For most of the past 8 years I’ve been a professional freelancer and it all started with eduFire where I was VP of Engineering. When eduFire dissolved in a wash of founder level “oh crap we can’t raise our A round; what do we do; I know – I’ll just quit and start something else”(Note1) I made the choice to become a professional freelancer and I have really enjoyed that decision. I’ve never made as much money or learned as much as I have since I’ve been a freelancer. My skills now are better than they ever have been and it is largely from freelancing – more on that in a future post.
From time to time clients try, often hard, to hire you full time. And if you want to hire a freelancer full time then I have one piece of advice for you:
Pay the freelancer’s bills promptly
When someone is a freelancer and they are resistant to taking a full time job, I’d argue that there has to be a reason for it since it is dramatically harder to be a freelancer than a full time employee. We may all talk a lot about the gig economy but, in 2016 America, things are still structured against freelancers in every way – insurance, taxes, etc.
In my case I have trust issues. eduFire shut down 2 weeks before Christmas in 2009 with no notice and all of us were left high and dry and scrambling for what was next. And since no one hires in December or even January it meant that everyone was faced at least 2 months of no salary. I think we all landed on our feet - I certainly did.
As long as a client is moderately rational or at least not insane the best impression you can give a freelancer is, well, if you pay your bills promptly. As long as the freelancer is paid on time, well, we’re generally happy. And if you want them to join you full time, well, pay your bills on time. That goes a long, long way towards giving a freelancer the positive feelings you want them to have if you are going to name them a job offer.
Note1: No eduFire wasn’t mine and yes that’s more than a little bit of much deserved bitterness.