Update on Campus Thingie..
My latest scores are here. Not because I want to show them off, but because I am forgetful and would rather have to look here at my blog instead of going to campus if I forget (very likely).
- Software Engineering: B
- File System: C+
- Programming 3: A
- UML: A
- Data Mining: C+
- Database 2: C+
Heaven and Hell
Ketika kita berpikir bahwa Allah itu Maha Baik, terkadang otak bandel kita akan bertanya, "lalu untuk apa ada neraka?"
Tahukah kau bahwa wakil rakyat di kotaku dan mungkin menyeluruh di bangsaku tengah menuntut (dan hampir pasti mendapatkan) kenaikan gaji?
Untuk itulah neraka ada. Neraka ada untuk mengingatkanmu agar tak bertindak seperti mereka. Neraka ada untuk menenangkanmu bahwasanya segala sesuatu akan ada balasannya.
Quick Freelancing Tips#1: How to spot potential trouble ahead.
When the project description includes something like:
I'm told/I believe that this work can be done in only a couple of hours for someone familiar with [insert subject here].
Then it's a 95.4928% chance that the work's harder than it seems, and 83.2918% chance it's going to be a difficult client to deal with.
Update: And if it says something like:
The lowest bid wins...
Then it's 194.8912% chance of a bad client.
Disclaimer: Just my 2 cents. Might not be true.
The first time I'm going to spend my money on a cellphone, it's going to be this. Yeah. Even if it's going to come to Asia in 2008. The more time I get to save money for it, the better.
This could be the dumbest logo, I know..
..but just pretend I am making a satire to the many visual elements overused in Web2.0 sites :) I actually use this logo in RAC. I don't really feel proud or anything about it, but I hope it can convince clients in a way, he he.
My Freelancing Mistakes #01 - Greed
I am going to openly admit my stupidity and talk about my mistakes during freelancing here. Hopefully this could grow into series of posts that could be useful to all freelancers and whatnot out there. I am sure there will be a lot of posts under this series, because I make many mistakes all the time :)
Mandatory introduction: my name is Hafiz Rahman and I freelance at Rent A Coder, or RAC henceforth. What I write here is my freelancing experience using RAC's system, but I believe my story can be applied on general freelancing area. I am not affiliated with RAC and I write this article purely on my own interest, so there.
The first mistake I want to admit is that I was greedy. If you're too lazy to read down and just want to jump into conclusion, read this loud and clear: Greed kills.
When I started (few weeks ago), I was very excited with everything. I browse through all the available projects, and without thinking too far I immediately placed bid on stuff I'm not even 100% sure I can do. I just want instant success. I just want better rating. I just want more fame.
See, my greed is not necessarily on money. I was willing to be paid small to do jobs with really quick deadline. My thought was the project is pretty simple and I can deliver finished job perfectly before deadline. My aim was not the money, but the status I can get from completing the job, the rating I could get from the client (Buyer, as per RAC's jargon).
What I failed to realize are twofold. First is this pure fact that I had to learn the hard way: There is no simple project. Period. Even if it says so on the project's description. Even if it's only creating a CSS skeleton for a page. Even if you just have to make a simple logo.
The second mistake: I didn't put into account revision tasks. Even though finishing initial task can be done quickly, revision could consume double, thrice, or even more time than that. This is deadly, especially when I have to juggle my time doing other projects too. The time used to revise a work is the time I don't use to do more productive things (like other projects).
Also, revising things tend to demoralize me. Maybe it's because it sucked seeing my original work got teared apart (especially with my own hands). Or maybe it's because I'm too lazy. I don't know.
Eventually, my greed led me into a situation where I had to handle multiple jobs, one deadline coming after another, multiplying my stress. Plus, there might be the occasion where one project consumed time far too long than it is supposed to. This very terrible.
I have made the conclusion that I had better took less project(s) and deliver better quality, rather than more projects and less quality. I don't give a damn about coder rank anymore (I am currently number 140,000-ish). Somewhere in RAC's articles for coders, I read that you do not need to be in the top ten list to make serious money.
