02/07

Freelancing

Going against the wind

Everyone after engineering in India will usually opt for further education or a job, well it wasn't the case for me. Being a moderately good student and having interned for 4 months at Genii, I had some experience with programming and MVC framework, which allowed me to pursue Freelancing.

Luckily I had no pressure from my parents for a job, though sometimes they felt that I should go the conventional way and join a company, somewhere they too had faith in me. This affirmation from my parents made me little more confident.

First Freelancing Project

After finishing college, the first project I got through a friend was an iOS Game that was to be made in 3 months. The project had already been delayed and cancelled multiple times before so it was kinda risky for me to take it as my first job. I went with my friends recommendation and accepted the job.

I had no previous experience in iOS before this, but I wanted work and I was ready to learn anything for that. In the next 3 weeks I managed to work through a lot of tutorials and learn quite a bit of game programming form this amazing website.

After 2 weeks of learning and implementing things, I had a very simple but prototype of the game ready, with parallax and characters animating in and out. The third week, there was some pressure from my client, cause of previous delays I was being forced to work harder. This was the first time, I was feeling under pressure. As the month was about to end, the client had already changed his mind and he was cancelling the project again.

I was kinda bumped out cause my first project went incomplete, it felt that the last month was a complete waste of my time. Even though was I paid for my time investment in the project, the half-done project haunted me for a while. It was like I chose a wrong path and that I was bound to fail.

The next 2 weeks went in getting myself back and running, it was my first project and I had fallen bad, because the amount of money that was to be made was large given the given I had to make it in. There was a sense of disappointment, which caused me to contact the friend who got me the project.

Karan

This guy has been freelancing for around 2 years now, and he has done some big projects like NH7, and a lot of small projects, he also worked at Infosys & Genii before I had joined so he was very experienced with the field.

Karan, is a big fan of designing and he loves to draw and create good designs, but as a web developer he also had to code ample amounts of stuff. So then he kinda distributed his coding work with me so that he can concentrate more on design and that way he could even take more projects.

Office

So after this first fail project I realised that working at home, wasn't a piece of my cake. With all the intervention and then spending time on gaming, it became really hard for me to work at home. The environment had changed a lot and it became really arduous for me.

So I had to ask Dad, to give me his office which was on rent for working, it took at long time but I finally had my workplace.

Haiku

So my first project with him was Haiku, which was a small to medium size website, and the pay for it was also decent. So this time I had to work on a PHP framework called Laravel. I had some experience in Ruby before working on projects at Genii, so it would take less time for me to get adjusted to this framework because it wasn't a really big change besides the syntax, the workflow was somewhat consistent.

The project was estimated to be finished in 2 weeks, but then it dragged to around 3 weeks due to some changes from the client and because of the silly bugs I had produced due to my lack of knowledge of PHP. By this time, we had already got another project which I was a part of AFK Gaming.

AFK Gaming

So these guys are our friends, and Karan had initially design their website which was coded by Genii guys, but now they wanted a completely new website, which lead them to working with us.

The Project was estimated as a 3 month thing, starting from October to December and the launch was supposed to be the new year. Karan had made a excellent plan and laid it out nicely, but the one big problem we faced was that there was no room for feedback in that plan, due to which the project suffered a lot.

The first couple of weeks, incorporated prototypes of all the requirements listed and then some designs. The came the big 15 day off or the feedback loop which was the first setback to our project plan, they took a lot of time reviewing the archetypes and the designs. In the meanwhile I started working for the backend and did a pretty nice job of finishing it in the 15 days, all this while, we hadn't heard from them and had been working on our own, without much their intervention.

As soon as the second month arrived, designs started pushing out and we were working nicely once again, the flow was nice but we were behind our schedules and there was no feedback from them, so we assumed all of it was right. They were busy with their own thing and didn't pay much attention it the website as well.

Meanwhile, I got my new Laptop from all the money I had manage to save from the little work I had done over the last 3 months. All this excitement got me off the course for a while and I had slowed my speed because there was no pressure and no feedback, so we used to take our time and implement stuff.

Then the meetings started to happen weekly and our clients finally started paying attention, and the meetings usually went for 3-4 hours of them reviewing the website and commenting on each and every little design change and functionality implementation.

The homepage was redesigned a couple of time before it was finalised, the next few weeks consisted of me working on the notification system, the shoutbox and the gamification of the system. Since they were pure coding bits of the system, there was almost no review needed from Karan as well cause he had completely handled me these parts.

The last month ended in small changes and silly UI changes, which also took a lot of time because the loop used to be slow. We made some changes, showed them, then they would take some time and reply. So a mere change of the logo placement took us a long time.

After the forums were almost finished, they bigger design change came in which drastically had to change the forums, it seemed like every time they saw a new inspiration they wanted it in their website.

Then finally after scrapping my plan of studying for GRE 3 months, I had to go work in January as well, and now it is Feb and the project is supposed to be finished in the next couple of days. I hope the project ends, it taught me a lot of how to handle clients and how we must always have multiple projects to be working on because there will be client delays.

Up Next

Hopefully I'll finish my GRE by April first week and then get back to working and doing some great projects, and at something to my resume.

END