Year 2017 Review from Freelance Web Developer Perspective

It has been one year sincethe last review, and it is again time reflect how the year went. The way I approach life is quite simple: do more things that bring positive feelings and try to minimize that drain energy.

Freelancing – Overview

My work-life in 2017 contained following activities:

Consulting and Technology

Regarding consulting offering, I haven’t done drastic changes; I still focus on the Web development.

I like to spend about 80-90% of the time on the front-end and the rest on the back-end. Back-end work has been implementing REST APIs on existing backend architecture.

From technology standpoint, TypeScript, Visual Studio Code, Jest, Prettier, React and Redux have brought a lot of joy to the coding process. Unlike Visual Studio Proper, Visual Studio Code has been very stable, and I have been very impressed with their development speed and methods.

What to look for in the year 2018

Go deeper in functional programming, study category theory, .NET Core, contribute more on open-source (especially TypeScript related projects and type definitions) and more talks on meetups.

Other activities than consulting

I am a big fan of Mark Seemann’s work. Not only he knows a ton, but he is also great at presenting complicated topics in an understandable format. Even though he is an active conference speaker, I had not had a change to participate in workshops or talks kept by Mark.

That why it was inspiring to organize a workshop that I always personally wanted to participate!

You can find the workshop detailshere.

I enjoyed the conversations that I had with the participants and with Mark. Organizing an event is very different from the consulting work, so it brings highly needed change to the daily routines.

The event got good reviews so it seems that I did something right as an organizer.

I wish had given more talks on meetups, the only presentation I gave this year was on React Helsinki meetup .

This year was the 2nd time I went to the Refresh conference in Tallinn. It was a well-organized event and highly recommend it to anyone who is working, for example, on a SaaS product or in the world of front-end development.

What to look for in the year 2018

For some reason, Finland has active meetup community, but conference space has been quite inactive, or the conferences hasn’t been very interesting. React Finland is a conference that I am eagerly waiting. The conference has plenty of exciting topics and diverse set of speakers.

I would like to organize another workshop, but I need first to find a topic that lights my internal fire. It requires much effort to hold a workshop and get it fully booked.

Giving a meetup talk is always lovely as people tend to come and talk after the presentation. I have fond memories, for example, from Budapest Node.js meetup where I am giving a presentation.

Freelancing – Time spent

This year, I worked 1034 hours. Last year, the number was 1142 hours. As long as the decrease is intentional from my side and not because of lack of work then all is good.

I have doing hourly rate since I started freelancing, but I am interested in trying other methods. What has been nagging in my brain, is the thought: “What does the client get when they buy 100 hours of Tatu” because I don’t have any answer to that.

Note: 1034 hours includes only billable work, I did spend time on other work-related activities.

In my last year’s review , I have written more extensively on what is work time.

Blogging

I have been less active in blogging, writing only 19 blog posts in 2017. In the beginning (2015 and 2016), I had more ideas on the backlog and now I have been writing when I have discovered something new that I find interesting enough to spend time on writing.

The most popular blog post (with 11655 unique page views) was Practical Guide to React and CSS Modules .

Unique visitors: 47101

Page views: 51590

Even though numbers are lower than last year, I am super happy with results as most the visitors are coming through search and not just from Hacker News hit.

Blogging has also brought leads to my consulting business and one the leads might soon become a customer. Updating a blog has not ever been because of business reasons, but of course I am super happy if it also brings monetary reward.

Reading

I have read (or listened) 20 books this year.

A couple of books stand out:

Conclusion

The year 2017 wasn’t exceptionally good or bad, quite average year without any significant life-changing events. I think that is actually something to be happy about.

New projects, remote work, interesting technologies and people make me excited on what 2018 has to offer!

If you have written your 2017 retrospect, I would like to read it! Send me a Tweet with a link.

Hi there! I’m Tatu, an independent Web developer; I help clients on building successful SaaS products. If you’re interested in freelancing, you should check my email list How to get started as a freelancer . In my email list, I share private learnings from my own journey, including information about pricing, finding clients, working with the clients, how to get started, etc. Please don’t hesitate to reach out bysending an email or via Twitter.

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