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 Post subject: Passive Income
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 12:50 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 9:30 pm
Posts: 193
Location: Somewhere in the Desert, USA
Ever go to freelanceswitch.com? They're a little light on meaty content just yet, but I envision them becoming huge like sitepoint.com in the future. The trouble with sitepoint.com is that they go all over the place and you have like information overload. Sitepoint is also over-zealous on selling you stuff you may not want, whereas freelanceswitch isn't like that.

Anyway, on freelanceswitch.com, they have a new podcast that I liked. And the most recent one advised people about some things to do before taking the big leap into freelancing.

* Don't quit your day job yet. Freelancing must be transitioned carefully or you could be in a financial mess.

* Start working on passive income sources. This means building sites that earn money while you sleep. They can earn it either on ad revenue, digital goods (Wordpress themes, MP3s, videos, image makers, sitescripts, XHTML/CSS templates, etc.), digital services (like reminders, to dos, project schedulers, job search, business directories, classifieds, dating services, etc.), or subscriptions (access to a premium members-only area on a site, etc.). Not only will you learn to be a better PHP developer with these kinds of sites, but you'll build the kind of consistent income that helps you ride out dry periods in freelancing, such as when a contract ends abruptly and you find you can't get your last payment for some unknown or known reason, or when foreign competition is absolutely killing you one month.

* After the passive income is established, start to save up for 6 months of cash for what you currently earn now. This will be your emergency fund, and the goal will eventually be that you'll store this in a tax protection system from it and borrow against it, not drain it, with the idea that you'll put the cash back in 60 days or you'll end up with the tax hit.

* And then eventually, migrate into picking up a moonlight gig here or there and grow your business organically where it pulls you eventually away from your day job and you move into pure freelancing.

They also mentioned that small design and development companies are looking for outsource work. When overloaded, they prefer to outsource stuff than to say no to any future client. They just take a percentage cut from the payment. It's a great way to start a portfolio and to accidentally stumble on something lucrative.

I also have the opinion that, instead of PHP development, focus on jQuery, CSS, XHTML, marketing, logo design, and art design in general. It's my opinion that those guys work less hours than I do, and yet make the same amount of cash. I know this because I've had to work with some designers, and they earned the same thing as me and took 1/3rd the amount of time I took to complete the project. I'd do it myself it I weren't such an amateur at it. At best, I can merely copy concepts from a few different sites, or tell you what I definitely don't like. But coming up with stuff visually on my own, and making it trendy but not cheesy -- that's hard stuff for me and takes a special kind of individual.

That said, if you're not particularly good at some things, then outsource those things. It'll make you have a better appearance, and that leads to more cash.


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 Post subject: Re: Passive Income
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 1:49 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 3:57 pm
Posts: 3360
Some good tips I think. Would only want to reply on your last point about "designers" versus developers and how easy it is to make money. I'm not sure if what you have noticed among a few people is true in general. Maybe it's even the other way around.

As always it will depend on the situation, but what I do know:
- graphic design in general has hugely been degraded as a profession. Everybody with a few hours of photoshop experience calls himself a graphic designer nowadays
- front-end design/development (html/css) is also undergoing degradation I think. With more and more "tools" which makes building a website a 3-click thing for amateurs, etc
- there's more outsourcing of "html-slicing" to cheap labor countries. I hate the word by the way. It totally takes the craftsmanship out of the task.

So in the end I wouldn't be so sure about quitting your development job and becoming a front-end guy is the best thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Passive Income
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 6:28 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 9:30 pm
Posts: 193
Location: Somewhere in the Desert, USA
Agreed. Your mileage may vary.


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 Post subject: Re: Passive Income
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:04 am
Posts: 633
Location: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA
One thing I thought about was making a FF add-on as donation-ware with mild nagging (and a checkbox to turn that off). The only trouble is to keep tweaking it such that it works in various browser versions down the road. One needs to learn XUL and Javascript to make one of these things, but you may also want to integrate with a PHP website on the backend either in a web page widget (it's an option in XUL), an IFRAME in the web page widget, or via AJAX+JSON communication.

However, if you make something require a backend website, you'll want to be up-front with users about that in the about box and the installation notes. (Just my advice there.)

I think there's room in this space and here's why I mention it. I went to install an FTP client inside of FF. I found only one good one -- FireFTP -- and it requires FF3 only. So, if there's only one thing of something so obvious that almost half of all web users out there would use, imagine if you actually had a catchy idea, and especially an irresistible one?


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