And that is true. Plus, I don't think I want to be a sick, depressed, tired top ten coder after all.
Get some rest. None of these matters if you're sick. (--My mom)
My View on Clients and Us, Freelancers
I don't want to put this wrong, but let me tell you something that I firmly believe now: Not all clients are kings. In fact, saying 'Client is king' is kind of wrong too, because that sounds like the service provider had lesser degree.
Well, I didn't have this belief until recently. Before, I did think that I want to do everything my clients ask, I want to fulfill all their requirements, and so on. But somehow this didn't work out too perfectly.
For example, well, I have been learning days and nights on web designing. So, every design decision that I made is the product of my knowledge, what I have as a designer. When a client told me to "resize that font, it's too glaring", it made me feel sick inside, because all the decision behind it just get ignored. Well, of course, simply changing the visual is pretty simple, but it made me felt like I betrayed something. Felt like now, by obeying him, I'm giving lower quality work, that I'm doing something below my capability.
Not all clients are kings. "The wrong client can kill morale, force good employees out, and cost you big opportunities," says 37signals. And it is true. Especially the morale-killing part.
'Client is king' (sometimes) makes client think that we're their servants, someone willing to do their every word. This is not right. Both clients and service providers have equal degree. So what if you have the money? We have the knowledge to deliver.
Think about it. I believe the whole freelancing thing is more like a barter: of their money and our skills. No one side should have higher power than the others, because this decreases the quality of work in one or more ways.
Plus, bad clients might piss freelancers off, and then they might make blogposts like this in return.
Now, what to do when you already found yourself stuck with the wrong client? I don't know. But I have done some experience on it. Wait for the next post, hopefully I will be able to tell more story.
Still on Freelancing
Ho Hum. It is currently 11:44 pm here, and normally I would have been sleeping sound this time of the day. But no. Here I am, in an internet cafe, having to send a revision of a project. Argh.
Yesterday I had to do this too. Normally, I would do online freelancing on early mornings and afternoon, but a problem with mistaken deadline (my fault) caused me to suffer this fate. Well, suffer may not be the correct word. I guess 'work more' would be more appropriate.
Oh well, since job's done, let's do a review of everything I have learned and/or experienced and whatever about freelancing as a web developer:
1. I registered to Rent A Coder at December 16, 2006 (at least that's what my profile page says. Today is January 3, so I have freelanced for about 20 days or so. Currently I have won four projects (all in progress), none done completely, and countless of lost bids (hehe).
2. One thing I must learn the hard-way: 1-2 days-deadline projects are just not for me. Not because I can't do them. But this is because I do not have the constant internet connection to communicate properly, anytime I had to. Plus, having to work for deadline this tight is deadly (yesterday I had to go up until midnight to submit a job. This is not healthy for me).
3. For some reason, I never won anything at Get A Freelancer. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I'm far more active at RAC rather than at GAF, but the atmosphere is kind of different. I think I like RAC's way of hiding other people's bid. In GAF, being able to see how much other people bid and what they say in their bid gave me bad feelings sometimes.
3. Up to now, I still don't have any clear idea on how I'm going to receive my pay money. Via Western Union, yes, but I actually don't know how the whole mechanism work. Good thing I have my mentor here (whose blog post kicked me into the whole freelancing scene). I guess I will have to investigate more to him (ha ha).
4. And, for some strange reason, I think I had my specialization go more into WordPress lately. Before freelancing (like 20 days ago), I know very little about WordPress (uh oh, the secret is out!) but today I am so actively looking for projects on things like WordPress plugin making, WordPress Theme building, and so on. Currently I have done a plugin and two themes, which I think is not bad for someone who just learned WordPress. Plus, I'm not trying to praise my own self here, just want to point out that WordPress is indeed so elegant and easy to learn, and I love it.
Anyways, that's the chronicle so far. I had more works coming my direction, so I guess there will be more stories on this in the future. Stay tuned.
Go. To. Logopond.Com. Right. Now.
Because I just saw the logo that I created being listed as member favorites. I think this is an important moment. Check it out (valid per January 1, 2007).
PS: It's gone already from the front page. But you can always check my showcase page.