Contract work before own project as a safer launch? 👨‍🚀👨‍🚀

For most of us here, especially those employed, going all-in on a project with a new co-founder feels too risky. Nobody wants to end up without any income or with a partner who isn't a good fit.

But I feel there's a better way to go about it.

Pick your potential co-founder and do contract work for clients before starting with own project.

Since you both are aiming for your own business, freelancing should be easy. Combining skills gives extra leverage and you have plenty of time to get to know each other. And since you both work on the same contract, your income and time commitment would be well balanced.

What do you think?


  1. 3

    I like this as a concept. Freelancing is one hell of a whetstone for whatever your skillset is, so I think it would naturally extend that benefit to team dynamics with whoever you're looking to work with.

    The one thing I could maybe see as a problem(?) is that freelancing =/= building your own product. Sales, marketing, etc. are all things most freelancers don't have to worry about for the stuff they build. At least most of the time. Maybe marketing themselves, but that's a different beast than marketing/selling a product or app.

    Overall, I like it.

    1. 1

      Yes, contracting together is mostly a way to get to know your partner and cover expenses while building a product.

      As for learning, it is a different beast. But still much better than just reading articles online.

  2. 1

    I really like the idea. My team and I are doing something similar right now.

    1. 1

      Nice! How it's been going for you?

      1. 1

        We only started recently so can't say much, but we're hopeful it will turn into a fruitful arrangement.

  3. 1

    Team at Airfocus.io built their product with this exact approach.

    Check this interview with Malte Scholz (@productproduct), one of the co-founders:


  4. 1

    Good idea. A while back I was thinking about building a small product to help with this concept. gigteams.com was meant to be a place where you could create a virtual team/agency of freelancers to work on contracts together. My focus was to make remote freelance work more interesting. Might have another go at building it in the near future...

    1. 1

      Sounds interesting. By 'create' you mean to find partners to work with? Or there's more to it?

      1. 1

        Ideally an mvp would be nothing more than a platform to find partners to work with on freelance gigs.

  5. 1

    Good idea! This would be a good way to get to know each other better and see how you handle things. For me, the biggest challenge right now is to find someone who is responsive. Everyone is pretty much busy working (either in-house or already doing client work as a freelancer / consultant). Just getting on a call together seems hard, I can't imagine coordinating a project.

    1. 1

      I've been talking to many potential partners lately and I absolutely relate to what you are saying. At times it feels maybe my idea isn't compelling enough and people just aren't motivated.. Then it turns out there's nothing wrong with the idea but people are just busy with stuff that's around them and more tangible.

      I found that replying quickly helps to keep the flow.

      I think working on a contract together would encourage more communication because there is pay + commitment.

      1. 1

        I tend to reply quickly but even that gets nowhere. I’ve even made friends with people I worked with and offered to partner up on our own project but I offer falls on deaf ears. Seems that without a presold product nobody is motivated enough to do anything. At this point the only viable solution seems to keep consulting and earning a wage or learning to code.

        I’ll keep trying to presell something so I can just pay for an mvp and hope to recoup costs later.

        1. 1

          Would having a presold product be enough for people want to join? Is that the major thing that motivates everyone?..

  6. 1

    I like the idea. Working with a potential co-founder on some contracts can help determine if you're a good fit. Can you handle stressful situations well? There's always things that can and will go wrong in a project and being able to handle those professionally and succeed is very powerful.

    1. 1

      Yes, that's precisely what it's for 👍

      Any thoughts on the cons?

      1. 1

        The cons would be time and possibly working on a project that isn't interesting. For me, working on a project that could be a business is more motivational.

Trending on Indie Hackers
Indie Hackers is now an invite-only community 74 comments The Challenge: $10,000 MRR in 30 Months 41 comments Do you *like* Twitter? 33 comments 26 B2B Cold Outreach Templates - all for free... 🤝🏾 16 comments Let me review your web app 13 comments I founded CircleCI (valued at $1.7B) and Darklang. AMA! 11 comments