Let me tell you about the most challenging year in my career, the year 2023.
The bad half
I started the year unemployed. In the first half of 2023, I could barely find any job. It was a real challenge with the global economic crisis and everything.
During this period, I somehow managed to find a few shorter gigs. Two came from Toptal: one small HubSpot job (which reminded me to publish an article about its horrible developer experience) and one WordPress job. The other was a Shopify job, which I randomly found in one Slack community.
I cannot say I enjoyed any of these jobs, but I wasn’t in a situation to complain.
I spent the majority of my free time on finding a job. I discovered so many sites, so many platforms, and so many bullshit job ads that I started to feel that finding a job is impossible.
Always have money in a piggy bank for at least 3 to 6 months if you are a freelancer. You never know when the next crisis will arrive.
I knew I needed to keep myself busy, so I worked on my side projects. I polished my website and tried many new techniques and technologies. I wrote more than 20 articles in the first half of the year. I restarted and rebuilt my newsletter, which now has more than 600 subscribers (I even got a sponsor for a short time). I even tried a new approach where you rent my UI development services called A Dedicated Dev, but it has yet to catch up.
The first part of the year was just horrible.
The good half
Then, in July, everything changed. I landed a few jobs simultaneously, and I couldn’t be happier. First, I worked on an interesting Shopify project. I had to build some new templates and update the existing navigation. The client was stunned when he discovered how optimized the new templates were compared to those from his generic theme.
Then, I worked on a Shiny project where I had to learn R Markdown. I was very excited about it because being paid to learn a new technology is something I have always preferred. I also worked with Highcharts graphs, which I didn’t do for years. It was also the first time I was being paid to design something. I didn’t enjoy that part as much as development, but I cannot say it was a bother either.
So overall, the second part of the year was a great success.
As the year advanced, I feared I couldn’t pay my bills. But, fortunately, my luck has changed, and it didn’t happen.
Once again, my advice that you always need money in a piggy bank for at least 3 to 6 months when going freelance came true. You never know when the next crisis will arrive.
I hope this year will be the best one, not just for me but for everyone.