Illustration of Derek Powazek by Adam Ellis


Freelancing is like a virus. Once it enters your bloodstream, it never really goes away. It just goes dormant now and again.

I was a freelancer during the heyday of the web in San Francisco. From 1997 to 2002 I lived the freelance dream. I took meetings on the phone in my bathrobe. I worked when I wanted, and didn’t when I didn’t. It was wonderful – and not just because I was my own boss.

It connected me to my neighborhood in ways I’d never imagined. When you walk into your local coffee shop at 2pm on a Monday, you’re not one of the working stiffs – you’re one of those people they wonder about. What are they doing in there at this hour?

And it freed me to travel, to attend conferences, to build my own sites, write a book or two, and fall and love with a girl named Heather.

Freelancing isn’t easy – it’s actually much harder than having a fulltime job – the hunting for clients, the periods of little work and then too much, the clients that call you at 11pm. Yeah, freelancing has its downsides, but a lack of freedom isn’t one of them.

So when a great job came along in 2002, I traded in a slice of my freedom for security. It seemed like the thing to do in the post-9/11 world. And the job was great. And I did good work there. You can see it some of it online.

But the freelancing virus was still in me. And with the major projects done, and a couple Webbies won, it was time to go back out on my own. In a strange twist on the usual order of things, I’ve switched from being a fulltime employee to a freelancer for AlterNet, and am back to looking for new and interesting clients.

So if you or someone you know needs a web designer, a photographer, a print designer, or just about any other design-related-thinger, I’m officially back on the market. Let’s make something beautiful together.

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Hi, I’m Derek. I used to make websites. Now I grow flowers and know things. I’m mostly harmless. More.