Introducing the Freelance Insights project!

— 4 minute read

Who are you? What are you building? and why should I care? All good questions, which hopefully get covered here.

Who Am I? permalink

My name's Stuart and I'm a software consultant/freelancer from Glasgow, Scotland. I primarily work on building large-scale JavaScript front-end applications.

I'm always tinkering with side-projects but like a lot of people they tend to fade away and then another one starts. This year I want to launch something to try and break that cycle and get into a habit of shipping things with the goal that one of them will stick.

The Pitch permalink

You have to have an elevator pitch right? What the hell will this thing do? Well...

Freelance Insights helps freelancers track their business success and goals.

...or something. I have a feeling this is going to change :)

Story Behind The Project? permalink

Towards the end of 2019 I realised I didn't have a good enough handle on how well (or how badly!) my business was performing financially. I also didn't really have a way to track goals that I might have or to see how busy I really am. All that data was available to me - I'm an enthusiastic user of FreeAgent which handles all business related things (time tracking, invoicing, tracking of expenses etc) - but FreeAgent didn't deliver it in a way that really helped me answer those questions.

With that in mind I built a quick (..ish) dashboard that pulls data from FreeAgent's API, compiles it into a format that was useful to me and throws it on screen. It was a backend-less Vue app which hit the API directly and handled everything in the browser. A terribly insecure approach for sure, but this app got plonked on my local NAS and I could access it in the house and see how things were doing.

I mentioned it in a Slack group I'm part of and a few people didn't say it was terrible so I wondered if it would be worth turning into something others could use. And here we are.

I'll post more later about the vision for the project and show the prototype off a bit.

Why Am I Blogging About It? permalink

Good question. Sure this time could be spent actually building but I wanted to take a different approach this time. I've really enjoyed following other people who have built projects out in the open and so I thought I'd follow suit. I'm hoping this will give me a bit of accountability and ensure this project doesn't fade away into nothing like the others!

Expectations For The Project permalink

My main goal for this project is to launch it. I want to get this to a place where people can sign up and get value from it. I've not thought about monetisation yet but a subscription model would likely be the easiest path.

I'm not really expecting this project to be the one that becomes a big success but it will be something that at least I'll find useful and that's surely a win!

Another motivation is getting out of my comfort zone a bit. I usually hesitate about putting things out there and worrying about it being perfect or how it will be received. This project is about shipping.

Expectations for Following the Journey permalink

Should anyone actually find this journey worth following I hope I can keep you updated regularly. For some accountability I will:

  • Blog at least once a week on progress, stumbling blocks and decision making.
  • Tweet (StuartAshworth9) regularly - say hi!
  • Live code at least once! I've never done this before but found watching others do it interesting, so why not?!