ways to help each other

draft 2 - starting 2022/08/21

First post probably just after 20:30 Eastern Time. This is still fragmented and such, and it's definitely a draft, but hopefully it's a start to a discussion.

Starting with the context of software apprentices, my benefit to you is that I can send you in the right direction, answer questions, and keep you from getting too frustrated. That's what I can offer with some degree of certainty. I can't offer any certain money because I need help with the business side of freelancing. (Further below I explain what seems a contradiction of how I got into this financial mess given my vast experience.) Anything I pay will be on commission. With that said, if you are in a position to take some risk, there may be a lot of money involved, as I explain further below.

I'll start with the simplest, least time-consuming way to help and go from there. Let's assume we decide what you're going to work on (perhaps starting from the two apprentice paths). While you're working, if you're occasionally a "green dot" on some (typing-only or voice) chat program, meaning that you're online / available, that would be some degree of help right there. I may get around to explaining why. I would define "occasionally" as at least two hours a week, and the more, the merrier. To be helpful, the "green" would have to be roughly during the window of 7pm - 1am US Eastern Time.

For the next level, I've had some success finding work through various cities' Craig's List computer gigs ads. (Whether that is a good place to look goes in the more complicated category; I'm trying to start simply.) I'm not asking you to do anything until you're satisfied enough that I can help you, so I am quite open to a proverbial or literal 20 questions. Once you're satisfied enough, rather than nattering on endlessly about what I look for, spend perhaps 10 (20?) minutes and see if you can find an interesting project. For now, pick a city. It can be interesting to you; I'm not asking you to read my mind. Let me know what you find. We can go from there.

I've found in the past that once we talk through a tiny handful of ads, an apprentice has known enough to find decent ads. Perhaps next time I'll write it out. For now, I don't see a need.

Eventually I would love to offer a commission on any ad you present that pays. Right now, that's really iffy. It would need to be a pretty big project. (Again, what I can more definitely offer you is help learning.)

As a level somewhere within there, if you're just a green dot while I look for CL ads, and you are there for me to bounce questions off of, that is helpful. Often I feel like anyone else's perspective would help. I have gotten myself into so absurd a situation that I sometimes can't see what is probably obvious to anyone else.

As we approach the next level, we may need to decide whether to attack the freelancing path or the "real job" / job recruiter / applying to companies path.

Along the freelancing path, I do find work on Craig's List computer gigs if I apply consistent effort. I am having a lot of trouble with consistent effort, though. So there is hope along that path if I get cheerleading a minimum.

One of my problems along any path is that I won't talk to people on the phone until they pass my writing tests. A majority of people only post email addresses and never respond, so there is no one to talk to. Some people posts phone numbers and demand a text or call. I will pretty much never do that as a first means of contact. If you're willing to try, we can get you prepped for such first contacts, and you can have at it. I'm not asking you to pretend to be a dev. You can just say we're a two person team and you specialize in first contact and other people skills.

A friend suggested I look at Upwork. I think I did, year's ago. Perhaps you can help re-explore that, but that's not worth anything more than a mention unless you're interested.

Along the freelancing or small business lines, I call this page "front man" because that's a term another developer used several weeks ago. After listening to my tale, he said I needed a front man to do everything up to the point of playing golf. I'll just leave it that for anyone who can even start to contemplate that part.

draft 1 - 2022/08/04

As of Thursday, August 4, 2022, at 18:34 my time, this cuts off abruptly, and it's otherwise a draft that I haven't read back over more than once or twice. Also, I already have ideas on how to rewrite it. I have specific reason to post it, though.

This document will range from simple things an apprentice can do to a proposal for sales, account management, and even forming a company together.

Starting with the context of software apprentices, the benefit to you is that I'm around to send you in the right direction, answer questions, and keep you from getting too frustrated. To start with the minimum value back to me, I give some background. The background is relevant to all levels of help.

As I explain, there is hope for me, but I've gotten myself into quite a financial mess. In an almost unique situation, I billed $60 an hour in 2004; that project ran for ~235 hours for ~$14,000. I was hired at $80k several years ago, and they were happy with me; it would have continued. I was not at all happy; I'll come to that in a moment. (I had zero interest in research and negotiation on that salary. I would have been thrilled with $80k if I were happy at the job, but I probably could have gotten more.) As of a few weeks ago, Hired.com says I should make $155k. I have other reason to believe that is possible. For one, I believe I'm up to 5 Amazon recruiters who have contacted me in the last few weeks, and their minimum salary is $160k. Big Evil Goo(gle) also contacted me a few weeks ago, but Google is one of the most evil companies in the history of the world. I don't want to go to Hell / incur the karma.

