From Freelancer to Entrepreneur - One Step

    The work of a freelance programmer is often compared to work in an outsourcing company: theoretically, you always have a clear task and a deadline, so it’s up to the developer to pedal. In fact, the experience of many freelancers shows that working on oDesk and similar exchanges is not only closer to developing startups, but also helps to start your own project with experience.

    Sunset over Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia), from the album of Konstantin Sokolinsky

    This is particularly said by Stefan Casriel from the (now) united company Elance-oDesk, who came to the IDCEE conference in Kiev last week. According to him, American and European startups have “tried” freelance exchanges - in the conditions of an eternal lack of money, programmers from Eastern Europe and the CIS often become the best solution for young teams that need to quickly create product iterations.

    Igor Shoifot (@shoifot), who has been living in Silicon Valley for many years and represents a venture fund with Russian roots TMT Investments, repeats the same thing. He confirmed in a conversation that freelancers of technical specialties from Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria, etc. very often found in teams of local startups.

    So, back to the differences between freelancers and outsourcing programmers in the application to the Valley and other startup hubs. Due to the fact that the startup team is usually very small, the freelancer techie usually becomes an integral part of it and works the same way as the rest - well, unless it is a cofounder and does not incur losses if the startup does not take off.

    This opinion is supported by Konstantin Sokolinsky, a 30-year-old freelancer with experience from Kharkov, who managed to work in his own and other startups, and at the same time travel to Southeast Asia and South America.

    “I had to work in startups both through oDesk and outside it, for the last three years of freelance and building my outsourcing company. The geography of start-ups is the States (California, New York, Tennessee) and Australia, and customers from Europe are basically well-established companies. ”

    About the differences between freelancer work with startups and large clients:

    “Startups have more development volatility. Changing requirements, hourly wages and (depending on the size of the invoice) more modest budgets.

    Large companies are more interested in predictable budgets and are often willing to pay more but a fixed price. In such cases, you have to carefully manage the Chenji, but in general, working is more profitable and calmer.

    About the benefits of freelance experience:

    “First of all, at oDesk, you learn to find a common language with people, identify their underlying needs and sell your services. You are primarily a seller, and then a programmer. Man and business. Then business, if you want.

    So the freelance experience is invaluable if you don’t want to spend your whole life in your pants in someone else’s office. You can sit in your own. :) Or ride, see the world - such a work & travel. "

    It should be noted that Sokolinsky answered questions from Pokhara (Nepal), where he and his wife manage a small distributed outsourcing company for 10+ employees and “saw their product in the field of mobile marketing”.

    In general, representatives of all three parties - exchanges, venture capital businesses and freelancers - agree that it makes sense for technicians with an entrepreneurial spirit to gain experience in a startup team. Again, if your future project doesn’t take off, you can always return to the nomadic (well, or settled, as you like) life of a “free spearman”.

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