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How To Become a Freelance Software Developer

by William Gist

Come on, be honest – how many times have you found yourself in a company of your friends or acquaintances and witnessed someone bragging about being a freelancer? Usually, the sentence “Oh, I work from home (or from wherever I want, basically) gets everyone’s attention.

Everyone wants to know how that person managed to become ‘their own boss’ and embark on a new business phase. And it often happens that each and every other person in the room starts thinking: “God, why can’t I do this?” Beep, mistake – oh, you can! Anyone who wants to improve their business plan and try to make a living in this way nowadays certainly has the opportunity to do so.

And the best thing about this?


It applies to so many different professions – writers, translators, graphic designers, artists, and many others – and among other, software developers, to whom we’ll pay a little bit more attention today.

So, here’s the thing – you’ve just decided that software development is what you want to do and you’re sure you want it to be your vocation. You may already have some knowledge in this area. And you most likely imagine sitting on the patio, under lovely sun rays, with your laptop and a huge cup of coffee and doing your dream job.

It’s true, this is one of the professions that are increasingly priced, and its bright future also reflects in research results that predict experts of this type will be increasingly sought after in the coming decades.

Being a freelance software developer gives you a lot of freedom – you can manage your time and your deadlines according to your possibilities or mood, you can be in your comfy PJs all the time and also do it from anywhere in this world. You’re not tied to an office, you don’t think about being late for a bus…

Ah, so many advantages. But this doesn’t come overnight. To get to this point, there’s a bunch of effort and learning on the way.  Do you want to know how? Here are the basic steps.

Invest in your knowledge


You simply can’t survive in this sphere unless you have sufficient knowledge. A lack of studying, in this case, may be more than visible once you start ‘freelancing’ on platforms or with particular clients. And this… this automatically places you in a position inferior to that of those who have invested enormous effort into their knowledge.

Therefore – start from step one and learn all that’s possible to learn. Whether it will be faculty related to this area, a couple of additional courses, online workshops and lessons, tutorials or any other way of learning… It’s entirely up to you. Do your best to accompany the material, research further and to get more familiar with all that with every day that passes by. If done regularly, not only will the results be present: they will be brilliant and amazing.

Put your knowledge into practice and make your portfolio


Yes, we know that it takes time to learn everything that’s needed. Even when we finish studies or courses, can we say that we know everything with confidence? Of course not. Once you have sufficient theoretical knowledge, you’re ready for the next step towards your freelance career – gaining experience.

It’s one of the indispensable and best ways to determine what we have previously learned from books and courses. Anyone who has at least briefly engaged in this type of work knows that experience and finished projects in practice are essential and need a lot of attention.

What does this mean? Well, to begin with something – do a couple of free-of-charge projects for somebody. Make some profiles on freelancing platforms, find a person who’s seeking software developers, talk to them and explain that you want to gain some experience first. Of course, pay attention – it’s always better to choose somebody who seems reliable, regardless of whether they’re paying or not.

The essential part – always ensure you’re doing the best you can and perform your assignments with punctuality, respect deadlines and communicate nicely with your clients.

Doing some freebies (and doing them good) will show your responsibility and the quality of your actions – and this way not only can you gain the practice you wanted, but you might also get to gain a client! When you do an assignment, make sure you always get feedback from your clients or people for whom you did it.

Try recollecting some sort of testimonials that you can post on your website or social media later. A great example of a professionally made website is of a custom software development company VironIT – everything is there: their previous works, technologies they’re using, all available services and many interesting sections.

And, of course, have all your projects recollected at one place and work on making your very own portfolio. That collection of your successfully finished tasks will be your key to further progress.

Create your own blog or website and social media profiles


Here we are, speaking about your big outbreak. If you aren’t entirely satisfied with working only on platforms, but you think you’re ready and knowledgeable for this step – make your own website and start looking for specific, long-term clients like that. Sure, you can always keep working on platforms as well, but this can be your ticket to some more serious business offers.

This online place will be a perfect collection of your pieces of portfolio, those above-mentioned testimonials, praises or feedback. Things you do depict who you are – so make sure you do everything flawlessly before you start boasting of it publicly.

You also know that nowadays nothing happens if it isn’t memorized by Facebook, Instagram or any other social network. Therefore, don’t hesitate to make your own fan pages, groups or profiles on each and every social media platform you need would be useful for this purpose. This way, it will be easier for your potential clients to reach you, ask some questions and decide if they want to hire you.

Set the prices for your services


So, how to do this? You’ve never set any rates, how are you supposed to know how much you should charge your clients? No worries, it’s not so difficult. And nobody knew how to do it right away either.

First of all, you need to make sure that the money you take for your services is commensurate with your level of expertise. No employer, or rarely anyone (and probably only if something is really urgent to him) will want to pay a high sum of money if the result doesn’t seem good enough. Or if they see some average or bad marks on your profiles. Therefore, do your best so that, if you’re already setting prices that aren’t small, at least you have ‘the background’ for something like that.

If you aren’t really sure what rate is the best and the most convenient, it’s okay. In such cases it’s not a bad idea to contact some experienced software developers and ask them for a piece of advice regarding this matter. You can probably find them on various forums, Facebook groups and social media in general. They’ll evaluate the quality of your work, the type of the project, and suggest the price you should consider.

While many people still think that software development is reserved only for “computer geniuses”, the real situation shows that this profession is also accessible to those who have no prior knowledge in this sphere.

As we said at the very beginning – everyone has the chance to make it work and become one of the proud freelancers that will tell compelling stories about their jobs at the next big gathering. One thing to keep in mind is that it requires a lot of attention, effort and compromise to turn into a profitable business and a great working future.