Video of talk from Drupalcamp Colorado 2010: "Everything I Know About Making Money and Being Happy as a Freelancer"

Below is a video of a talk I gave this year at DrupalCamp Colorado that summarized some of the important lessons I've learned after 7 years of freelancing. I do talk about the logistical details like pricing and saving money on taxes, but my big focus is on how to build a vision for the life that we work so hard for. The talk initiated some great conversations afterwards, thanks for everyone who took me aside to share.


that was pretty awesome. Thanks for sharing!! I really like the part about protecting your ass-ets :) Great job Chris.

Sweet, glad you liked it, thanks!

Some really great tips, methods, practical strategies and lessons learned for the aspiring or seasoned freelancer both. Nice one Chris!

Cheers, thanks!

Chris, I really appreciate you posting this. It gave me a lot to think about in regards to how I've been doing things (freelance for about 18 months). Even though I'm most likely to go back to a shop, in the near future, this is still great information.

I appreciated the practical tips for GTD software and the reminder of 4HWW thought processes. I needed the reminders this week.

18 months is a good stretch of time, I bet you have some ideas about this stuff, too. What's pulling you towards going back to a shop?

I know what you mean about reminders. Preparing this talk, recording it and posting it were all forms of reminders to myself.


I'm likely heading back to a shop or picking up a full-time contract so that I can (decently) support my family. It's been a deadly slow month, and I've never managed to figure out how to find new work, other than word-of-mouth referrals. I've done some networking locally, but it hasn't brought enough work to really turn things around. It looks like I'm ending up a bit like your artist friend Joseph.

Whatever I do short-term though, the long-term plan is to go back to freelance or build my own shop. Right now I need to get back on top of the bills and maybe get some padding in a savings account. I'll keep working on networking in the Drupal community, too. (I'm co-maintainer of the local Drupal users group and I'm spearheading a Drupalcamp, here in Phoenix this November.)

Having a financial buffer is definitely key to weathering the slow times. It can be a huge strain without that, especially when you have a family to take care of.

Glad to hear you're going to keep being involved in the Drupal community. It seems like one of the best ways to open up opportunities for more satisfying work is through our relationships with other people. The better we know other people, the better they know what we're capable of, and the greater the chance that you'll come to mind when the need arises. It's more a side effect than the goal, but still a nice side effect.

Finding work can be tricky when you're seeking it. In my experience, there always seems to be more opportunities when I'm busy with something else. ;) Striving to be excellent at what you do - which I'm sure you're doing - and making that effort as visible as possible seems to be a good base strategy.

Good luck with finding a position, let me know how the search goes. Feel free to post what kind of work you would be looking for on this thread.