Recently, I've quit my job as a software engineer employee. I've done so for many reasons. It was not a quick decision and it took me several years to take the first step.
What drew me back
- Lack of confidence in my skills
- I didn't know many freelancers
- Paperwork seemed overwhelming
- Responsibilities seemed too high
- I wasn't ready to be a "boss"
Path to freelancing
In 2014, I ended a 4-year contract for AVEM. It was my first contract as an employee for Open and I felt more part of my client company AVEM than I felt part of my own company Open Group. And I wasn't really part of AVEM either as contractors have a different colored badge than employees as well as having a distinctive email address. At that time I was in search of something new. My company came up with another contract that sparked my interest and which allowed me to get my hands on agile practices at Orange.
After 2.5 years at Orange and learning new skills as well as endorsing the role of lead developer, architect as well as a part-time scrum master, it was time to head off to new horizons.
Heading off to new horizons (a new contract) could seem scary at first. It's like quitting a job and going into another in which you have to learn everything all over again. This is actually something you get used to and come to appreciate. The employees I left still are at the same level of skills and the exact same position. Looking back, I have the feeling that I've learned new things that a complementary to my previous knowledge.
This is how I overcame my lack of confidence in my skills.
My next new horizon would be freelancing and it was a certainty.
My debuts with freelancing
Even though I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, I was never quite sure what type of business should I start with. Did I want to create a startup for some cool new thing or go freelance? My previous experience and the lack of a unicorn made me think that freelancing should by the next step.
In summer 2016, I saw a tweet from Emilien Pecoul asking if people would be interested in a freelance training. It was the right opportunity that came at the right time. I came to realize quickly that several people I knew from user groups were already freelancers. I only had to talk about freelancing and I would be more aware of the size of the freelancing community.
I went to trainings with Emilien Pecoul, Clement Bouillier and Florent Pelet and got over my remaining fears. I learned about the French paperwork. After learning the rules, it still doesn't seem easy, but at least I know how to play. These training got me excited to finally play the game.
Starting the activity
In just one week, I'll be a freelancer. My company is under creation by my accountant and I've found a bank to work with.
Some people chose to do the accounting themselves. Accounting can be interesting and it's also something that you won't have to pay for, but I chose to have an accountant for security and also so I don't have to worry about these details.
My first client is actually my last employer. He understands my situation and knows why I took this career change. I was more than happy to have a first contract before even having a company and my employer was happy enough to know that he won't have to replace me yet.
I can't say what my work will be in one year. The only thing I know is that from now on I can choose my direction. The market is well enough for me to have the luxury to be selective. It is a good thing and it will, for sure lead to more self-improvement.
My current goals are to have a working business and to excel in the art of software craftsmanship.