Year One

A digest of my first year as a freelancer

Happy New Year !

It’s been a little bit more than a year since I started working as a freelancer, and launched my own company: Databulle.
As I would say in french, ça s’arrose ! It’s that time of the year when people look back to what they did right or wrong, and try to set goals for the new year. So let’s do that.

Overall, I’m very happy with 2018

Quitting my previous job was a tough decision, and tougher it was to launch my onw company.
Also I am surrounded with freelancers and business owners, working on my own was uncharted territory for me. Would I find clients? Would I be able to answer their needs? Would I be able to work at home, next to a lot of distractions? …

It turns out everything went fine (although not perfect). I’m really glad for the few people who put their trust in me, and helped me dive into this new adventure. Special thanks to Maël, Damien and Paul.

From a pure work perspective, I quickly got started with my first few clients and have been busy ever since. The projects I worked on and the people I worked with were great (with only a few exceptions). I feel very lucky for this.

In june, I was awarded a SEMY Award for young french figure of the year at SMX Paris. Being chosen for this award was a real surprise and a great pleasure. I see this as a reward for my work and an encouragement to keep on. Count on me to do my best ;-)

This summer, we launched Crowl with a bunch of fellow SEOs, with the aim to create an open-source SEO crawler. We’ve all been quite busy since then, but I hope to get some time in the next weeks to commit some new features.

This year I met a ton of other digital workers in my local area, because I finally took time to join meetups and other gatherings. Also we don’t have much in common at first glance (different jobs, different types of clients, different experiences), it’s nice to get to know each other and share our experiences and points of view.

What I learned in 2018

Being a freelancer means you can organise your time as you want: if the weather is good, why not go for a bike ride in the afternoon? However, you’ll also have to admit your work time never really ends: you’ll be the only one accountable for solving problems and ensuring deadlines. You’ll sometimes have to work on weekends and public holidays. It was never a problem for me, but I learned this year that I also need some time off once in a while :-)

Having people to talk to was a relief. Huge thanks to Syphaïwong, Maxime and Quentin who are the people I talk to most.
If you’re working alone, I think it’s vital to have peers to talk to, even from a distance, just to avoid being isolated.

Attending events (meetups, conferences, or even casual drinks) is also a very good way to meet people, talk about different aspects of work and business, and get your head off work for a while. Although I already joined a lot of those before becoming a freelancer, I still do and will keep doing so.

My motivation commes from learning and trying new things. Being a freelancer is the perfect way for me to do so. This year, I was able to perfect my Python and Data skills, work on new tools and try new methods in my work. Appart from earning enough money for a decent living, this is the main reason why I believe I made the right choice a year ago.

What I will try for 2019

My main objectives are strictly work related. First, I need clients :-)
However, I’d like to avoid activity peaks, which means getting better at planning my work.

As I said earlier, I get motivated by doing stuff I never did before. I’ve got a lot of ideas for experiments and means to get better at my work. But I’ll have to find time and projects to try them on.

I’ll also launch a few new training courses in 2019, to complete the SEO crawl/logs/data training course I already offer (which I only do in French for now, sorry for my english-speaking readers).

I also have a special project, together with Syphaïwong and Andréa, but we’ll talk about that another time.

Finally, I hope to find time for more sharing on this blog. I’ve got a lot of ideas for experiments on Machine Learning techniques for SEO, and I’ll share the most interesting results here.

Stay tuned!

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