Being self-employed - review

Posted on:September 24 2007

For some time, I am now running my own company and working as freelancer. I blogged about the the beginning of all this already, but not a lot about how everything is going, what I am doing, etc., so it's time to change this:

The first thing to note is that it was the right decision to start standing on my own feet: Before I started Ambiera, I was working as normal employed software engineer. I wanted to have some more freedom and work a bit more in the games area again, so I decided to quit my job. The reason was not that I disliked my job - I didn't and actually, I am still doing some work for my last employer. But I also wanted to work on other projects, and have some more time for Irrlicht and related things.

Now, after some time, I am pretty happy with how everything worked out: I already worked on some computer games and similar projects for different companies from various countries. I did not only have a lot of fun, but additionally learned to use new technologies and was able improve my skills and knowledge - that's what I was missing a bit before, maybe. Furthermore, I was able to create and maintain two products - namely irrKlang and irrEdit which are now used by other developers - hobbists and professional developers, which also gets me a bit more into contact with the game industry and is quite interesting. So everything is going well, but of course there are some few things which are not that nice:
One problem is that although I have a lot of freedom now I don't have more free time, it's even quite the opposite: I'm working a lot more than previously. And I constantly have to make decisions: Which job should I do and which not? Currently, I have to reject a huge amount of possible jobs unfortunately, simply because of shortage of time, and it's not very easy to decide which one to do and which not.
Another issue is that the Euro/Dollar exchange rate currently is a joke. The dollar is now only worth 1.4 euros and still falling, and because a lot of my customers are from the U.S., my services are getting more expensive for them every day. That's really bad. Same for advertising: Google adsense is paying in Dollars, and every month, I get less money from it. And there is no other advertiser I could switch to, google has the monopoly. Great. And last but not least, the bureaucracy: It only works when they want money from you, but I guess that's nothing new. :)

But apart from these few glitches, until now, everything is running nice. And I hope it stays just like it is. :)


Glad it's going well for you!

I sympathise with you on the US exchange rate. The UK economy is really strong right now too so the US dollar has been weak in comparison for a couple of years now but it just seems to get worse all the time. Definitely doesn't help.

Almost a year on now I don't regret my similar decision either, although it sounds like you've had more consistent work offers :) Mine tend to be very unpredictable (quiet times then suddenly several at once) which makes planning pretty hard, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
2007-09-24 19:22:00

Yes, same problem with the dollar here in Canada. If the US economy was stronger, our dollar would be lower, but at the same time our GDP would be higher. It definitely has been hard for many tech companies whose customers are based in the US. I expect that the dollar will fall once the Feds cut the interest rates, which will help a bit. ;)
2007-09-24 20:28:00

thx. I guess I have an advantage because I get a lot of offers from local companies too, and I am not sitting on an island with ~64K inhabitants, don't know :)
hm, but I don't know if it is a good idea to try to push our own currency down again, maybe they should stop investing their money in war and do something for their economy :)
2007-09-24 21:26:00

Forget trying to improve our economy. I think businesses should altogether relocate out of the US. I wouldn't mind moving to Canada - just as long as NewEgg ships there. :D
2007-09-24 23:44:00

as u sadi, hope it stays just like it is. ;-p
2007-09-25 08:17:00

War does do something good for the economy. I work for a defense contractor (No I don't kill people) and the jobs in this industry are growing by the second. Having more jobs is a really good thing for the economy.
2007-09-25 16:53:00

Oh yeah, also underdevelopment of third world, narco traffic or pollution
are very very good for economy...
2007-09-25 19:57:00

I don't think war is good for the economy. Okay the defense industry is growing, but the rest of the economy is destabilized. You can see it on the resource markets, at the stock markets and so on. Overmore war costs a lot of money and the government runs into debt - nothing really useful for the economy. And I don't think that the defense sector of industry (which is small compared to the whole industry) can absorb this problems...
2007-09-26 09:27:00

I am so happy u are doing well (u helped lot of people like me by writing irrlicht). And also th fact that u are ur own boss. God bless u and give u success in your every endeavour
2007-09-26 17:49:00

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