I have been working freelance now for about 4.5 years. I was still in university when I started (3 years to go for my degree). I've been at it for a while, and am continuing with 3 different companies. I've only ever worked freelance.
I was just contacted again by a recruiter with whom I've spoken for several years as she continuously comes to me with job opportunities in the technologies I use and areas I desire. Every time I have to turn her down because I still have continuing development on these projects (one of which is particularly financially incentivizing). In her email she asked if I had any recommendations for Android/iOS developers, and I realized that I don't have any!
This led me to think about a few more points:
I have no experience working in a "team" environment - the most experience I have is my senior Computer Science project at university, but one could hardly call that real-life experience
I have no experience working in a more typical workplace environment (office-ish) - I exclusively work remotely
I've made essentially 0 connections (aside from one of my best friends who is a developer); that means I have no networking capacity, and basically nobody to vouch for my skills, except that I "get results" - my ability to solve problems, write good code, etc. all comes to fruition via the end product (apps, web sites, etc.)
- While I have a portfolio of products that I've created over the years, only one code base is open-source, and that's because it's a website I developed for my university. So almost all the code I've written can't be shown, and I don't have time for personal projects anymore...
All of these points (and probably more!) make me look extremely un-hirable in my opinion. I can't shake this feeling that my freelance work is going to eventually make it very difficult to find a more permanent position. I have a good track record with my clients and they would happily vouch for me as an employee/developer, but they can't say anything about my technical skills because they are non-technical people (managers).
So the question: is my freelancing 'career' detrimental to my ability to find permanent employment as a software developer?