This remark applies to two different questions I get a lot.
1/ Yes I do have a Russian name. No I’m not Russian. My great-grandfather was. Sorry folks, but family names don’t mean anything anymore… Just for the sake of information, my family roots extend across almost the whole of Europe (Ukraine and Western Russia included). My dad is jokingly referred to as a “Molotov Cocktail” (part Russian, part Basque). Alright, I used to speak Russian more or less fluently. But don’t assert anything from my last name.
2/ Yes, as a professional developer I’m cheap. OK, a lot cheaper than most. Bordering on the standard rates for outsourcing to the Eastern Europe.
There are two main reasons for that. The first one is that I actually get paid to do stuff I would do anyway for free, if I didn’t need money to pay for my rent. What can I say? I love my job. Geeky? Well, if you want to put it that way, then OK, I’m a geek. The second reason is I have a very special legal status that costs me almost nothing tax-wise. It’s legally sound (as opposed to receiving shareware money without a proper billing system… tsk tsk) and allows me to effectively have the same amount of money in my pocket than my competitors while costing a lot less to the customer. Why should I artificially raise the price to meet the (way too expensive) pricing of others?
That whole pricing thing got me the scorn, or even the outright anger, of a lot of people. I just don’t get it…
I don’t take projects I know I won’t be able to implement. That rules out most of the juicy contracts. Therefore, the ones who want big money have one less competitor. On the other hand, I do take projects that are interesting but have very little money to back up. It’s a niche market, granted, but a fun one.
And if worse comes to worst, I can always raise my prices, whereas lowering them is kind of hard.