Wild Man's Shore

Monday, March 20, 2006

It's a consultant's life

This month I took the plunge into consultancy, leaving the shores of a paid salaried position for the choppy seas of the private consultant. Immediately I became inundated with work, hence the reason for not blogging lately. The hours are crazy: I work at home most of the time, so I get to be a full-time dad for our one year old, which means I start work in the early hours to avoid distraction (my wife is a baker, so she often starts at 3 in the morning) or late into the night. Only now am I getting my sleep patterns into something regular. Plus, I do work for overseas clients so I often have to work to their time zone.

I have a "toiminimi" ("working name") which is a kind of private, one-man company, for handling the billing; this cost 70 euros from the magistrate's office. A few rather obvious points:

* Get an accountant ! People who mess up their taxes lose big, from what the Finns call the "tax bear".
* Set up a separate account for handling customer bills and company expenses.
* You have many bosses as opposed to one boss.
* And these bosses don't pay a regular salary ! You have to bill them for time/results.
* No results, no pay !
* No office politics, but can be lonely
* "Think globally, act locally" : if you work in the net there is work around the world. Not all development is done by bug big outsourcing companies.

It's fun from a development point of view. Most places I have worked you tend to not only work in one language/framework but on one product for months or years on end. Now in a single day I do Python, Ruby, PHP and SQL in a variety of projects. But there is extra stress, working at home with all its distractions and knowing if you screw up or miss a deadline you don't get paid.

I'm going to do this for a month or so while I wait for some job offers so I can compare how much money is coming in from this.

It's quite an adventure.


At 2:00 PM, Blogger jann said...

hi :)
"get separate accounts"...what do u mean by that?


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