It looks like I haven’t been posting for almost two years! Here is a short post on what I’ve been doing all this time.
I quit my iOS development (remote) job in the end of February 2018. Since then I’ve been freelancing on Upwork. The first 6 months were dedicated to building up my profile.
Then I realised something. The jobs I was getting even after I had enough reviews on my profile were small and not very interesting. Mostly bug fixes. The only way to make decent money was to join some existing team. But I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t quit my job just to find me another job with managers, time tracking and all the other ‘goodies’. So, I though, maybe if I create a team myself, I’ll be able to get large and interesting projects. Because after all clients who have those big projects usually want all at once: iOS app, Android app, and server.
So I started hiring freelancers. Actually the first project that I did this way, was a fake project. It was an app for an imaginary company, that helps managers and employees communicate with each other. I wasn’t sure how easy it would be for me to find decent freelancers, so I didn’t want to start with a real project and a real client, and risk a big failure. So I just made up the task and hired freelancers for design work, backend development and android development. iOS app I developed myself.
After the fake project I did a couple of real projects with my newly created team. What I found out is that with my hourly rate that I had at the time, and the rates of my freelancers, I only made money when I was coding myself (I was still doing iOS development myself). All the management work was basically a downtime for me, when I made no money at all. And managing took a lot of my time. There were days after days, when I simply didn’t have time for coding because I was communicating with my team and clients all the time.
All in all this team building endeavour took me another 6 months, after which I finally realised that this business model was not sustainable. So from May 2019 I started learning cross-platform development using React Native. It took me one month to learn it enough to get my first paid React Native project. It was a simple serverless app (coin catalogue). I ended up making two similar apps with minor differences.
While I was working on those apps I also started learning back end development with Node.js, Express and MongoDB. In August I got a big project on which I’m working right now. Basically it’s a social network that will theoretically serve millions of people. So I have to learn a lot about scaling mobile apps.
My goals for 2020 are:
- Build and publish a few apps all by myself (with help only from a designer).
- Raise my rate to at least $30/hour.
- Market my services outside of Upwork (social networks, blogging)
- Figure out a way to accept money directly from clients. I have all the processes set up for receiving money through Upwork. But to legally receive money in other ways, I’d need to develop new processes (like creating a template contract in such a way that my bank accepts it).
- Create materials for teaching other people front end development with React Native.
Why do I need the last one? By the end of 2020 I’d like to start creating my own mobile development company, with an office and full-time employees. I’d need to somehow teach people to code, because I won’t be able to find experienced developers where I live. Also it’s much cheaper to teach a newbie as opposed to hiring a senior developer.
So these are all the news I have right now.