My digital scrapbook

Failure is part of freelance life

on under Internet, Marketing and Business3 Comments

I am assuring to my self to be brave writing this article and publish it to public. I am trying to be open as possible and hope you will learn from my story. I am freelance web developer since 2004 until this day. Freelance world nowadays is different than when I was decided to go as freelancer. I want to share to people whom decided to be full time freelancer.

The reason I choose my path as freelance because I can’t get a job because of my education background, Computerize Accounting even it’s under Information System Faculty. My degree is S. Kom, computer degree, holding same title like IT graduates. I have good GPA score and I don’t know the exact reason why some companies reject me after last interview. That’s bit of my story why I am started as freelancer.

Now, most people think about freelance is about freedom. According to Oxford Dictionaries, related to this topic freedom is

The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved


For most people, Freelancing doesn’t directly connected to freedom like it should. You must look OK even you’re not OK. You need to find solution mostly by yourself. You’re the boss, you’re the sales person, you’re the designer, you’re the programmer, you’re the accountant and you’re the account manager. No one replace you when you get sick or your family member need attention. You face the risk yourself. Freedom?

I will taking this article into deeper session. Failure. I am facing several failed project. In my personal KPI (Key Perfomance Indicator), fail project reach about 10% which never finished or totally failed. The reason is delivery time is missed but in fact some successful project occurs because client is permissive to deadline which at the end, the project was completed.

You may read somewhere in internet that you should take down payment. Down payment, you take money from your client as initial payment to assert the project is kick off. You client invest their money to your overhead cost. In morality, you will fight with your heart. Whether in worst case, I can’t finish the project what can I do?

My business conduct is to refund the down payment range in 100% – 70% from initial payment. I have few case in 100% refund even I have made some effort to the project but in term of business, it may sound crazy. Again, you can’t buy your state of mind and mood. Returning 100% down payment is risky and client will tell you to not taking the project from beginning.

My client is correct, I shouldn’t take the project. Based on my failure experiences, I am creating my project feasibility flowchart. These are the rule of thumbs indicate you shouldn’t take a project:

  1. You are overloaded with on going projects.
  2. Project objective is unclear.
  3. Project timeline is beyond common sense.
  4. You hardly need money to sustain your life.
  5. Your client says this project should be easy and asking for lower rate.
  6. Your client explicitly compare your service with products or other service provider.
  7. Project is too big to handle by yourself.
  8. You never do smaller project with likely or same specification.
  9. You have no work networks to find who can help you to finish the project.
  10. You’re over confident.
  11. You didn’t take any notes on every meeting.

Make it as flowchart, when your answer is YES somewhere in the flowchart, you should politely turn down the project. Don’t get too far, know your limitation as freelancer.

Business always contains risks. Don’t always think the best part, you always need the worst part. I was facing financial crisis several times in my freelance life, pawning any treasure and ended by selling my car. I need one full year to recover, working as part time trainer in computer course institution, getting full time job in telecommunication service company as middle developer even I was handling big clients in freelancing, doing network installation for houses. I was doing anything to sustain pay the bills.

I am not giving up yet, I know someday some good opportunities will lead me to better place in this life.