On My Own as a Free Agent: DaedTech Grows Up

In 2013, I made a mildly rambling life update post. In it, I described that I had decided to leave the job I had at the time with the intention of job seeking and blogging about it all the while (and also possibly striking out on my own). Things passed in something of a whirlwind and, when the dust settled, I had an offer and was back to W2 employment the Monday following my last Friday at the previous job. So many lost opportunities for interview anecdotes and “holy crap I’m actually on my own” posts about what it’s like to be a freelancer.

Well, the good news is that I’ve managed to double back after taking the commonly traveled road and set out this time on the one less traveled. Take that Robert Frost; I’ve now taken both roads and it has made all of the difference. Anyway, my point here isn’t to antagonize icons of poetry, but to announce that, starting this week, I am now in business for myself.

FakeItTilYouMakeIt

Like last time, my situation is somewhat fluid. I’ve agreed to consult with my now-former company on an extended basis and will continue my work with Pluralsight and on the blog and in the community in general. I have a few engagements lined up, both potential and scheduled, and the aim at this point is to start building and broadening my book of business. But there are also a few companies I’ve had conversations with about various intriguing full time opportunities. So the next month or two will probably be a busy, marginally confusing and formative time for me that is likely to determine the course of my career in the near term future, depending what I decide to do.

If you’re interested in working with me in some capacity, look for updates to the site’s menu soon to formalize and organize my thoughts, but I’ll speak to it a little bit here in the shorter term.  I’m willing to do some software application delivery work — essentially implementing applications needed by prospective clients.  But two areas in which I see myself as a fairly high value add, given my experience, are true consulting and what I’ll loosely describe as coaching and related delivery.

In the capacity of “true consulting,” I can bring a variety of experience to bear, ranging from line level development to C-level departmental management.  If your firm needs advice on implementation or architecture, I can certainly supply that, but I can also help provide gap analysis, recommendations for technical strategy, ROI calculations for software initiatives, help selecting and evaluating candidates/staff developers and plenty more.  Under the heading of coaching, I can help your group out with agile transformations, implementing and selling external stakeholders on accepted best practices (automated testing, continuous integration, TDD, automated builds and deployments, etc), mentoring/teaching developers, performing code reviews, speaking to your group etc.  But beyond that, I’m happy to put my money where my mouth is beyond just coaching; if you want to hire me to clean up your group’s build, move you over to a new source control scheme, refine your ALM tooling, etc, that’s an excellent fit for me.  And, if any of you reading are not in a decision-making position but would like to see these changes implemented in your group, I have a knack for selling management on change and sidestepping Expert Beginners.  We can talk and see if maybe we can’t get a meeting with your management and the winds of positive change blowing through your company’s halls.

Those are the arenas in which I see myself being most valuable to prospective clients, and I really enjoy working with developers and people in the industry, so I’d be happy doing that sort of work.  But really, I’m open to anything that sounds interesting.  If you have an idea for a project you’d like to work on with me, a pitch for a startup, a full time position you need filled (I’d probably really only be looking for leadership roles if I were going to consider W2 work), some writing or developer evangelism (but only if I believe in the product) that you need help with, or really anything you can think of at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out.  I’m always up for a discussion.

I don’t doubt that I’ll have more refined messages about what I’m doing later, and certainly I’ll have posts about my experiences, struggles, and learning moments.  My goal here was just to make a quick announcement of what I was doing and invite those interested in possible arrangements to reach out so that as many interesting opportunities as possible presented themselves.  Someone recently asked me what kind of working I was looking to do, and my eyes sort of widened and a really obtuse response came out before I could stop myself: “interesting work.”  This was actually an intense bout of honesty, though, and I don’t know that I’m looking for too much more than that, in terms of the work.  I’m looking for an opportunity to be autonomous, diligent and creative, and to solve challenging problems.  Beyond that, I kind of grow where I’m planted.  I could be happy working on implementing programming language, detangling a nasty legacy code base, selling your management on the virtues of iterative approaches, cranking out code for a product idea, writing an interesting story about a compelling developer tool, and just about anything in between.  So please don’t hesitate to reach out with anything that you think might be interesting, fun or challenging, and I promise in return, I won’t hold back on relating anything interesting about my experience, even if it’s lessons that I learn from embarrassingly stupid or naive things that I do as a fledgling business owner.

  • Geoff Mazeroff

    Your summary of skills, interests, and boundaries (will and won’t work on X) is a great start. The W-2 arena still works for me right now; the decision to steer your own ship is a very personal one. I look forward to following your journey; I’ve learned a great deal from your blog (and videos) already!

  • http://www.daedtech.com/blog Erik Dietrich

    I’m glad that you find the posts helpful. A lot of it historically has been “I’m blazing my trail through the world of software development and here’s what I’ve found — hopefully it helps someone reading.” I’m assuming the same will be true of navigating the world of freelancing, documenting what I learn and what trips me up.

  • Geoff Mazeroff

    That’s how these things start. It’s on my to-do list to start a blog — I have several ideas for posts cached up in Evernote.

    I believe It’s a win-win: You can share knowledge with the community (and keep those written communication skills sharp) and we can learn from your insights (or realize we’re not alone when others encounter obstacles).

  • http://www.daedtech.com/blog Erik Dietrich

    Agreed. I think that’s one of the core value propositions of technical (or probably any) blogging.