Having become a contractor around two years ago, i thought i would summmarise my experiences up to now and outline the pros and cons of being a London web developer contractor, compared to a permanent.
It has been a mixed bag so far, and takes some getting used to in terms of the cash flow inconsistencies which comes from being a contractor. I have had a good mixture of contracts already, ranging from one to two week gigs, through to my time at British Medical Journal, which eventually ran on for 14 months.
Having worked as a permanent web designer and then developer for a total of around 12/13 years, i had met many contractors and also seen permanent colleagues make the switch too. My impressions were that it would bring more money and freedom, and so far that has been the case.
I have hired Paystream to handle all of my accounts, leaving me to concentrate entirely on my work. This has proven a geat decision, and i would recommend it to any IT contractor starting out on this path. There is always the option to do your books yourself at a later date, if you wish to, but the time it would take me to learn these skills does not make sense for the amount it would save me in accountancy costs.
I recently re-started blogging after disbanding my old website several years ago. Whilst travelling around China it made sense to record my experiences in a WordPress.com blog. After coming home i didn’t feel that i really had much to talk about anymore and eventually took the site down.
I managed to drop all of that old content into this new blog through a combination of WordPress importer plugin (RSS) and using Archive.org to find other old posts that were not in the various export files that i managed to dig off my old harddrive. This combination worked well as there were only about 80 posts or so to move across and most images were links to my Flickr account, so were still working fine.
One issue that i did run into was that after trying out several different import plugins, my admin area started to run incredibly slowly and so i would advise anyone to de-activate and delete these plugins as soon as they have completed their content migration.
My contract at Cambridge Audio finishes today and i am starting to work out where i should go next. We have decided to pop to Tenerife next week for a suitably timed holiday before i then get my next chunk of work.
UPDATE: We had a great time in Tenerife and upon returning to the UK i picked up some more work at Cambridge Audio.