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A Day at the Office

A Day at the Office
In 2019 I made the life-changing decision to leave my full-time web agency job in Exeter to become a freelance developer in the Haute-Vienne region of France. It was a major shift in where we live, how we work and our daily life. So what does life as a freelance developer in France look like?

Digital Nomad to Dream Desk

When we first moved to France our house purchase hadn’t completed. We started out in a gite on the Dordogne and Haute-Vienne border, with no phone signal and shared Wi-Fi. In the early days, freelancing for me meant walking to the end of the village to get a phone signal and hopping between libraries, cafes and (due to travelling lots) airport terminals in search of Wi-Fi.

It was challenging, but once you adjust to the idea that you really can work anywhere then everywhere becomes a potential office space.

Five months on and our little French home is not only ours but it’s also fully broadband connected. Getting a new phone line installed was no mean feat and saw us having to dig a trench and do some major tree trimming just to get online.

But now I can finally sit at my desk and work. It may not be everyone’s dream desk… our house still needs quite a lot of work, but from my desk I can look out over our lovely plot of land and hear the birds sing whilst getting to grips with some coding.

Lead Generation, Quotes and Bids

Another change from my former life as an agency developer is that generating leads, quoting and pitching for new work is all down to me. I’ve always worked on bids and proposals, but now all elements of the pitch are my responsibility. I’m really enjoying being across the whole process.

It means I can provide my clients with a detailed proposal that sets out exactly how I can help them. This covers what packages of work I’ll be undertaking, how long the work will take and the cost. I like to do quoting and estimating either at the start or end of the day, before or after any core development work I have on at the time.

WordPress Development, Hosting, Copywriting & Social Media

Most of my working day consists of client project work. From building a new app to supporting a client with social media or finding them a hosting solution for their new website, every day is different. I love providing clients with something new that will improve the way they work, whether that’s a brand new website complete with SEO rich copy or the confidence to run their own social media channels or digital marketing campaign.

I get to know the people I work with and what matters to them, their customers and their colleagues. This means that whatever I’m working on, I’m best placed to deliver what my customers want and ensure that the end product meets their needs.

Exeter, Bristol, Limoges, Angouleme... and Beyond

One of the things I love about my job is how varied my work is – I get to work with businesses and organisations of all different sizes and from different locations. A lot of my work comes from in and around Exeter, Bristol and the south west of England, where I was based for many years. But I’m also really enjoying making local connections in France.

We’re only a short distance from Limoges and Angouleme and within easy reach of the Dordogne, Charente and Haute-Vienne departments and it’s a very thriving and entrepreneurial part of
south west France.

Work / Life Balance in Haute-Vienne

One of the reasons we made the move to France was to change our work life balance. In the UK we spent 90 minutes a day commuting Monday to Friday. We often found we didn’t have the time for things that we enjoyed; like spending time outdoors, home improvements, travel and hobbies.

Since moving to France I’ve managed to make more time for these things. Working from home saves me 7.5 hours a week in commuting (that’s nearly a whole working day!). Coupled with the good weather and lighter evenings means we have a lot more time for working on our house, our very overgrown garden and also pursuing creative hobbies and interests.

Let's Talk About Freelancing...

I love to connect with other freelancers and so if you’re an experienced digital nomad with tips to share on working remotely do let me know. Or perhaps you’re thinking about taking the plunge as a freelancer for the first time and want to know more about what it’s like. Either way you can contact me using the contact form.

Alternatively, if you’re interested in working with me, then please contact me to discuss getting a quote for your project.

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