For the last few years, I have been working on "strategic projects" for my current employer, alongside my main responsibilities. Recently, my employer has terminated the contract we had with this client, citing insufficient resources (my workload became too much).
From what I can tell, it ended on good terms between us and the client. I (the sole software developer on the project) was just on a 1 on 1 call with the client, wrapping everything up and ensuring the handover was smooth and complete. At the end of this meeting, the client told me that they don't want to steal me from my current employer, but if I was ever interested in extra work, or even freelancing, to reach out to them. They subsequently connected with me on LinkedIn so we can stay in contact.
I kindly thanked them for the offer and agreed to stay in contact in case anything changed. That was a few weeks ago, and we haven't spoken since.
I have been seriously unhappy at my job for years. We get treated poorly (aggressive shouting, name-calling, swearing is a daily occurance from managers to employees, historically objects have even been thrown at walls, etc. No pay rises in 6 years, and my salary is the equivalent of an apprentice/junior developer, despite me being the lead developer and unofficial CTO). This job also does not align to my future plans.
I plan on handing in my notice once I get close to finding a different job that more aligns to my plans (moving abroad to my SO), and to get as far away from that place as possible.
Would it be appropriate for me to reach out to the client?
Also, I'm not quite familiar with how freelance contracts work. But I'm expecting to be continuing to build upon the existing infrastructure, as well as maintain the infrastructure and servers should an issue arise or things need updating.
I would also need to discuss working and pay arrangements. I'm only really willing to accept this offer if I'm sufficiently paid (I'm not even sure how to estimate this as I was not included in billing negotiations previously, so I'm unsure what a fair fee is, or how often I am paid, since I'll be a contractor, do I get paid once the entire project is finished, in which case potentially several months down the line, or in more regular intervals, or even at certain milestones). Since this will be my only source of income, I will likely need it fairly regularly (at least once a month).
Whilst I am working here, I will continue to actively look for permanent roles abroad. I feel like I should also make that clear to them? I'm close enough to them that if I'm lucky, they night even have connections I can use that I can look at. I'm confident I can continue working as a contractor in my free-time if I was to find a permanent role, so they won't be suddenly dropped.
Are these all things/concerns that are appropriate for me to discuss with them?