tenpastmidnight blog

Making hay while the sun shines

Work anniversary

It's one year since I went up to Leamington Spa to work on a contract for Big Picture Interactive, my first contracting experience rather than my now normal freelance work. I needed the money (rather desperately) and was rather nervous about going 140-odd miles just to work with a bunch of people who hadn't even given me a phone interview, but it worked out well and everyone up there turned out to be very nice and wanted me for far longer than originally planned.

The difference between freelancing and contracting is a bit of a fine line, especially for a one-man-band like myself. Basically being a contractor usually means working through a recruitment agency, working for one client at a time on a particular job. Being a freelancer means having work agreements direct with clients that you've found yourself (through your own marketing, referrals, whatever) and that you generally have a few things on the go at the same time, or at least you do if you want work to keep coming in.

Doing pure contracting would probably be more lucrative, but also means working away from home a lot more. Personally, I like being near my friends and family, and I prefer working with companies where I can have a long-term relationship with them as we try to improve the on-line side of their business. To me contracting means being plunked down inside a company to fix a particular problem, then usually never being seen again unless you happen to keep in contact with people you met there. Freelancing is potentially a long term deal where you're used over time and trust is built up in what you do.

All in all, it's still sitting in front of a screen writing near-gibberish that happens to make sense to computers somewhere. But I'd rather be doing that as a freelancer than a contractor, even if all the companies I'd be placed in where as nice to work in as Big Pic.
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