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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