successful. This demonstrated that there is tremendous interest in the topic, and I came up with the idea to create an online course about it.

This article is an outline of my journey from that moment to the moment I published the course on Udemy. During this journey, I found that you need 4 ingredients to craft a quality course:

  • Content
  • Equipment
  • Presentation
  • Perseverance…


My experimentation with habits, schedules, and hobbies over 9 years of freelancing

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Those of you who have been following my work know that I have been freelancing for 9 years. During that time, my productivity has improved dramatically. How?

Through trial-and-error, as well as by reading many books on the subject, I have evolved a series of rules and principles that I adhere to on a daily basis. I am sharing them here in the hope that you will go through this process a lot faster than I did. Doing this will help you achieve the seemingly paradoxical: get more done and have more free time.

2012

I started freelancing as a software developer in November 2011. I had finished college and was entirely disinterested in the subject I had been studying for 5 years. So, having a knack for logic and computers, I turned to coding. …


It has nothing to do with being more talented

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Companies that want to hire you will often use an argument consisting of two logical fallacies, wrapped in a veneer of condescension. Specifically, they will tell you that you have to choose between security and freedom (false dichotomy fallacy). They will base their pitch on the presupposition that working in a team is more productive and more secure, and then proceed to ask you whether productivity and security are important to you (loaded question fallacy).

Let me tell you why they’re wrong, and why being a freelancer can provide the best of both worlds.

The lone rider

My experience as a software developer, having worked both in teams and solo for 9 years, is as follows. If there is a project that a single expert can complete in 6 months, a team of 3 experts will do it in 4 months. If everyone in this example makes the same amount of money, that totals to twice the cost for the client in the team scenario, and only 33% of time saved. …

About

Jovan Cicmil

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

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