“Do you want to make $450,000 a year as a Web developer?”
What a rhetorical question to start a book with. I started thinking right away: is that achievable by a combination of web development and affiliate marketing, or perhaps by developing your own product and selling it to big businesses? Actually, none of that turned out to be the case.
In his book Remotely Rich, Matt Vogel is sharing his practices and experiences of being a freelancer web developer working from home. But how can he make almost half a million dollars a year? The secret turns out to be more prosaic than you might think. Matt is saying that by managing his time properly and by cutting out all the disruption that is present in an office environment he is able to work three full-time jobs. And because freelancers tend to be paid more than regular workers the numbers add up. I’m pretty sure that anyone who ever worked in an office can testify that a significant portion of the day is spent in a breakout area – drinking coffee, tea or some other source of caffeine and sugar while discussing last weekend and planning the next one.
In contrast, Matt focuses on maximizing effectiveness. It’s not easy and he is painting a very realistic picture of what it takes to be a freelancer. Matt admits it can be difficult sometimes and occasionally it involves working crazy hours to meet a deadline. However, I could not help myself but think that, in one form or another, most of the challenges of being a freelancer is present at regular jobs too. Working on the weekend? Check. Do managers have unrealistic expectations or imperfect knowledge about the state of the project? Most of the time. I’m not saying that working in a nine-to-five job and being a freelancer are the same things, but there are similarities for sure. Probably handling clients is the biggest challenge that you don’t have to bother with when you are working for a company. I see that not every programmer would be willing to do that. However, maybe it would worth to git it a try given how financially rewarding freelancer life could be. There are some valuable tips and techniques in the book regarding how clients should be handled.
Matt in his book is being very practical and tells us about a lot of things from choosing office space down to personal hygiene (really). There is a section dedicated to advises on tax and financials. Because he is living in the US this section is less helpful for us who work outside the States. Although every developer should think about what to do with the money earned. Invest in stocks, bonds or index funds? Buying a real estate is an option too. Developers who are not confident with financials should seek professional advice.
Remotely Rich is not a long book to read. It’s very practical and down-to-earth. This book is more about core soft skills than programming techniques. I definitely recommend it to anyone who is thinking about starting a career as a freelancer web developer.