Author Topic: Ideas for Software engineer/developer Small business work?  (Read 5118 times)

MMMintraining

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Ideas for Software engineer/developer Small business work?
« on: December 27, 2014, 09:34:26 AM »
My husband and I recently started our own small business as a software developer/engineer. We have a single govt contract (came about in a really lucky way) until Sept 2015 and currently looking for future and additional work so we can pay down student loans.

We have learned that most govt contracts take 15-18 months to get and maybe a few more to get paid. My husband also doesn't qualify for many of the small biz stuff because we are too small with limited experience. We have been in contact with many people helping us try to get other stuff but these contracts take 80 hrs just to write the proposal with no guarantee.

Bottom line is that we think this type of work is probably not going to let us pay anything off or earn extra as it is mostly a long term gamble. We spent two months writing and got rejected.

We aren't sure what type of work is out there besides govt contract work?  We still have an option for my husband to get a job as a developer somewhere and we are open to that but with our own business we aren't really limited income wise.

Just thought to ask mustachians how you seek,extra work as a small biz owner or even free lancer.

Btw, we have three young kids so I stay at home with them. I do try to sell furniture on CL and quilts on the side to earn.

iamlindoro

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Re: Ideas for Software engineer/developer Small business work?
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2014, 10:01:36 AM »
I have spent most of the past few years as a contractor doing software development work.  It came out of necessity (previous long-term employer went out of business) and hadn't been the original goal.  That being said, I love it.  I work from home, I make more money than I ever did as a W2 employee (even after taxes and paying myself benefits) and I can take advantage of an Individual 401(k) and put over $50,000 per year into my retirement savings tax free.

I found that it took 6-8 months of ceaseless hunting to get the pipeline "primed" and keep the contracts consistent.  I have not and do not do government contracts-- private industry only.  I made sure all of my friends and contracts knew that I was seeking contract work, what kind of work I did, and actively asked them (in person and on Facebook) if they knew of anyone looking for skills like mine.  Most people will tell you that they don't know of anything right now, but will keep you in mind.  It's up to you to keep the idea fresh in their minds by communicating well and doing some tactful marketing of yourself.  Facebook worked well for me on this.

Once there were a constant stream of contracts coming in, they mostly sustained themselves by either being long term, or through word of mouth.  Make sure to take good care of your customers.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2014, 11:23:36 AM by iamlindoro »

MMMintraining

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Re: Ideas for Software engineer/developer Small business work?
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2014, 11:14:13 AM »
Thank you for your answer! We have leaned more toward private industry and just hadn't found a way to get the ball rolling but I like your idea of asking everyone. You never know!

iamlindoro

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Re: Ideas for Software engineer/developer Small business work?
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2014, 11:22:09 AM »
Yeah, if you're like me, it won't happen overnight-- but remember the legwork you do now WILL pay off months down the road when something comes up and someone thinks of you.  The bit of advice you give as a favor today may turn into a big contract in six months-- you just never know, so it pays to make sure everyone is aware of your skills, and that you'd like to be considered for any work they have that comes up.  Good luck!

MMMintraining

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Re: Ideas for Software engineer/developer Small business work?
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2014, 12:08:39 PM »
I have another question for you. Since we currently have a full time contract, we have found it difficult to find "work" that is something my husband can do after hours. Many of the contract or consulting positions we have found are please come in our office and work for a few months or we need 40 hrs a week full time 8-5. I have checked on sites like indeed, Robert Half Technology, and DICE. Do you think these are more for full time employment?

iamlindoro

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Re: Ideas for Software engineer/developer Small business work?
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2014, 12:16:31 PM »
I think they're certainly for more desperate individuals.  I think these are more "temp" positions than contracting, and yeah, they're essentially full time employment within a limited window.  My experience in looking into those is that they're really trying to get somebody cheap as opposed to obtaining the best result.  The kind of work I'm looking for (and probably you too) involves developing a personal relationship with the customer, and being seen as the subject matter expert rather than a disposable resource.  Harder to find but a lot more rewarding.  Guess that's probably the difference between "contracting" and "consulting."  I prefer the latter :)

MMMintraining

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Re: Ideas for Software engineer/developer Small business work?
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2014, 12:35:23 PM »
So perhaps we aren't quite to the time period of looking for more work yet-though to be honest, it is nerve wracking!
Any ideas for earning income as a freelance dev but not ear pennies for it. We tried subscribing to something with a leads email but it was like you said , we want it cheaply done not well done and then there were 300 people applying for the same thing.

iamlindoro

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Re: Ideas for Software engineer/developer Small business work?
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2014, 12:49:28 PM »
That's what I was getting at above-- you have to find that kind of work through personal relationships and word of mouth, I think.  Most of the work I do is for very small companies-- a couple dozen employees at the most.  In spite of that, I charge $100/hour and seldom get any pushback.  Start now if you're hoping to have things start to come your way by mid next year.

I've never had any success in finding work through online postings/bidding/etc.  There are just too many overseas sweatshops that can do the work for nothing for customers who care nothing about quality.  Finding work with US-based companies in the startup space is just way more pleasant.

I am not sure where you're located, but most of my customers are in Silicon Valley and New York (I am located in the Bay Area) so getting the word out to friends in those places may help to accelerate the pipeline.  Not sure what my plan would be if I was not already located in a tech-centric area.  I also happen to work in a language/space that is "hot" right now, so that may give me some help.

Fuzz

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Re: Ideas for Software engineer/developer Small business work?
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2014, 12:53:37 PM »
Read a bunch of biz dev and marketing blogs. Check out podcasts, there are a lot of really good ones out there.

I suggest mixergy--the podcast--to start. You could check out Ramit Sethi's Earn 1K and Noah Kagan's blog for ideas.

If you're strategic about your business development and marketing, you can do really well. But that statement is so vague as to be useless, it's like saying if you're good at business then you can have a good business it--tautological and waste of your brain juice. I encourage you to read a ton and then ask more targeted questions.