Freelance Product Management

We see many developers, UI/UX designers and other more technical IT professionals moving towards freelancing, mostly for the better pays and better work-life balance. However, contracts are mostly on a very limited time (say 3months) after which you’ll have to find another client, and so on. This sounds like resource consuming activity…

The local market for PM is quite small, so the only (obvious) chance to get an increase is to start working as a contractor, remotely. However, we don’t see many freelance PM positions available. A PM job requires ownership of a product, so simply hiring a PM for 3 months contract doesn’t seem like a viable solution.

Just out of curiosity, if there are any PMs over here who work as freelancers:

  1. How did you land you first freelance PM job?

  2. Were there any unexpected advantages or disadvantages of working as a freelancer?

  3. Was it worth it overall?


Heard a bunch of Freelance PMs… Will try to summarize their answers:

  1. Network like hell - helps if you’re a PM who has worked all over town, and already has a bunch of connections to startup founders, CPOs, VPs, etc
  2. Everything heard is that as a freelancer, There’s a tradeoff between quality of work and quantity of work:
  3. If you want to stay busy, you typically have to do a lot of things that aren’t PM work.
  4. If you want to only take interesting work (strategy/vision) you should expect to have a lot of gaps in your work
  5. Everyone feels differently about this.
  6. Freelancing full time (eg; having consistent work) is a grind, especially if you don’t have a long term contract. No health insurance, and you’re perpetually working on your current gig while networking and looking for your next gig. Freelancing also comes with a bunch of challenges - need to have a lawyer on retainer for contracts stuff, constant negotiation, people often pay invoices late, etc - just ‘regular’ small business stuff.
  7. If you are semi-FIRE’d, it can be great - you only pick up interesting work for good clients, work 3-6 months out of the year, maybe rely on your SO for health insurance.

Freelancing and contracting has got significantly worse over the last few years. Now it is far worse than full time on a pay / benefits / tax perspective. And constant hustle to keep work. As you say, you need more than 3 months on a product to do any good. Frankly, 3 months in is the point where you actually understand something about the space and can start making smart decisions.

If you can nail product interviews and move to a relatively chill remote, full time gig at tier 2 or tier 3 company that has globally competitive pay, then you’re going to make a lot more than you make now with basic, bonus, RSUs, and benefits. It’s like engineers - grind leetcode, but instead grind cases and problem solving and frameworks and smash the interview at a good company and ask for a lot of money. If comp is what you’re after, that’s going to be a lot easier than running your own company.

1 Like

What additional benefits can be expected ?
would love to know !

1 Like

Big payjump on first starting, 10% yearly bonus, extra +6% pension contributions, a whole bunch of other benefits, and going from not getting RSUs to getting RSUs.

Basically going from a small locally TC competitive tier 3 / tier 4 style company to a globally TC competitive tier 2 company.

Don’t be obsessed with title; there are people who downgraded from a “head of x” title to a Senior PM title and it paid far more. Title means nothing, money / culture is more important. Pick the companies on Glassdoor and Blind that pay lots and have decent culture score.

This topic was automatically closed 180 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.