WWD Reader Profile: Nick Ohrn, Freelance Software Developer

WebWorkerDaily readers are a diverse bunch. Every week, I profile a different reader and ask them to share what they do, how they do it, and some of their favorite hints and tips.

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Nick Ohrn and I’m a freelance software developer. I mostly work on websites, primarily with WordPress (editor’s note: please see disclosure at the bottom). I’ve been freelance full-time since graduating from college two years ago and have had the opportunity to work on some awesome projects with great people.

I live in Seattle with my fiancee Angela (who is also my business partner).

What is a typical day like for you?

A typical day consists of getting up and heading to the gym for a grueling workout. After that, I hit the bricks by checking email and my project management system. Every day I generate a list of things that absolutely must get done (with a 3-item limit) and then I hit them out. The nice to-do items always come last.

I’m on instant messenger throughout the day across a variety of protocols and generally have one or two short status calls a day. After work is done, I usually go for a run or hit the stadium stairs at the local field.

What gear and software do you use, and why?

I have two computers on my desk at any one time. The first is my custom-built PC running Windows 7 (s msft). It is a powerhouse, sporting 16GB of RAM, an Intel (s intc) n920 processor, and dual 24″ monitors. I use my PC for all development work. The most important software it runs is Aptana Studio, Visual Studio 2010 and Firefox with the Firebug development tool.

I also have a 13″ Macbook Pro (s aapl)  that I use for email, IM and writing. I use Apple Mail to handle my multiple mail accounts and prefer TextMate for writing (always in Textile). By using each computer for a single purpose — the PC for development work and the Mac for communication — I make sure I’m always concentrating on a single thing at a time.

Most of the software I use to run my business is web-based:

  • Basecamp. Great project management software that is simple for my clients to use and great for me to provide a record of everything that goes on in a project.
  • Highrise. The best way to keep track of email correspondence and contacts. It has saved my butt on multiple occasions when I’ve needed to find out who said what and when.
  • Springloops. Hosted SVN (soon to add Git) and deployment software. All my client repositories are hosted with Springloops.
  • Harvest. The best time tracking and invoicing application on the web. I’ve been using it for over two years and I love it to death.

What’s your favorite web working tip?

You need to know what you’re going to do on any single day and then just get it done. I pick three things that need to be accomplished and accomplish them before doing anything else. Sometimes you’re done by noon, sometimes it takes until 7PM, but knowing what you’re going to be doing certainly lowers the stress level running your own business.

Disclosure: Automattic, maker of WordPress.com, is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.

If you would like to be profiled on WWD, get in touch with me at simon (at) gigaom (dot) com.

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