Long-term contract work

I had a number of long-term contracts during the 20 years I have been self-employed.

None of them really started as a long-term contract but I stayed at the client for many months, sometimes over a year.

The work was usually in the areas of DevOps, Test Automation, setting up CI systems. I worked on many small in-house web applications. Many batch-jobs.

Advantages

Having a client with a long-term contract working an average of 2-3-days a week has a lot of advantages.

I usually make the agreement in a way that allows me to make my work schedule flexible that sometimes allows me to work 2 weeks every day and then go on 2-weeks vacation or run a course on 5 consecutive days.

Something I would not be able to do with full-time employment.

It also provides a steady income and I also have the opportunity to learn new things on the dime of the client.

However in some cases after helping the team to improve their development practices these contracts turn into development mode or sysadmin mode. They start to see me as another member of the team. In itself that would not be a problem, but I think this is not be the best way for me to provide value to my clients.

It would be much more valuable if I stayed out of the development work in these organizations and kept my consultant hat. That way I could go around and help each one of the team members and each one of the teams to improve their practices.

Disadvantages

One of the problem I had with this, is that I feel that these long-term clients try to swallow me. On one hand it is flattering that they want more time from me, on the other hand it spoils me and in many ways the long-term contract becomes indistinct able from full time employment.

Especially when it ends, usually quite abruptly, when the client runs out of budget for the project I was working on.

In the last few years I managed to limited each client to be 2, max 3 days a week allowing either 2 clients at the same time, or using the rest of the time to run training courses or to work on my own content on the Code Maven site and elsewhere.

In any case this work probably requires on-site presence, at least at the beginning of the work, and as such it is primarily relevant to clients in Israel. (And these days of COVID-19 even not those.)

Marketing

This is a B2B model as only companies will buy my services.

My online content can help here generating more leads, but as my name does not sound Israeli I have to make sure the local clients will understand that I provide the services here and in Hebrew.

One way would be to show some Hebrew text or the Israeli flag on my English-languages pages, at least to visitors who arrive from an IP in Israel.

The other option is to generate content in Hebrew as well. For this I started the Hebrew version of the Code-Maven site.

I have listed the services I provide on the Code Maven site as that seems to be my most visited site these days.

A while ago I also started a series of email interviews with R&D leaders at various Israeli companies. I was hoping to provide some insight on how is it to be an employee at these companies so my readers can learn from each other. I was also hoping to build my connections with some of the leaders in the Israeli Hi-tech market. The thing is that most likely the companies that are ready to talk about their process of working probably don't need my expertise. After all they are already working quite well.

After a few interview I stopped.

Recently I started a series of video interviews in English and in Hebrew primarily to help people better understand how to apply for a job at specific companies. This series might also help both my readers finding a job and myself build my connections.

Published on 2020-08-26 by Gabor Szabo