Working as a Freelancer

I have been working as a freelance software developer for 3 months now. Before that, I worked 5 years on a couple of companies in Turkey, one of them was a place everyone in my profession in Turkey wants to work for. I worked there for 2 years. It was my last full time job.

Working for a corporate company has its ups and downs. I was paid well, had a lot of perks. I had cool coworkers, now I have the people I meet in Starbucks. I make less money now. But I’m happier. I choose what I do, how I do it. I don’t have to work many hours on a project knowing it will fail. I take projects I believe in and enjoy every minute of it. I don’t have to use outdated tools like ClearCase, QC. I don’t have to spend hours and hours in meetings.

A close friend of mine started his own company 3 years ago and he was a big inspiration for me to start working on my own. We have to do a mandatory military service in Turkey, and if you quit your job to do your service, you get a severance package. So I decided I would get it over with, got my severance package and quit. It sucked my life away for 6 months, but that’s another story.

I finished my service on January, and immediately started working. First month, I coded apps for myself to find out what’s new in Android and iOS world, only one of them ended up being published.

Okay, I decided I wasn’t rusty anymore, I needed to find clients. But how?

Well, my first paid freelance work was from a friend for an iOS PhoneGap plugin. It was a lot of fun to do. Then a couple of more small jobs from other people I know. My latest job was again through a friend while having beers. It is an iPad app for a huge company in Turkey. I can’t get into details because I am not allowed to tell people about it for now. But I will be allowed in a month and it should look good in my portfolio. They are happy with my work and we are already talking about future projects.

I had some free time this week and I decided this week that I would start using freelancer websites. I tried to sign up to freelancer.com and I found out I already had an account. Probably because I had an account on rentacoder.com years ago.

Anyway, I tried bidding. Wow, there are a lot of bidders who would work for much less then I do. I tried taking English test, sponsoring my bids, but didn’t get a lot of replies on my first week.

Then I got a phone call for a job offer from a local company. They found my resume online and  they were looking for an experienced Java developer. After telling them I didn’t want a full time job, they asked if I coded iOS apps. Apparently, they were also looking for someone to help update their app. Lucky me. I may have found another project.

If you are thinking about working as a freelancer, make sure you have a good personal network. Online freelancer websites will only help if you are willing to work for really cheap. That is for new users. If you do a couple of cheap projects, you may end up getting better ones once your clients are happy about your work. But if you have a good network, you will start getting paid well immediately.

My Mac Toolbox

I’ve used different versions of Windows, different Linux distros over the years. For the last couple of years, my main operating system was Windows 7 on my notebook, which I loved, and I would use a Mac for iOS development.

Not a long time ago, I decided I would not get a full time job in a big corporate company again. I started working as a freelancer while also working on my own projects. Having to do a lot of iOS programming, I thought I would switch to a Macbook Pro for all my development and personal use. And got one.

I should have switched long time ago. It was weird at first, but I feel like I belong here now. I decided I would compile a list of tools I use, to help new users.

Let’s start;

Alfred
Simple, free, addictive tool. It indexes your apps, helps you do web searches with simple shortcuts on your keyboard. You can also purchase the powerpack, for additional features but the free version still offers a lot.

PopClip
It’s basically a popup when you select some text with Cut,Copy, Paste and search options by default. I got this app just because a friend of mine suggested it, didn’t get used to it at first. Then it gets addictive. It has plug-in support for many additional features.

Caffeine
Unfortunately, OS X doesn’t provide a lot of options for power saving. This little app helps you choose when your Mac will go to sleep. It’s a must-have for all Mac Users.

Homebrew
This one is another must-have. On their website it says “Homebrew installs the stuff you need that Apple didn’t.” It makes it easy to install and update a lot of useful tools.

Sourcetree
Visual Git and Mercurial client that is super easy to use.

Scroll Reverser
Okay, I love my Macbook, but I hate Apple’s mice. I use a Razer Deathadder which is great for games and Photoshop-like apps. I love the touchpad on my Macbook too. Scrolling on the touchpad using two fingers the swiping direction is opposite to what you would have on a Windows notebook. But it feels right, it feels like scrolling on an iPad. However, reverse scroll direction on a regular mouse does not feel right at all. This is where this little app comes in. You get to have different scrolling directions on your touchpad and your mouse.

Pixelmator
I am not a graphic designer, however I still have to do a lot of graphic editing. On Windows, I would use Paint.NET, which is amazing by the way. When I switched to Macs, I tried using Pinta, which is like a Mono port for Paint.NET but couldn’t get used to it. I read some reviews about Pixelmator and decided to buy it. It offers way more features than I would ever need for a fraction of Photoshop’s price.

Besides these, I have lots of other tools/apps installed, like  Evernote, SublimeText 2, CCleaner, which you probably already heard a lot of, so I will not be reviewing those.

Anything else you find useful? Please leave a comment.

Hello world!

Just set up my new blog. I will actually blog this time.