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Becoming independent first before bootstrapping


#1

Hi everyone,

I’m currently working as a developer 9-6 at a digital agency and whilst I have ideas for SAAS I think the sensible first step towards independence is to get out of the 9-6 and be my own boss. I’m thinking about creating my own boutique agency and getting my own clients. Only after that will I contemplate the SAAS.

I want to know is there a quality forum like bootstrapped.fm for the business of freelancing/setting up shop where I can read up and ask for quality advice on the right way to make the leap with reduced risk. More signal. Less noise. Brennan Dunn used to have a forum but its no longer up.

I know this question isn’t 100% on topic for this board but I know a few people here have done just this so thought I’d ask. Whilst Google is useful nothing beats a personal recommendation.


#2

Why don’t you just ask Brennan? That’d be the least noise, methinks. He’s not a deity, you know.

Maybe buy his book and count on reciprocation.


#3

Why don’t you just ask Brennan?

I did but never got a reply.

He’s not a deity, you know.

I actually thought the opposite, that he’s human and can only have so much on his plate. Just assumed he axed the forum to free up bandwidth.

Maybe buy his book and count on reciprocation.

I have bought two of his products but they didn’t tackle the transition period from working 9-6 to becoming independent and I don’t think the others do either.


#4

Well, 'twas fair effort. Now I guess you have to figure it out for yourself.

And later, when you’re over with it, don’t forget to reply when someone asks you about it :slight_smile:


#5

I actually shot Brennan another email and it turns out the forum moved to Slack. He’s getting me an account on it as we speak.

I’d still appreciate other recommendations If anyone has any.


#6

Well, I’m kinda in the same boat, so my first question to you is: is it legal for you to do a work on a side? That really depends on the wording in your contract.

When I was signed my most recent long-term contract, I made sure that the wording only controlled the products I create during work hours on client’s equipment. My time and my laptop are not claimed. Hence I can put in some hours after day work and on weekend without a risk of a legal conflict.


#7

I would think that a forum is a bad way to get the information you want. Forums are for asking very specific questions.

For “freelance 101” buy a well rated book / course from reputable source (e.g. Udemy, Skillshare) or find free stuff with well crafted google searches or on YouTube. “basics of freelancing” is one of the most covered topics on the internet.

Just as an example, for $18 you can get https://www.udemy.com/freelance-bootcamp-comprehensive-guide-to-freelancing/

If forum is what you crave there’s a forum for every topic on reddit https://old.reddit.com/r/freelance/

And https://www.lancebase.com/, https://www.warriorforum.com/website-design/488049-top-forums-freelancers.html, https://www.freelancer.com/community, http://www.modernfreelance.com/forums/


#8

Sorry for the slow reply. Notifications went straight to my spam and I just checked in now.

is it legal for you to do a work on a side?

Yes and if I were to do work on the side I’d do it with my employer’s knowledge as I have a great relationship with them and like to keep it so. However I’m not sure my available hours outside work can allow me to find decent clients (2 hour commute, 8 hours work and 1 hour lunch break == frazzled.)

I can probably switch my current job to part time and work 2/3 weeks a month leaving the rest for client work and gradually grow from there.

But before I make that move I want to make sure I’ve done as much as possible whilst safely fully employed to put me in a good position to find clients.

I know need to expand my network. So the usual go to meetups, make presentatins etc are on my list but I’m wondering if there are any other ideas I can do to maximise my chances of success. Thats why I want to see how others made the leap smartly


#9

Thanks for the info. I’ve bought a few of Brennan Dunns products and they were very useful but specifically looking for how people made the leap from 9-6 to fully independent hence why I wanted some forum ideas.

Im in the middle of getting access to Brennan Dunns slack group. In the meantime Ill check your links out.

Cheers.


#10

That’s the first obvious thing to eliminate. Having 2 extra hours a day would allow you to take on small side gigs, removing the necessity for one big leap of faith.

If, as you said, you have good relationships with your employer, that shouldn’t be a problem. It is beneficial for them also - you do not come to office tired from the commute, you start your work day fresh and full of energy.

Going remote made a huge difference for my side project. I have a signature “Commuting is a waste” in all my client communications since :slight_smile:


#11

I made the switch from digital agency life to freelance web developer about thirteen years ago. For the first seven or eight years I only worked on building the business and working on client projects. Around the seven year mark I started developing my first SAAS. Between juggling client projects, SAAS development and family life it took a little under two years (way longer than it should have) to complete and launch the SAAS. I’m still running the SAAS and continuing to freelance. Freelance income is my primary source of income, SAAS continues to grow but it is still years away from replacing what freelance work brings in.

What have I learned in that time:

  • Time is scarce but you can’t spend it all on work.
  • Most things take longer than you expect and plan.
  • You need savings to offset slow times (especially if freelancing).
  • You need a good support system (family & friends) if working remotely/solo.
  • Freelancing is hard, it takes a lot of work to build and maintain relationships. Your work is your best sales tool. Your word is your bond. Do it right and things should go well, screw it up and things will go bad.
  • A SAAS it not a golden egg. They take a lot of work and grow slow. For me I count on freelancing to cover the bills. SAAS income is bonus money to save. As the percentage of SAAS income grows relative to freelancing income I can take less client work without hurting my finances.
  • Freelancing gives me freedom (a certain amount) and flexibility with my time so I can focus on SAAS when needed.
  • Working for yourself isn’t 9-5 Monday to Friday. It’s 24 x 7, it can become consuming and overwhelming. Set limits, give yourself downtime and enjoy the ride.

That’s my long winded 2 cents.

Good luck!