Brushstroke

A day in the life of a freelance developer

As you may know, our business model differs to most of the digital agencies out there, we bring together a hand-picked team of specialist partners for every project and Stephen, or ‘Griff’ as he is more commonly known, is one of our best.

Griff is an award-winning front-end developer based in Leeds. Having worked at some of the most well-known agencies in Leeds such as Twentysix and Epiphany, Griff took the plunge to go freelance in 2016. He now specialises in building engaging interactive experiences and robust cross-browser responsive CMS builds. He’s also a talented musician and a keen photographer!

After almost a lifetime working in the agency environment, in April 2016, Griff decided to make the switch to become a full-time freelancer.

“I wanted to be around more for my family rather than working to earn money to pay other professionals to look after my kids because I was at work! Also, my other creative projects were not getting the amount of time I wanted to devote to them.”

Outside of work, Griff has a debut album coming out with his band and he is also working on a photography book!

The majority of people that aren’t surrounded by freelancers may have this perception that they just stay in their comfy clothes all day and binge-watch Netflix. Well from our experience, freelancers, or at at least the good ones, are hard workers just like all of us. Stephen is certainly no exception. -We often see him working late into the early hours – because he loves what he does!

“During school term time I will be at my desk from 9am every day (after the school run). I usually work from 9am until 3pm when it’s time to go collect my daughter from school again. Then it’s family time from 3pm until my daughter goes to bed.”

When Griff’s daughter goes to bed, he’ll then do a few more hours work between 9pm and 1am. A typical working week can be anything between 37.5 hours weeks and 60 hours depending on the projects he has on.

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We asked Griff how he balances his work and personal life and this is what he told us:

“I work from home. I will work within an agency environment if the client or the project requires it, but with all the communication tools we have these days it doesn’t make sense to waste an hour or two each day commuting between home and office (especially when I need to be home at 3pm). I have my dev set up with large screens and all the tools I need at home so can be far more productive working at home where it’s quiet! I usually work in silence with no music or distractions.” 

With regards to our business model, it makes total sense to Griff:

Brushstroke Great team! By using freelancers rather than permanent members of staff, they can be agile and adapt their team quickly to each specific project’s requirements. _
Griff Front-end Development Specialist
Brushstroke
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Any top tips for those who are thinking about becoming freelancers, GRIFF?

It’s a very daunting move to actively walk away from the security of a salaried position, and it takes quite a while to adjust to the freelance mindset. I think the best advice for any new freelancer is to think hard about the specific skills and services that you choose to offer and be very open with your clients about what those skills are. Also, communication is key to positive relationships with your clients. My pro-tip is to send daily communications about what it is you’re doing for your client each day, especially if you are working remotely. Use email, Slack, chat, or whatever it takes… but be as open and responsive as possible and your clients will love you for it.

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