Recently I’ve encountered the term full-stack freelancer through an article by Tiago Forte on his Praxis blog. I had heard of full-stack developers, but I never heard that term before, so I was intrigued. Tiago defines such a person as someone who has a broad portfolio of different projects and receives multiple income streams that come through varied activities. It’s the opposite of a freelance expert who specializes in a single offering in a specific niche.
I don’t want to go in-depth at the moment regarding the entire concept, but I’d like to highlight one of his thoughts that was a proverbial lightbulb moment for me. After thinking about it, I realized it’s obvious, though I can’t remember someone explicitly stating this thought.
The idea is that certain activities are impossible to focus on as a full-time position or have greatly diminishing returns, but doing them in moderation can be extremely beneficial.
For me, paid guest posts are one such activity. I’ve done quite a few in the past. They have provided me exposure, some money, and the ability to learn a lot, which I could then apply to other gigs, such as software development projects. I mentioned this briefly in my post yesterday about the motivation to write more. However, I could never be a full-time blogger because I would soon run out of ideas and lucrative opportunities to write. It’s valuable to do this infrequently, though.
Tiago mentions other things that he does once in a while, such as coaching and consulting, which are part of his varied portfolio.
For me, this ties into the discussion between generalists and specialists and the hybrid variant, the T-shaped skills. It also adds to the idea of a gig economy as the future of work. Different projects could allow a person to focus on the middle of the T while having occasional contracts that help with the ends of the T, with every client benefitting as a result.