Freelancing as a developer can seem a little scary.  That’s because as a freelancer you have to do everything.  No matter how good you are, everyone has strengths and weaknesses.  I am really good as an analyst, designer, and developer.  But, I am not so good at cold calling to find new work.  So, my strategy to freelancing is simple: find a partner that can do what you can’t.

Ronald McDonald House of Iowa

I have a couple of case stories that I want to share with you to illustrate this point.  The first is a project I worked on a few years ago for the Ronald McDonald house of Iowa.  They needed a reservation booking system to help coordinate getting hotel rooms for the parents of kids in the hospital.  My colleague Trevor Bollers made contact with them and discussed their initial requirements.  Once he heard what they needed he called me and I took on the task of analyzing their business need and building out a domain model for them.  In a short while we had a nice ASP.Net MVC web application up and running for them that implemented all of the custom business rules around placing people in rooms as a charity instead of a hotel.

Project Skills Required Mark Trevor Result
Cold Call Bad Good Good
Sales Fair Good Good
Identify Right Technology Good Fair Good
Model Business Requirements Good Fair Good
Develop/Test Solution Good Bad Good
Deliver Solution Good Fair Good

As you can see, all the places where I am weak are the places where Trevor is strong.  Together, we developed and delivered a successful project.  The realization that I would not have been as successful on my own is an important one.

Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program (RMFMP)

The next project I want to discuss is RMFMP.  This was a project for the Jacksonville Bar Association in Florida during the mortgage foreclosure crisis.  Remember that Rolling Stone article about “robo-signing” foreclosures.  Yeah, that was in Jacksonville, FL.  The state supreme court ordered all of the circuit courts to send mortgage foreclosure cases to attempt mediation before they would be heard in the court.  Another colleague I know named Rick Whitcher has been it IT support and network engineer for the Bar association for many years.  He as in their office one day and they asked him about software development.  So, Rick called me.  I met with Rick and several of the Bar association employees and designed and built a web application to schedule and manage the mediation process between lenders and borrowers.  Rick then proceeded to sell the same product to almost every other Bar association in Florida and changed the project from a success to a great success.

Project Skills Required Mark Rick Result
Cold Call Bad Good Good
Sales Fair Awesome Awesome!
Identify Right Technology Good Bad Good
Model Business Requirements Good Good Good
Develop/Test Solution Good Bad Good
Deliver Solution Good Good Good

The Answer Is Teamwork

The point of these stories is simple.  No man is an island and you will serve yourself well if you build a network of friends and colleagues that compliment your skill set.  This is why I am currently pursuing a relationship with some contracting firms in hopes that they can complement my skills in the same way Trevor and Rick both have in the past but in a more consistent manner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *