Why flex work is a lifesaver for indie developers and struggling freelancers

I’m not a fan of traditional jobs where you report to an office day after day. There are few things I have hated in this life more than getting up at ass o’clock to cram myself into a pair of pantyhose and a blazer that would fight  with gravity for dear life.

Photo Credit: Stokpic/Pixabay
Photo Credit: Stokpic, Pixabay // Sometimes I work laying down with my iPad!

After I officially left the financial industry, one of the happiest turning points of my life was dumping all my careerwear on eBay then Dress For Success. I figured that if I suffered all this way to reach this point? Then if I still have to trade time for money, I want to do it from the comfort of my home with my hair being whatever colors I want and my assortment of DRI t-shirts as I hang out with my amazing toad.
But I was actually inspired to write this after reading Wealthy Single Mommy’s post about how single mothers can’t afford to have a job. Not a single mom (unless you count the incredibly spoiled amphibian) but I will rephrase it like this: if you are a game developer, you too cannot afford a traditional full-time job if you ever want to get your game released. I know of what I speak!

The whole “work at a tax firm while I work on the game” dealie worked for me for a grand total of three months. Because tax season? Where someone expects me to be their slave January-April and more often than not, literally enforces a 7-day work week? God, I’d rather get skullfucked by Ron Jeremy while being forced to sit through Waterworld than EVER go through that again. I did a few little tax gigs last year to help with my bills but I decided after my time in the tax gulag that you could not give me a million dollars and a mortgage-free condo on the Lower East Side to go through that again. Because most of all, tax season coincides with GDC which has definitely cost me opportunities. Then there’s PAX East and/or PAX South, various local expos in NYC, and all this other shit I cannot miss! Whether it’s to grow both Sonic Toad and Himalaya or just to meet like-minded game devs and hustlers and have some fun.

“Hold up!” you shout. “How do I pay my bills in the meantime? I don’t have a trust fund or a spouse willing to subsidize me. How would I do this without a job?” I hear you, my fellow indie. So I’m going to tell you what I did.

I hustled the bejesus out of myself when I faced the scary yonder of not having a tax firm or even my own practice lined up for tax season months for the first time in years. I worked a crappy sharing economy gig while I went through back and forth doing crowdfunding consulting which is how Sonic Toad 1.0 was born. Those race-to-the-bottom freelance gig platforms suck harder than getting a bag of nothing but lemon Starburst, Craigslist is full of scams, and places like LinkedIn and Indeed only tend to have traditional full-time jobs assuming your resume doesn’t just get ignored upon being hurled into the stratosphere. What to do? (If you sign up for the Toad Tribune, you’ll get a kickass FREE E-BOOK that tells you all about how I found work without those godawful platforms.)

Enter FlexJobs.

There’s no other engine like it. Their staff fully vets each job post to make sure it’s actual work from a real legit company and not some scammy bullshit. There’s freelance gigs if you want to go that route, as well as short-term and long-term contracts. Want seasonal or temp work? That’s an option too. But if you’re looking for that perfect part-time or full-time job that is all or mostly telecommute, FlexJobs is the place to look.

This is a freakin lifesaver for anyone who needs time and flexibility to start a business or work on a game but still needs income. In that Wealthy Single Mommy post I linked, there’s lots of great insights from the comment box but one that stuck out was the lawyer recommending having six months of expenses saved up. If you are a game developer, this should be more like 1-1.5 years at bare minimum unless you have a sponsor or investor/backing. If that’s not your life? Flex work, baby. You can go from gig to gig or look for that sweet guaranteed part-time or full-time job that entails never having to go to an office. That way, you’ll have your guaranteed pay but then you no longer have to waste time or money commuting and trussing up. This adds up to HOURS every week to work on your passion!

Photo Credit: ed_davad, Pixabay // Yes, I really miss dealing with this every morning and evening. NOT!
Photo Credit: ed_davad, Pixabay // Yes, I really miss dealing with this every morning and evening. NOT!

Yes, it requires a subscription. But it will seriously be some of the best money you’ll spend if you want a job where you can work from home. Think about how much gas or train fare you’ve easily wasted going to job interviews where they grilled you harder than the Gestapo or did something ballsy like asked for your Facebook login! I found out about them through Wealthy Single Mommy, Googled for a promo code, and got a year-long membership that amounted to $3/month. Come on, you likely spend more than that in a night going to a game jam! I have earned my fee back many, many times over.

And in building up my affiliate partnerships, I only want to promote stuff I actually use and will gladly endorse. I can truly say that of FlexJobs based on my experience with both their staff and offerings. I only looked at freelance gigs, and have had about a 50% success rate. Some of them have paid bank and a few paid garbage. But it’s still nothing like that savagery on Elance where I’m up against someone on the other side of the world begging to write a 50,000-word e-book for $75. I’ve looked mostly at writing, education, and business consulting but all kinds of stuff comes up.

I saw a lot of game dev gigs too, namely short-term assignments for artists and programmers, but there’s also lots of part-time and full-time opportunities for community managers, 3D modeling and rigging, web coding, UX design, and much more that all entail pantsless bliss in your own home from studios around the world.

If you’re not interested in doing a second business like I did, a part-time telecommute job is seriously one of the best ways to keep your bills paid while you work on your game or business! So what are you waiting for? Get that like Yael grabbing a bug right out of your game!


FlexJobs is a partner of Sonic Toad Media LLC.

20 replies on “Why flex work is a lifesaver for indie developers and struggling freelancers”

[…] The pressure was finally gone. To hell with everyone else’s pre-packaged definition of “success”, the expectations that don’t align with reality when it comes hyper-educated and experienced people being forced to work in shitty conditions at an insulting payscale. I didn’t have to go back to that hellscape. I still keep up my license to get unrelated work as a consultant and in the adult education field. But the monkey was finally off my back that I wouldn’t have to adhere to the seasonal cycle anymore and could liberate my closet of all that shit that made me look and feel 20 years older than I was. […]

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And he actually ordered me breakfast simply because I stumbled upon it for
him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!!
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