Gun.io: The professional’s path to rewarding, full-time self-employment

By David Ledgerwood

For many people, going solo as a full-time freelance developer can be terrifying. In the “gig economy,” promises promoted by so many platforms and marketplaces just don’t pan out. You login and check for “jobs” only to find you’re competing in a reverse auction with offshore talent ostensibly willing to do your job for pennies on the dollar. 

 

This is no way to support a household, a family, or even a meaningful, fulfilling life. There has to be another way.

 

  • Where can serious professionals gain self-employed independence without having to sacrifice earning potential, adequately challenging work, and engaging relationships?
  • Where does remote work meet teamwork?
  • Where are the real crafts(wo)men earning real money online without spending all of their time seeking clients only to have to battle for Net 45 terms and a revolving door of bad client debts?
  • Where can experienced, serious professionals legitimately make a living in the remote economy?

 

 

The Professional Freelancer

At Gun.io, we have already built what you are looking for.

Over a rolling 12-month period we have collected data representing more than 30,000 hours of project and product development work. Having analyzed that data, we have arrived at a prime definition of the ideal contributor, a persona we have defined as the Professional Freelancer.

The Professional Freelancer is a full-time, self-employed crafts(wo)man.

 

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) they are a 9- or 10-level expert in their practice area, which, for the purposes of Gun.io, includes some combination of one or two of the following skill areas: Project Leadership, ScrumMaster, Product Management, Development, Design, User Experience, Quality Assurance, DevOps, or SecOps.

The Professional Freelancer is not a “side hustler” or “moonlighter”. They are available, present, and accountable during North American daylight hours. The PF enjoys being challenged across two to three simultaneous projects, each of which they would be willing to deliver with their name emblazoned on the result.

The Professional Freelancer craves and responds well to the rewards and responsibilities of:

  • Freedom
  • Autonomy
  • Responsibility
  • Flexibility
  • Stability

 

The Opportunity

At Gun.io we seek, engage, and reward the Professional Freelancer. 

 

By joining our worldwide community of freelance developers, whether or not you are immediately able to support your own PF career mandate, you will declare your desire and dedication to achieving the full-time, self-employed crafts(wo)man ideal.

If your application is accepted, you will join and be supported as a community member of our exclusive, invite-only Slack community, Team Gun.io. As a member you will interact and build relationships with a cohort of like-minded and exceptionally brilliant professionals, each of whom also aspires to the PF ideal. You will enjoy educational resources and chats facilitated to advance your PF career and you’ll seek and share team-based projects to help build your freelance income and experience member-to-member.

As you establish yourself as a meaningful value-adding member of Team Gun.io, you will receive access to “open roles,” which are opportunities to join existing Gun.io client projects, each of which invites you to join substantial project teams with an average duration of at least 7 months and one-third (~10 hrs/wk) to half-time (~15 hrs/wk) billing opportunities. These valuable positions are far more rare than one might find on a “marketplace” like Toptal, Upwork, Freelancer, or many others. As such they are far more valuable as a stepping stone to the PF career path.

Positions worth having are worth patience and commitment to attain. Top PF earners on Gun.io achieve annual earnings approaching $200,000 per year while working between 30 and 40 hours/week. These coveted positions become available only after each member of our PF tier has passed on the opportunity, making inclusion in the PF tier an exceptionally valuable opportunity.

As the PF tier ranks increase, the availability of open roles that remain unfilled becomes harder to attain. Only the most effective, value-adding community members achieve promotion to the PF tier. Once access to the PF tier has been earned, it’s up to each PF to maintain their status by contributing to projects at the peak of their abilities. In other words, to paraphrase Jonas Salk, “The reward for a job well done is another job.”

The best of the best members of Team Gun.io earn the opportunity to:

  • Work for themselves in a results-oriented meritocracy
  • Work remotely, from home or from any location, full-time
  • Exercise and sharpen their communication, collaboration, and leadership skills
  • Contribute their career best practices and see them brought to fruition
  • Work with teams of highly specialized, motivated peers
  • Collaborate with performance-focused, right-sized management teams for total backing
  • Focus on practice areas in which they are a 9- or a 10-level crafts(wo)man
  • Work with other 9s and 10s as a fully-empowered product delivery team
  • Set stretch goals for their 7- or 8-level areas with team and leadership support for growth
  • Coach and empower their teammates to mutually maximized performance
  • Develop enduring professional relationships in a choice-based culture of performance

 

The Promise

Full-time self-employment is not a pipe dream.

Gun.io is not another “marketplace” with streams of race-to-the-bottom “gigs” that devalue true crafts(wo)men practitioners. We abhor business models that encourage low quality, low price, and low durability engagements. We turn away clients seeking quick-and-dirty one-off jobs who fail to respect US market rates.

Gun.io makes the Professional Freelancer ideal real and attainable.

  • We only accept clients offering durable and interesting product development challenges
  • We back our PF teams 100% during times of conflict with fair and transparent dealings
  • Like a great coach, we hold PFs accountable, maximizing their performance in a team
  • We maintain strict scrum discipline and quality standards
  • We remove low-performing team members quickly and with dignity
  • We honor PF feedback with expedient, transparent communication and implementation
  • We compensate at market+ rates with integrity, durability, and fairness
  • We honor PF crafts(wo)men with a guild-like, disciplined mentality

 

The Reward

The Professional Freelancer at Gun.io achieves the self-employment ideal.

Imagine what it’s like to be paid every week for your previous week’s output without having to invoice. Imagine what it’s like to make a substantial income working 25-35 hours/week.

Picture yourself in your home office choosing to work anywhere between half-time to full-time while you make more time for family, hobbies, and passion projects. Visualize what it feels like to be backed by a team of like-minded professionals, all within a team-based culture of choice backed by enduring Core Values.

The chart below demonstrates the distribution of annualized gross incomes across the Gun.io Professional Freelancer workforce as of the publishing of this article.

The Proof

“Gun.io’s been great, it’s made freelancing better in so many ways.”
“There’s visible improvement, it’s not just lip service”; “this business is about freedom, love, trust.”
“Working with Gun.io has, for the first time, allowed me to fit work into my life instead of life into my work.”
“Gun.io is the only company I’ve come across so far that I would work as a freelancer for indefinitely.”
“I love the fact that I don’t have to manage accounting, finding new clients, billing --- all that.”  
“Yes, I’m a contractor, but I feel empowered. Everybody gets to run their own piece of the pie.”
“[Gun.io is] not just a marketplace, but a company, a culture, and a community.”
“Gun.io has felt the most professional out of all other platforms, with a standout sense of community and culture.”

 

 

Are you ready to be a Professional Freelancer?

Apply to join our exclusive, invite-only Slack community and join a cohort of like-minded aspiring PFs with free education and job opportunities.

We are seeking members with the following skills: project leadership; scrummaster; product manager; UX/UI design; all types of development; QA; devops; secops; and more (tell us about your mastery).

Start Application