Take the 2-minute tour ×
Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I usually work in a web design company, but my manager also has his own company. He is a designer basically and he catches the projects with clients and then I do his work during weekends or whenever I have time.

He is very bold. He has no knowledge of programming at all. But I have seen that many times he catches projects which even I don't know how to do.

Last year he got projects in Joomla, Drupal, and Microsoft Sharepoint which I didn't know at the time. I told him that I don't know how to use those. He told me to take my time to learn and then do it. At that time I was thinking that I didn't know what would happen but eventually I finished them all.

He sometimes hands unfinished projects to clients even though he knows that they're not done, but he's not worried because people won't notice at all. If they do notice then he tells me to do it. I sometimes wonder how he is running such a risky business.

I have seen that I, who know programming, am afraid of accepting projects but he, who doesn't know anything doesn't hesitate to accept them.

I'm always too afraid of doing personal projects because I start thinking about what can go wrong. If I did something wrong, then people will sue me. How will I pay the damages? Due to this thinking I was not able to get any projects done from my known clients.

Whenever they ask me if I can do one, I say no. I'm afraid of accepting projects. Even though I have done many projects at work but I worry about it when it comes to me.

What should I do?

share|improve this question
add comment

6 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

The boss you are comparing yourself to seems to have a different mindset than you. He cares more about getting projects than about his abilities to accomplish them. Your description of him reminds me of a broker. He finds people that offer projects and pushes the projects towards others with the required skills to do them afterwards. His confidence is that he trusts himself to know enough people to help him out. Knowing that less than perfect results will be accepted is a plus for him, too.

You on the other hand care about your programming abilities first and have constant doubts about it. That's understandable, because noone knows everything in this field IMHO. Since you see yourself as the skilled worker, not as the broker in this business, you will always feel uneasy. Change your approach and develop trust not to to make everything on your own, but to find someone to help you out in case you need different skills.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Speaking from a position of ignorance... (never been a freelancer).

First thought - people fear what they don't understand. Get more knowledge, and maybe you'll have less fear.

For example, on the liability issue, I'd have thought there's insurance for that. There's probably getout clauses, but if you get good advice...

Second thought - sometimes you just have to jump in at the deep end. Though you certainly shouldn't do that just because people are suggesting it - pushing people in at the deep end has been known to make things a lot worse.

Even so, it's not good to be so risk-averse that you never have the possibility of getting the rewards.

share|improve this answer
add comment

It sounds like a matter of confidence. Your manager apparently has a lot (perhaps a bit to much). A good way to build confidence is through experience, for better or worse. Getting some more projects "under the belt" could help you.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Apparently you shouldn't be that much serious. Life is a game. Start playing it!

The only possible way to win in life is through playing it.

share|improve this answer
1  
I just lost the game. :( –  Andreas Johansson Jul 27 '11 at 11:33
add comment

Start carefuly

Fear is a natural and normal emotion. Everybody eventually fear something or someone.

However the difference with anxious and non anxious persons is that the former tend to dramatize a lot and create catastrophic scenarios in their mind while the later don't.

The later fear rational stuff such as failing of the cliff (when they are at the border of it without protections) or that big man looking at him aggressively with a knife in his hand. The former will have much more irrational fears such as thinking the plane you are taking is the one that is going to crash (of the hundreds of millions flights monthly).

Writing "people will sue me" is a pretty good indication that you are an anxious type of person.

Your freelancing will be much more hard to live if you are an anxious type of person than if you aren't (like your current boss). Therefore, in this case, I would listen to your irrational fear and don't go until you feel more confident.

My suggestion solution would be to slowly involve yourself by accepting very small (and very few) projects at the beginning, then progressively increase the work load.

You will know very fast it's for you or not without taking too much risk.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Just try. Myself, I've just started very recently doing some freelance work and of course you're always a little bit hesitant because most clients are not good at specifying precise requirements up front.

If you're afraid of doing a bad job, just tell the client at the beginning that your only "liability" will be to give the money back if they are not happy with the results. With this, you'll be free to unplug from the project if at some point you're not confortable with it.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.