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Old 01-10-2017, 09:01 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 9,899

Originally Posted by jj1987 View Post
What type of software development are we talking here? If you're just looking for $50/hr wordpress setup and editing, that's pretty easy to find, but as the tools are getting better the number of people who need those skills are reducing. In general I've had success lurking open source PHP/MySQL based software forums, answering questions that are fairly easy, and once people ask me anything that I can't do in 15 minutes or so I tell them that's beyond what I can offer on a forum. I'll send a quote to do it for them. Usually those take a bit of time to sink in, they'll attempt stuff on their own and either have success and never talk to me again, or contact me months later after giving up. I did a ton of this in college and it got me through debt free, never having to work retail.

If you're looking for higher end jobs-- building a data warehouse, writing custom applications, helping clients get their software fully unit/integration tested, migrating to a different language, developing software integrations for new systems, etc and want $125-250/hr, that's harder simply because there are fewer decision makers who have the $$$ to throw around. The ways I've found jobs like this is through a previous coworker of mine who opened a development company after he left the company, a previous employer who still hires me to do some of the more difficult software development and uses jr developers for basic stuff, and luckily my father in law is in sales and knows a ton of medium sized businesses. I try to shoot for $75-125/hr, I'll lower my monthly rate if they agree to a minimum monthly retainer.

If you're willing to go at it full time like an old coworker of mine does, start attending community development meetings, show up to Christmas parades, join every relevant meetup you can. You can demand a much higher price point full time, easily $200-250 because you're way more available than someone like myself and that's a huge value to the company you're working for.

I try to keep my average around 10-15 hours a week since I work full time, and never more than two bigger projects in parallel with one another due to the risk of it becoming overwhelming. I won't get rich doing it, but it covers our boat payment, house payment, and my truck plus some other $$$.

The biggest advice I can give you-- remember family first. As a software developer, there will NEVER be a time where you are not the end of the line when it comes to implementing new systems. Even if the 12 month project takes 11 months to get requirements to you, people will still pressure you no matter who's fault it is that the development is delayed. This means you're always going to feel pressure to work extra hours, work nights and weekends, etc to get something done. Force people to plan ahead, and when they don't, remember that "I have family time scheduled" is an absolutely acceptable answer-- if it's not, don't be afraid to lose that kind of client.
Depends on the industry. Try that approach in strategy consulting and you will be quickly unemployed
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