My biggest general problem is that I'm typing this at 11:24pm, and I'm just starting my work "day." The problem with $80k is that it was a foolish attempt to work 9am - 5pm. I lasted 5 weeks and then quit. In hindsight, the situation was salvageable, but I was too exhausted to care.

Amazon said that I could probably negotiate what I want if I ace their 1.5 hour entrance test. My cost-benefit to taking that keeps coming back as a bad idea right now. Goo said the same thing as Amazon, but I decided not to even tempt myself.

Beyond those two companies, I am having trouble finding human recruiters to even ask the question. A recruiter got me into that mess with the 9 - 5 job, so I am leery of them even when I do find one who is intellectually human.

As one way of solving the King of the Night Owls problem, I started freelancing at the end of 2009. I was at that first client's office, with him, until around 4am a handful of times, so I accomplished my goal to a degree. I still chat with that client occasionally, but we haven't found a way to help each other again. Overall, I've had a number of good gigs, and I'm still work on one part-time after 6 years. Freelancing has barely ever worked, though, at best. I let myself get badly burned a number of times, and that rattled me.

From a people perspective, I am not suited for freelancing. I can do sales, but it is exhausting. I let myself get burned various ways.

the very minimum way to help

For the minimum that would be helpful to me, a bit more background. For years I have been pushing away anyone who isn't helping solve my job problems. Unfortunately, no one is helping very much at the moment. As a minimal solution, I have found that all it takes is a green dot on a chat program, indicating availability, and just a bit of conversation about development or any other aspect of my business, and that goes a long way towards keeping me motivated on sales and such. In other words, if you're just a green dot asking occasional questions, that is helpful enough that it's worth answering your questions.

a bit more work on your part, and possibly financial reward

All of the gigs in my freelancing era have come from the Craig's List computer gigs section in various cities. Before CL charged $7 for such ads, I could easily find gigs in Atlanta. There were around 600 ads, and enough of them were useful. You would think that the charge would increase the quality of ads, but that's not what happened. I had to range beyond Atlanta. I have still had some success, but it got harder.

It's getting harder and harder for me to go through CL ads. I've let myself get badly burned a number of times relatively recently; that's one reason it's getting harder. I search Atlanta and a handful of regions where I would consider moving--mainly Florida and Texas. I search Boston and Seattle because I have friends there who could help with clients. I need to be better about several other states. I can bring myself to search SF because it's the home of CL. I can't bring myself to search the libtard cities of LA, NY, and CHI, though. The people seem alien in my mind. I can't believe anyone lives there anymore. And / or I can't believe their governments haven't been overthrown.

The point being that any help searching would be helpful. In theory, I would be thrilled paying commissions on ads you find. In practice, I would have to crunch numbers to figure out when I could pay. I am a black hole for money right now. $80k or even $40k would solve my problems pretty quickly. And maybe making $40k on CL is doable if I can just keep momentum.

I have been asked a number of times what I look for. The simplest answer is spend 10 minutes, and / or find one ad to send to me. We can iterate from there. There is no reason to put huge stakes in the first attempt. We'll learn by doing. I might write out a guide, though, if I have enough incentive.

yet more work, and now you have to assess the potential reward

As to not waste our time, I will start with the bad news, and then explain why this may have a better value proposition than 100s of vaguely similar ads I've seen. The bad news is that I have less than nothing to pay up front. For the same reasons that I am posting this ad, my business has not been going well enough. So this is somewhere between commission-only and if you see value in learning to program, then you should at least get help with that from me.

As of mid-2022, I have good reason to believe I can make $155,000 / year as a software engineer. The major problem is that I am a night owl, and the last attempt to work 9 - 5 was a predictable disaster. I have been freelancing to try to solve the problem, but I do not have the people skills to make freelancing work in terms of sales, account management, money negotiation and collection, etc.

An employee has to bring in 3 - 4 times his salary to be worthwhile. Thus, I could bring in up to $600,000 / year to a company. I would be thrilled to make $155,000 and let you take a large portion or perhaps all of the rest.

NOTE: this page is in progress / a draft as of 2022/06/11. I'll post it, though, and hopefully come back to it soon.

I have seen vaguely similar ads to this 30 - 50 times per year on various cities' Craig's List computer gigs sections.