I am a Software Developer in my trial period, which is about to end soon. During my spare time I am creating applications which I want to release, but I am not due to my contract. A new contract will be written as my trial period ends.

I want to tell my boss that I want to create my own company (to protect myself) to release apps and possibly freelance a little (they are not related to my company).

What should I be aware of and how could I tell my boss ?

  • 3
    What should I be aware of? Not getting your contract renewed would be a start. – Kilisi Dec 13 '16 at 7:38
  • Are you sure there's no way to start freelancing while working for your company? Any colleagues who do this? Maybe in your country it's not common, but in mine it is (although bosses don't like it). If there's a way your boss might approve it, you can ask him to change your next contract. But you've to be sure about this, or you won't get a new contract I guess. – Luchadora Dec 13 '16 at 8:11
  • 1
    @luchadora many organisations have non-compete and grabby IP clauses – HorusKol Dec 13 '16 at 9:46
  • will that impact your current employment (time and performance) ? will it break IP clauses ? – Max Dec 13 '16 at 11:39
  • There's a good Joel article addressing intellectual property concerns that your question raises joelonsoftware.com/2016/12/09/developers-side-projects – RJFalconer Dec 13 '16 at 15:58

You should be aware that you'll be negotiating a new contract, with better terms for yourself and nothing in return for your employer. When telling your employer, you should approach it with that in mind, and be aware that they might not like these terms.

Just like asking for a raise, or asking to work from home, or asking for more vacation time, or whatever, you'll need to negotiate with them and explain why they want to agree this. This is easier if you've exceeded their expectations during the trial period and harder if you didn't, as always.

An extra thing to keep in mind is that most companies will expect that at the end of the trial period, they'll extend to you the same contract under the same terms. They might take your request to change the contract immediately after the trial as a red flag for something or other.


I would definitely add the following clauses to your new contract:

  1. My free time is my time. I can code for others so long as there are no competitive issues, or sharing of code that I wrote for you.
  2. Code I write outside of working for you is mine. This is important due to the fact that some companies will add a clause that says, while under contract, all of your code is their intellectual property.

I would say this is pretty common practice and your current contract company should not care about this.


Presumably, your freelance customers are going to use your product(web-site, app, ...) during normal business hours. Your boss and company management are going to need an acceptable answer to this question: What will you do when a external customer reaches out to you during the working day?

Your full-time employer has every right to expect you to work 100% for them during the working day. You should not be taking calls, answering emails or even spending time thinking about your external clients during the work day. You need to make sure that your freelance customers understand this and don't try to reach you when you are at work. If not, this experiment will fail quickly.


I did exactly the same: I started working at a company and on my spare time, I started my own company. My working contract states that I dedicate my working time to my employer and no other activity, that's normal: They don't care about your spare time, they don't want to control it and they can't I think.

However, there are always non competitive agreements that you need to take into account. Normally, you cannot work in the same field as your employer. And cannot work for competitors as you would have industrial secrets and so one.

In my case, I only needed a written authorization from my boss that my activity was not related to my job and that I was allowed to work for my own company as long as it doesn't interfere with my job.

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