Year One Review

One year ago today, I quit my job and began my journey as a freelancing front-end developer. I didn’t know what to expect, so it’s hard to grade my year, but life as a freelancer is pretty great. It’s time to review my year.

Before I begin. This article is not for everyone. I’ve written this to reflect on my work, but I decided to publish it since it may inspire other developers who is considering freelancing. So this is your final warning.

My year in review

When I began my journey, I had many goals. I wanted to work less for clients, release my own projects, write more articles, and speak at conferences again. A year later, I know better.

It turns out that when you land your dream project and get to pick your team, perspectives change. Long story short, over the last year, 1502 of my 2016 possible working hours were spent working on a massive client project that we hope will ship next year. I will write and speak more about that in the future.

That leaves 25% of my time to spend on learning, networking, my own projects, and, of course, vacation. I may not have fully reached my goals, but I feel like I have my priorities correct.

So overall, I give my first year a B+.

Favorite moments of the year

I’ve had a lot of fun this year, and conferences are a big part of that. Nordic.js marked the return to big conferences after Covid, and CSSDay was easily one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended. Being in total control of which conference to go to, how to travel, and which hotel to stay at is fantastic.

Another highlight was our boot camp. Together with some fellow freelancers, we gathered to share our experiences, learn something new, and have fun together. Throughout the year, we’ve also organized lunches and even a Christmas dinner. I’m very pleased about that.

I also want to acknowledge that most of this was only possible by having a fellow freelancer by my side. A great friend who supports and pushes me and helps pull these things off. If you are thinking about becoming a freelancer, make sure you don’t do it alone!

What’s next?

First, my big client project will continue throughout the year, so that will be my main focus. I really miss speaking at conferences though, so I will prioritize that this year. It will begin with a talk at FrontendForum in two weeks, but I plan to submit more talks throughout the year.

Second, I get a lot of my inspiration and energy from conferences. This year, I want to challenge myself by moving my focus more toward design. Therefore, I’m starting with Smashing Conf – Design & UX, but I still have my favorites that I plan to attend as well, so it will be a great year.

Finally, I really love what we’ve started with our network of freelancers. I hope this will continue to grow this year. I do miss all our fun activities at KITS, but I hope this can fill that void.

So, for accountability, these are my goals for 2023/2024.

  • Bill, at most, 1500 hours
  • Ship my big client project
  • Speak at at least three conferences/meetups
  • Attend at least three conferences
  • Organize at least three freelancer events
  • Write at least one post per month

I don’t know who will read this post, but if you’re a freelancer, I believe it’s essential to stop and think if this is the life you want. I never did this to make money, which I succeeded in, but I still need to make changes to receive an A+ next year.

Wish me good luck!