The number of freelance jobs for programmers has increased dramatically in the last few years. Especially with the increased popularity of remote jobs, freelance programming jobs have a huge potential. The rise of the IT industry has increased the demand for software developers and, subsequently, the market for freelancer software developer jobs. If you want to start freelancing as a software developer, you have landed on the right article.
How is Freelancing different from a Full-Time Job?
Freelancing is quite different from traditional full-time jobs. A freelancer is more like a business owner than an employee. The most significant advantage of being a full-time employee is job security. On the other hand, the most significant advantage of freelancing is freedom of choice. Freelancers have the option to work for any company, the choice to do any kind of work, and the ability to work whenever they want.
While working as a full-time employee, self-discipline becomes a part of your daily routine. As a freelancer, it becomes your duty to have self-discipline. A freelance software developer should be good at software development and communicating with potential clients, marketing himself, time management, and customer search.
Both freelancing and full-time jobs have their pros and cons. However, being a freelancer is more or less the same as being a business owner.
Should you Leave your Full-Time Job to Pursue Freelancing?
If you already have a full-time job, you might have doubts about whether you should leave your current job to pursue freelancing or not. If you do not leave your job, would you be able to succeed as a freelancer?
Leaving your current job can be risky because you would lose the current source of your income. If you are unhappy with your present job, you might feel tempted to leave it and pursue full-time freelancing. However, before deciding to quit your job, you should consider some factors:
1. Are you Experienced in your field?
If the answer is no, you probably should not leave the job. It can be challenging for freshers to find freelancing gigs because clients trust experienced professionals more than they trust freshers. Additionally, compared to freshers, experienced professionals usually make more money per gig. This is so because experienced people (usually) make few errors, deliver high-quality products, and finish the job under the deadline.
2. Do you have a Network of Clients?
If you have a network of clients in your current job, it can become easy for you to leave your job. If some of your clients are ready to work with you independently, you can consider leaving your job because these clients will provide you with some financial stability once you leave your job. Furthermore, your clients may even refer you to some of their collogues, which may help you land more gigs.
3. Do you have an Emergency Fund?
Although it is not mandatory to have an emergency fund, having one helps. An emergency fund gives you a surety that you can sustain yourself even if you do not find a gig for some time or if you do not get paid on time. A rule of thumb is that you should have an emergency fund that can cover your essential expenses at least for the next six months.
How to Become a Freelance Software Developer?
There are plenty of freelance gigs (jobs) available in the market. It is up to the freelancer to find and land these gigs.
To land freelance gigs, you need to follow these points:
1. Master your Skillsets
2. Find your Niche
As a software developer, you have a variety of options to work on. You can work on app development, web development, cybersecurity, data analytics, etc. When you get started as a freelancer, it would be more beneficial for you to select one field and build your portfolio in that field. Clients prefer freelancers who are experts in distinct areas. Once you have established yourself as a freelancer, you can expand your domains of interest to get more clients.
3. Work on your Communication Skills
Like it or not, being excellent at technical skills is not enough to become a successful freelancer. As a freelancer, you must sell yourself to clients in order to attain their attention. Being a good communicator will also help avoid misunderstandings between you and your clients.
4. Create a Portfolio
In order to sell your services to potential clients, you need to show them what you can do and what you have done in the past. Your portfolio can showcase your educational background, certifications, work experience, testimonials from your existing clients, and other things that elevate your work and knowledge. In an online portfolio, you can add links to your relevant social media profiles to make it easy for your clients to contact you.
5. Develop a Work Schedule
As a freelancer, the freedom of working at any time of your choice is a benefit that can quickly become a drawback. If you do not have a work ethic, it is highly likely that you will fall into the trap of procrastination. Setting up a work schedule is essential because it helps you complete your projects on time, which in turn helps you to earn more.
6. Create your Brand
Marketing your work and creating your brand is one of the best methods to attract clients. You need to develop your presence online. If you want potential clients to notice you, you need to be active on social networking sites like LinkedIn and Twitter. You can even create a portfolio website (especially if you are a web developer) to display your portfolio. It would be best for your career if you made sure that when a potential client searches for “freelance software developers” online, your name comes up in the top search results.
7. Never Stop Learning
Every day new technologies are being developed that have the potential to make the present tech obsolete. As a software developer, you should keep upskilling to stay in touch with market trends. Not only that, you should also find ways to improve your marketing and grow your business even more.
How to get Clients as a New Freelancer
Finding new clients is the most challenging job for any freelancer. As a freelancer, you should be comfortable with the fact that most clients you approach will reject your offerings and services for one reason or the other. Especially if you are inexperienced in freelancing, accepting rejection and moving on is the best skill you can have.
Follow the points given below to find new clients as a freelancer:
1. Social Media
Many people underestimate the potential of social media. Social media gives you the opportunity to expand your network. LinkedIn is the best platform to connect with professionals. If used correctly, Twitter and Instagram also offer a great potential to connect with new people and get new clients.
LinkedIn is one of the biggest assets for freelance software developers and people (or companies) who are looking to hire (freelance) software developers. Therefore a bright portfolio on LinkedIn is a must-have today. On LinkedIn, you should connect with different freelancers in the same industry and try to understand what works for them and what does not. Multiple companies use LinkedIn’s Jobs portal and even LinkedIn posts to hire freelance software developers. Therefore, you should stay active on LinkedIn and keep your profile updated. You can even read posts written by different freelancers in order to learn from their journeys.
2. Cold Emailing
Cold Emailing is an underrated freelancing skill. However, what is a cold email? A cold email is an email sent to a person without prior contact in order to gain something. This gain could be anything from a favour to a business deal. Cold emails are different from sales emails. Cold emails are targeted to a few people and usually are personalized for each recipient.
Being successful at cold emailing is difficult, and most people are bad at writing cold emails. However, mastering this skill will help you clinch new clients with ease. While sending a cold email, you should write a catchy subject line so the recipient gets tempted to open the email. The email should highlight the benefits the recipient would get if they hired you. You should always send personalized emails to each recipient in order to show them that you are dedicated and willing to put in extra effort for them.
You can send cold emails to anyone whom you think needs software developers. These people could be YouTubers, Instagram influencers, founders (or team leads) in tech start-ups, etc. Websites like hunter.io and LinkedIn can help you find the email addresses of these people.
3. Use Freelancing Websites
Freelancing websites act as a marketplace to connect freelancers and clients. Clients (or companies) publish their project needs and their budget on these websites, and the freelancers bid to get these projects. The clients get to choose the freelancer they want to hire from the pool of freelancers who bid on the project. Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr are some of the popularly used freelancing websites.
Most freelancing websites charge the freelancers some fee to use their platform. This fee could be a monthly/annual fee or even a commission on the projects you get using these websites. You should read the fee and commission policies before you sign up on these websites. Additionally, the clients on these websites usually prefer experienced freelancers over new ones. Therefore, it is important for you to be patient when you sign up on these websites.
4. Use CrunchBase and Angel List
CrunchBase and Angel List are the leading websites that will provide you with information on new start-ups. New start-ups are looking for software developers more often than not. You can use these websites to get information about new start-ups and the names of their founders. Then, you can use LinkedIn or Twitter to find these founders and pitch them. You can use your cold emailing skills to land these clients.
If you want freelance software developer jobs, and want to upskill yourself to stand out of the crowd, do check out Board Infinity’s Software Development Course where you will get video lectures, one on one guidance from top-notch software engineers working in your dream company, and a certification.