Tech Tuesday: Freelancing in Tech
Full Sail University graduates discuss working in the tech industry as freelancers, how to establish a client base, and how to get paid.
For some, the rigid schedule of a traditional office job can sometimes be monotonous or uninspiring. Freelancing serves as an excellent option for those looking for more freedom in their schedule, more opportunities to implement their creativity, or even just the chance to expand their network.
In this edition of Tech Tuesday, Full Sail University graduates Grant Shonkwiler (Game Development), Brandy Morgan (Web Development), and Danilo Campos (Entertainment Business) discuss their careers as freelancers across the tech industry with companies including Microsoft, GitHub, Epic Games, and more.
Going from full-time to freelance can be a daunting task. Many don’t know where to go to build a client base, how much to charge, or what it takes to get started. For Brandy, her first step was presented to her in the final months of her degree program when she began to focus on her personal brand and online presence.
“I really saw the value in building a personal brand and I made that a huge priority,” Brandy says. “It added credibility to who I am and that led to interviews with Microsoft and even working with them in a contract position.”
A major benefit to freelance is the ability to design your own schedule and set your own hours. For game developer and consultant Grant Shonkwiler, this flexibility allows him to take on clients both big and small, dividing his freelance roles between leadership consulting at major developers to getting hands-on with game production at independent studios. “I’d been in the studio environment for about 10 years. I liked it but I burned out on the amount of time. You’re just there all the time working in games,” says Grant.
One of the most difficult parts of embarking on a freelance career path is knowing how much to charge a client for your work and your time. Danilo Campos, whose journey in freelance began when he saw the future of app development at the launch of Apple’s iPhone, recommends truly assessing not only your cost of living but the various expenses covered under traditional employment such as health insurance.
“When you’re a freelancer you have to worry about things like your health insurance, having a rainy day fund if you get sick and can’t work, you have to think about all of these things for yourself,” says Danilo.
He goes on to explain that if your skillset is specialized, you have the opportunity to earn more, saying, “I position myself at a premium place, bill at a specific hourly rate, completely planning ahead that’ll we’ll do this much work, up to this many hours and that way, nobody is surprised when the invoice comes.”
To hear more from these grads on their experiences as freelance professionals, check out the entire Tech Tuesday discussion led by Full Sail Vice President of Emerging Technology Luis Garcia below.
Tech Tuesday is an original online show produced by Full Sail University that delves into different aspects of the technology industry. Check out upcoming or past episodes.
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