Indie vs. Freelance

When I went back to self-employed, I chose different words the second time.

The first time, I was sticking it to The Man. To bureaucracy, and to Others, really. People complicated things, and corrupted things, and compromised things. I went indie — albeit paired with a good friend, I became an independent app developer.

It didn’t go particularly well. The software was uncompromised. Also: unfinished, unpolished. Also: unheard-of.

This second time, I am not “an indie dev”. I am a freelance product developer.

Maybe to most people these terms are synonymous, two ways of saying the same thing, but to me it’s a constant reminder of a totally different perspective.

The last time, I didn’t have to work for anyone. This time I’m free to work with anyone.
The last time, I wasn’t dependent on anyone else. This time I’m free to ask for help.
When I was indie, it seemed best to go it alone. As a freelancer, I see chances to get together.

In practice, maybe it’s not always a drastic change or huge daily difference. Indie habits die hard, and there’s sometimes good reason to step out and explore a risky idea alone. Some, not all but certainly some, of my favorite apps/books/tunes were made solo. But I would never have discovered them if they were truly performed in a vacuum.

Being freelance is more complicated than being indie, but there’s no compromise — certainly no compromise compared to being left alone.

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Nathan Vander Wilt

Nathan Vander Wilt

Nate loves to wrestle big hard problems into little approachable softwares (/books/posts/tweets). If he's not busy designing apps for clients, he's probably busy building ideas for fun. Lately he's been also busy growing fish and plants together in his suburban greenhouse, and sharing good books and loud music with his family.

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