1. How do you go about getting decent work? If you don’t think this is an active process, what do you think is bringing you good work? I think this might partially be the wrong question, because it seems from reading ‘Design is a Job’ that at least part of the responsibility is on the consultant to educate the client on how the process works best.
2. There’s an implied bootstrapping problem in the previous statement: if you’re not an experienced consultant, how do you know how to help the client be better? If the client is significantly better than you, it seems unlikely you’ll be able to get that work.
3. Rates are problematic for me for a few reasons. First, the typical problem I think most everyone goes through at first: you’ve got no context, so you don’t know where to start. I’m a little past that, as I’m starting to get a little bit of context from the discussions I’ve had with my initial clients. More importantly, though, and what’s got me stressed the most right now: it seems that if you take work at a low rate, you can’t afford the time investments/mental space to do the self improvement and self care to be worth the higher rates. This leads smoothly into another point…
4. I’m trying to get my start in an especially problematic set of circumstances:
A. I have no savings (the explanation is out of scope, but the fact is important information), so I can’t easily turn down work.
B. I don’t have any significant amount of writing or open source I’ve done (though I’m trying to remedy that.
C. I’m starting out basically on my own, in a new city (on the flip side, that city *is* San Francisco). The circumstances aren’t a question by themselves, and I realize that, but they lead to one. It’s becoming very clear to me the importance of being able to turn down work, and maintaining enough spare time/the mental space to give back in terms of OSS/writing/etc. I can’t manage that very well right now, and while I think I might be able to bootstrap, just barely, it seems like it might be more wise to change my circumstances. Of course, I can go get a short term contract, etc., and build some savings. I could also, theoretically, find someone else to work with who’s a bit more experienced, and hence has better work coming in already, and can mentor me some. What’s your opinion? Is it foolish to keep going without savings, or someone to mentor me, or something of that sort?