Some learnings from my first 8 weeks freelancing
It hasn't been that long since I made the jump to freelancing. I spent a very happy and formative 18 months working with the awesome team at Cogapp. I learnt so much, not just about code but more importantly how to be part of a business run by humans for the benefit of humans.
Having spent the previous 12 years working almost entirely in education it was a revelation to me that people could care for their employees, seek interesting work and contribute positively to the world. That wasn't always my experience in schools, sadly.
I'd had an itch to explore doing my own thing for a while, though. It is never an easy decision to jump from a comfortable situation to an unknown but I felt I had to.
So, I'm asking myself now was it the right decision? Have I learnt anything already? Are there things I want to remember going forward?
1. Working alone rocks
I was a teacher for the longest time. I had to talk and interact with students and colleagues all day. I would crawl to the end of a half-term, exhausted and spent. While working at Cogapp, I had more energy and needed holidays less urgently. I had a suspicion that I might enjoy working on my own and that has been confirmed.
2. Working with other people is amazing
I contain multitudes! What I've really valued about the way I get to work now is I have more control. I like working alone but I also like working on projects with others. I've really enjoyed new and old working relationships and I'm valuing exploring those.
3. There's a lot to think about
I knew this was going to be the case, but there is more to think about when you are responsible for your own salary. From invoicing and sourcing work, to helping previous clients and projects, to networking and scheduling - there is lots to do. I'm enjoying that though. I love learning new things and this definitely helps.
4. Flexibility for the win
More than getting to have more control over who you work for, there is also having more control over when I work. If I want to go to the kids Christmas production or meet a friend for coffee, I can fit my work around my life. I'm enjoying this and still learning how to make the most of it.
5. Learning by doing
When I started to consider leaving teaching, I changed my Twitter to @dolearning and my website to doingandlearning.co.uk (the real site is kevincunningham.co.uk or dolearning.codes now). I am convinced that we learn best when we are doing. I don't have that domain any more but the philosophy is so key to who I am. I am learning so much and I don't know where this is going to lead ultimately. I have some ideas and they are all really exciting.
For now, I'm going to try to write here about freelancing, coding and being human.
I'm going to do and learn, learn and do.