forecast

iOS Freelancer Diaries #4 - Year In Review

Blimey, what a year!

It’s been a long time since I last wrote a Freelance Diary entry (I know, I know. I said that last time too), so I figured I’d just write about the whole year.

Shameless self promotion - A lot of the numbers below are taken straight from Forecast.

Workload

The points below give a rough feel for my workload over the year. I feel things really started to change from September when I started booking in much larger projects and have managed to pretty much fill my schedule up until March 2018 🎉.

  • January - Mid Feb: Nothing
  • Feb - March: Semi booked
  • April: Fully booked
  • May - September: Semi booked
  • October - December: Fully booked

Clients

I’ve been very lucky this year and have worked with some great clients with projects ranging from an internal app for airport parking staff to the rather crazy world of cryptocurrency.

Over the year I’ve worked with 8 clients. The largest client contributed 35% to my turnover and the smallest; 3%.

Client A

  • 35% of turnover
  • Always paid on time

Client B

  • 24% of turnover
  • Paid on average 8 days late

Client C

  • 16% of turnover
  • Always paid on time

Client D

  • 9% of turnover
  • Paid on average 2 days late

Client E

  • 4% of turnover
  • Paid roughly 22 days late

Client F

  • 4% of turnover
  • Paid roughly 1 day late

Client G

  • 4% of turnover
  • Paid roughly 13 days late

Client H

  • 3% of turnover
  • Paid roughly 2 days late

Note: I realise the above doesn’t add up to 100%. I removed referral income from Gorilla and also a deposit for a project starting next year.

Notable Side Project

Forecast

Forecast is cash flow forecasting software for freelancers. It’s something I’ve personally wanted for a while so I teamed up with Nick to turn it into a reality.

Four Pints In

Towards the end of the year I started a Podcast called Four Pints In with two friends; Tom and Nick. In it’s simplest form; it’s 3 friends chatting over a beer or four. First episode was a bit nerve-racking but it’s been great fun to record and Tom has done a great job on the editing (Nick has also done a great job at turning up).

GFIB 7

Hector and I teamed up with a couple of friends who own a local gym called GFIB and put together our take on the “7 minute workout”.

Investments

It goes without saying, but I’m no expert…

Monzo

Monzo ran another crowdfunding and because I was involved in the first round I got to invest a % of my previous investment (£134.33).

Balance

Balance were actually a client of mine, but I also invested $1,000 in their crowdfunding. I think they have great potential to bring cryptocurrency to the mass market.

Pension

I had a private pension before but then paused contributions once I started freelancing. Once my runway improved I started £500/month contributions. I hope to raise this as my runway improves.

My pension is managed through St. James’s Place (I have a friend who works there). I have also heard good things about Nutmeg Pensions (though it has a £5k minimum deposit).

It’s also worth noting that since I have a limited company, the contributions are paid through that.

Stocks & Shares ISA

I also started a personal stocks & shares ISA with Nutmeg.

Financials

My aim at the start of the year was to turnover £60,000. This was my old salary so figured this was a good starting point.

By the end of the year turnover should have reached £65,000 🎉.

What’s crazy is that that just over half of that was created in the last 3 months.

Day Rate

I started freelancing with a day rate of £500. I’m a big believer in playing around with your day rate and over the year I have raised by rate by £25 every 2 clients (currently £600).

I also introduced a retainer rate at 20% discount.

Working For Equity

Though I have yet to officially do this, I get asked enough that I updated my contact page outlining my requirements.

The key points are:

  • Equity amount is based on the discount. For example, if I give a discount of £10,000, then in exchange I receive £10,000 in equity.
  • Provide any financial and business details I require
  • Pay all costs (e.g. legal)

The idea behind it came from the Sandwich Fund.

What Went Wrong

Too Much Work

As mentioned previously, I made just over half of my years turnover in 3 months. Yes, that sounds cool, but in reality it was too much. The summer had been relatively slow and I felt obliged to take on as much work as I could get my hands on. I’m now happy I did as it has given me a very solid foundation for 2018, but I don’t plan on doing that again, unless necessary.

Fixed Price Project

I’m generally totally against fixed price projects, it’s just not how building (good) software works. Unfortunately I didn’t listen to myself and took on a fixed price project. The scope was pretty well defined and payment was milestone based. The problem was that I hadn’t taken into account any dependancies that I needed from the client. These dependancies took a while to be ready and by that time I was due to start new projects, so I had to let the project go.

2018 Goals

Freelancing

  • £75,000 turnover
  • Experiment with 4 day work week
  • Sign with another client that is focussed on crytocurrency
  • Open source some of my libraries that I use everyday

Forecast

  • 100 paying customers

Four Pints In

Being able to land our first sponsorship would be awesome. We’d love to be able to outsource the editing of the episodes.

Introducing Forecast

Since I started freelancing earlier this year, my most valuable metric has been how much runway I have left (or "how long before I need to get a real job").

I use FreeAgent for all my finances. It’s a great tool, but it’s more about showing you your balance sheets and capital assets rather than the bigger picture.

So, I looked into forecasting software and found the likes of Float and Dryrun both of which look great... for large companies. I felt like I needed an accounting department just to get any value from them.

It's for this reason that I'm very happy to announce my latest project: Forecast.

Forecast is a bullshit-free forecasting service for freelancers. It’s built on one key principle: no additional input from you is required.

To me, being a freelancer is all about the flexibility and the freedom to work on the things you enjoy. You should be too busy working on your projects or having fun outside of work, not babysitting another finance system. Once you've connected your FreeAgent account, that's it! It just works.

Sign Up Now!