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Ask HN: As a freelance dev how do I get back on top after hitting rock bottom?
44 points by gremlinsinc 26 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 13 comments
TLDR; My main question if you needed emergency dev work to pay the bills how would you find it? Sob story alert below...

I had a decent client back in May/June but on June 1st rent was due and the client hadn't paid so I let them know development would cease till I received payment. I then got an email I was removed from bit bucket and slack and then ghosted.

I've been trying to find a new client ever since but for some reason it's been hard going. Usually they find me and I've had to turn them down.

I've reached out to all previous leads and clients and nobody has any work right now.

We just moved into a cheaper apartment but spent all our savings on deposit, first and last months rent, one month of storage and a uhaul, and groceries and gas.

Today my Internet bill came due $247 for August and July plus a moving fee.

I'm flat broke, our credit isn't great. I don't have anyone to borrow money from. I even tried r/borrow on Reddit.

Without internet I can't even work on my side project I'm trying to build (a Reddit tool for scheduling across multiple accounts, view all inbox messages across multiple accounts, view all slack/twitter DM's, and a scrumboard that I can add leads to via one click and autofollowup with them in a few months. Basically it'll make managing job and freelance on slack and Reddit much easier.)

I just need one good client my hourly is $80 but I've even tried dropping back down to $50 and no takers. I'm almost 40 with two boys under 3 years old and at the end of my rope. I'm trying to fight back depression but it's getting harder each day. Imposter syndrome is starting to set in even though I know I'm a solid developer.

I know react, Vue, express, ionic, node and laravel. I can also get around in a rails app. What I don't know I can learn.

Willing to do weekly pay where I might work an average of 50-60 hours per week for 1800/week.




That sounds stressful, I'm sorry to hear

How often does this sort of thing come up in freelancing? On average, do freelancers make as much as full time employees over say a 5 year span?

(For absolute emergency cash, you could hit up a temp agency and probably be working tomorrow while you wait for new contracts. The pay would be terrible but its also almost zero commitment - you could leave the day you sign your next contract)

edit: based on your submission history since at least 2014, it sounds like things have been bumpy for a while now.

"Ask HN: About to be homeless, any ideas for a junior dev?" https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7854029

"Ask HN: How to get first Dev Job with no shipped code" https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9827867

"Ask HN: How would you raise $200 in 3 days?" https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7727241

I'm not sure what the answer to your short term problem is, but you may need to look at some bigger-picture solutions in the long term. I hope things work out for you!


I'm willing to lend you some money to get things going again. My email is in my profile.


Sounds like you are in dire straights. You need a quick solution, and the only one I can think of is to beg friends and family to help you out in a big way. Ideally find a relative who will be happy to have you and your family stay with them while you get back on your feet. Find other people to lend you or give you money. In the longer term, with these responsibilities I suggest finding a good job and forget about freelancing.


Check out codementor.io. There's a lot of work there on demand (from other developers needing help); $80-120 an hour is typical (though you do have to pay them a 20% commission, so $64-96). They payout weekly. There's also some freelancer work there as well. I've done work there in the past, and had very good experiences.


wonder why it's called code mentor. they're either a mentor for education purposes or doing work unrelated to that.


A mentorship doesn't necessarily have to be free or charitable. That said, most of the calls lean more towards training or debugging than "mentorship".


Is getting a full time job an option? You seem to have marketable skills.


Yeah I've been applying. I live in a remote part of utah so remote job is a requirement. But thankfully there are a lot of those I just need some side work till I find something long term.


Call your local TekSystems or similar software body shop. They likely can toss you in a crappy job you won't like in a big enterprise IT environment... but you'll be getting a paycheck.

AthLado 24 days ago [flagged]

Hi there. I am sorry to hear about your misfortunes. Keep your head up something will come up. Meanwhile (although it might not cover all your bills) you may wish to register on http://www.mooctors.com as a technology tutor for MOOC students. You set your fees and availability (best set it for a month out). I hope this could help a bit.

Best Athan


Shoot me your contact info. I might be able to bridge some of the gap with side work.

John @ curtisdigital.com


Have you tried the freelancing websites to kickstart some new leads? (Toptal, Upwork, etc)


Upwork yeah, not top talent they claim to use top 2% of devs I feel more top 40% I'm definitely good but not 10x good. I've been holding off till I'm more confident.




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