Thomas Kjeldahl Nilsson

The Friendliest Freelancer

Software dev of 20+ years now helping other devs gain autonomy and become calm, independent contractors—new issue every Sunday

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The Friendliest Freelancer #11: Set clear boundaries with clients

As discussed in the previous issue, you must protect your time and mental well-being. This week, we’ll look at ways to set clear ground rules in how you work and communicate with your clients. Cheers—I hope you have a great week! ☕ As always, please reply to this email and let me know if you...
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1 day ago • 3 min read

The Friendliest Freelancer #10: How to avoid & manage burnout

I had a burnout in early 2021. We encountered a medical issue in the family in early 2020 (not COVID), and I kept hammering away at the client work throughout the year—even though I could afford to scale down a bit. By early 2021, I was exhausted. I took an extended break from contracting in...
9 days ago • 6 min read

The Friendliest Freelancer #9: "Is it worth it—for me?" Pros and cons

This week's article describes how the lifestyle feels so you can consider how it would fit you. A separate question is, “Will it pay well?” We’ve talked about hourly rates a bit earlier, and I want to give you a tool to run your numbers on employment vs. freelancing. We’ll swing back to this...
15 days ago • 3 min read

The Friendliest Freelancer #8: "Am I ready?"—A five-point checklist

One question I hear, particularly from younger software developers, is "when am I ready to try freelancing?" Here's a few things to think through if you're in that situation. Or maybe you know someone else who could benefit from this checklist? Have a great Sunday, see you next week! ☕ How do you...
23 days ago • 4 min read

The Friendliest Freelancer #7: What should your hourly rate be?

This week, I’ll start by talking about ways to figure out what you should charge per hour, only to end up waffling a bit about “what is valuable in life?” Spoiler: My goals are slightly different from those of Conan the Barbarian.) Anyway. I write about hourly billing here because that is how I...
30 days ago • 5 min read

The Friendliest Freelancer #6: Ten ways to make clients love you

It's Sunday again, which means another article from me. I hope it's helpful to you. By the way: do you enjoy shorter or longer articles? I'm unsure if I should shoot for a specific length or just let it swing wildly each week; feel free to shoot back an email or drop a message ​on my Twitter...
about 1 month ago • 8 min read

The Friendliest Freelancer #5: "Isn't freelancing risky during recessions?" Maybe not!

Hope you're having a good weekend! ☕ From the outside, working for yourself looks scary these days: we’re in a recession, and you hear stories of tech downsizing left and right. “You should try to hold on to a steady, salaried job instead.” No, I don’t think so. Let’s examine what happened in...
about 1 month ago • 2 min read

The Friendliest Freelancer #4: "But the admin and paperwork!" Relax. You got this.

Hope you're having a great Sunday. This week: we demystify the admin part of working for yourself! When I talk to other developers who are thinking about working for themselves, one common objection is this: I don’t want to deal with that admin crap; I just want to code!” And when consulting...
about 2 months ago • 5 min read

The Friendliest Freelancer #3: “Ugh, what even is networking?” Five ways to meet people (for coders and introverts)

Hope you're having a great Sunday! ​​When you move into contracting/consulting as a software developer, it helps to have a network: leads and opportunities will pop up for you.​Here's a few tips on how to grow your network before you start working for yourself. Early on in my career, networking...
about 2 months ago • 3 min read

The Friendliest Freelancer #2: The feast-famine cycle: how to handle downtime

Another week, another bit of freelancing advice! Have a great Sunday. The software development sector goes through cycles, just like any other profession. We’ve had a boom for the last ten years, and before 2023, many developers had not experienced a real downturn during their careers. But there...
2 months ago • 3 min read
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