3 Years

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    I talk about how I was made redundant 3 years ago and how that’s resulted in lots of freelance success.


    3 years ago today, I got a message from my bosses—they needed to chat. One long video chat later, I had no job: my role was made redundant because the agency was going under.

    48 hours later, my second child, Cassie, was born. To say I was stressed in this period would be the understatement of the year. I was in fact, so stressed, that my newborn child literally wouldn’t settle with me for about two months. Heartbreaking stuff.

    I spent the whole two weeks of my paternity leave in interviews with places I didn’t want to work at, then weeks of technical tests that were pointless, followed by “take home projects” that were a complete waste of everyone’s time.

    Then came the waiting for decisions. Weeks—and in one case—months. If you want to know the root for my disdain for tech hiring, it’s right at this point and it was also at this point that I decided to make a move that was risky, but ultimately paid off.

    A big reason my previous employer’s agency went under was because frankly, they put all their eggs in one basket. That basket—a client—decided, rightly, they were not getting value for money anymore because—amongst other reasons—they noticed it was only me working on the account now. I used this to my advantage and asked them if they needed freelance support until they hired a team of their own. They bit my hand off and signed an initial 3 month project, then an ongoing retainer which still runs today.

    I’d been planning to go back freelance after our second kid’s 1st birthday, but this project allowed me to jump ahead, get a buffer and importantly, stop messing around with dumb tech companies that were complete time-wasters.

    Three years on, I’m super secure, working with nice clients and already filling up time in 2022. I’ve produced two courses: first Learn Eleventy From Scratch, then Learn CSS with the great folks at Google. I co-authored Every Layout with Heydon and wrote a CSS methodology: CUBE CSS. Both of these have recently been used as heavy influences for the W3C—the W3Cdesign system that’s just been released. Cool stuff.

    Along with all of this, I’ve done a tonne of client work I’m super happy with and helped not only huge companies, but also small companies write better CSS that will give them a solid foundation from the future. In a quite a few cases, helping them swerve making bad decisions, chasing the hot new framework, but instead, opting for methodologies and standards.

    Wrapping up permalink

    I don’t really have a zinger for this post. I just wanted to document where I was and where I am. I feel so much safer being freelance. You’re only a notice period away from shit when you work full time, where as now—thanks to a nice buffer—I have time to make the right moves. It’ll take a hell of a lot for me to even think about not being freelance ongoing.

    If you are thinking about going freelance, I run a nice community and wrote a post a while ago with tips ’n stuff.

    I’ll wrap up by thanking everyone who has helped me out over the last three years. You all know who you are and I love you very much for it.

    Take it easy 👋


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    Hello, I’m Andy and I’ll help you build fast, accessible websites & design systems.

    I’m a freelance CSS and design systems consultant, based in the UK. I specialise in design systems and creative web design, such as landing pages and campaign work.

    I’m currently helping Google by refactoring the CSS and creating a design system for web.dev, but I have availability for projects such as small websites, landing pages and consultancy. I will have full availability for larger projects in January 2022.

    Hire me