I have been working with some friends - on and off - doing freelance consulting locally and online using rentacoder. Recently a friend asked for some help who decided to leave the job and go-consultant.
We were precisely looking for following two questions:
Question 1: Choosing the title
The type of position-or-title that should be used; as it could range from consultant, architect, to contractor, or simply a freelance. But you cant print that on your card, can you? (0:
Question 2: Pricing model
And the type of pricing model that would benefit the most - not only funds-wise but consulting as well career-wise.
Part I: How and what to choose the title
So, What should you choose? Consultant, Entrepreneur, Freelance, or Architect?
At rentacoder, I saw the term "Freelancer", which is more inclined towards graphics/designing type of role, and seldom is used with freelance-developers. Mostly, the freelance developers go by their own company name.
So if you are working for yourself, who are you? A consultant, a contractor, a freelancer or an entrepreneur? or what would you want to be?
This really boils down to where do you want to see yourself? What words attracts you? What words sound convincing to you. Note that, IMHO, its important that you convince yourself first, and only then you would be able to prove that to the world. So, unless you are sure, unless you "believe" in it - don't buy it.
Many people goes with title of Consultant. You must have seen visiting cards saying
So, one question that you must ask yourself, what you really like(I meant love) doing?
Job responsibilities may include, proposing the re-engineered IT solution to business people. Turn business requirements into functional requirements. Propose solutions. Either subcontract the work to other company or allocate resources, make the job done ASAP, with quality, timeliness, and with a delighted customer.
When you are proposing a solution based upon business requirements, built around specific set of technologies, you may be called architect. This may include, helping with a robust system architecture. Providing all sorts of design artifacts, which includes but not limited to, system design diagram, entity relationship, code/solution files structure; as well as lead and mentor other developers to help finish their project on time, with quality.
Contractor is usually a term used if you are involved in state level projects. So, a government department "subcontracts" you the piece of business to be turned into a technology masterpiece. You can further "subcontract" the project depending upon the revenue and legal agreements that you signed with buyer. Note that, in legal terms, you are called - Seller - the one who is selling the services; and state shall be called Buyer, the one who is buying your services.
As for freelancer, that's just a general term for anyone not employed by a company - or doing anything in *parallel*. You can be a freelance contractor or consultant.
More in Part II: Pricing Model...