Being “Indie” – some thoughts and advice

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This isn’t fancy or a formal essay just more of a ‘jotting down some thoughts I had after reading a few blog posts a month ago and then a few recent tweets’.  Maybe you’ll find something useful here.  I hope so.

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There have been a few blog posts lately on being “Indie” mostly in the software game developer’s net circles and I wanted to put down some thoughts I had on the topic after >20 years as an independent software design & development consultant.  In particular, a scary tweet by an indie developer who ended up in the hospital due to stress from taking on too much work and another tweet by a fellow who was noting the feast or famine nature of consulting work as an independent.

This feast and famine roller-coaster characterization rings very true and the nature of this type of dynamic is such that you can easily end up feeling like you can never say “no” (as your inner voice of fear says, “but this might be the last contract that shows up for a year!”).  This can devolve into a genuinely dangerous reality such as the tweeter who ended up visiting the hospital.  For others it’s been completely debilitating back pain.  Family time can easily be eroded by this pressure and I once when I was younger I found myself calculating the cost of going to a movie based on the “loss” of billable hours : “fancy dinner and a movie?  Let’s see, $100 for nice dinner & dessert, $25 for the movie, $40 for the baby sitter, 1.5 hrs for dinner, 2.5 hrs for the movie, 1.5 hours driving time, that’s 5.5 hours of lost work @ $100/hr… so all together that’s more than $700 for dinner & a movie!  *Crazy*!!! ”  Be funny if it wasn’t so sad.  🙂

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