Becoming a Freelance Software Developer – The Truth
Are you currently employed as a software developer, and are thinking about becoming a freelance software developer?
Some of the best freelance software developers can make between $100 to $300 per hour!
This post is all about what it’s like being a freelance software developer; how to get started, how to fill your day, and how freelancing can give you more freedom in your life.
Is Freelancing for Me?
There are advantages and disadvantages to both being employed full time by a company and freelancing. The main advantage of having a job is the security that comes with it. Sometimes you can stay in one job for 1 to 3 years before moving on, whereas freelancers might only get contracts for 1 to 3 months at a time. The main disadvantage of having a full-time job is that you have less freedom of choice about where and how you work.
The main advantage of being a freelance software developer is that you can grow your own business and scale it up to take on multiple clients and make more money. You will have the freedom to choose where you work, which clients you work with, and how much you can charge clients. The downside is less job security and you need to learn to sell and learn project management skills.
How to Scale Your Freelancing Business
1. Learn how to sell
You need to be able to sell your services to clients, for some people this can be quite uncomfortable but like any other skill, it can be learned.
2. Outsource some of the work
You can do all the coding yourself or you can hire other freelance software developers to help you with the work required to carry out each project. This allows you to scale your business and take on more clients. If you scale your business, you can go from earning $75 per hour to $1000 per hour by leveraging the time of other developers.
3. Set up an Agency
You can scale your business even more by setting up an agency whereby you focus on the sales and client management side of the business and hire freelancers to do 90%+ of the actual coding work. You need to learn how to sell to clients and communicate well with your freelancer developers.
4. Avoid Cheap Projects
You should avoid going for lower-paid projects, focus on signing up clients that value quality and are prepared to pay for it. They will be much better clients in the long run.
5. Use Upwork to Find Clients
The number one way to find good clients is to use Upwork. There are tens of thousands of monthly job postings. Target the best clients that match your set of skills (and the skills of your freelancer partners) and send them proposals to get them onto sales calls.
6. Work More Productively
Instead of working all day coding, dedicate at least a couple of hours a day to learn new skills (e.g. – sales and marketing skills). If you set up an agency you will need to dedicate even less time to coding and more to generating leads and interviewing new team members.
The Bottom Line
Working as a freelance software developer over being employed by a company comes with both advantages and disadvantages. It comes down to how much risk you are prepared to take, and if you are prepared to learn new skills.
If you want to scale your freelancing business and turn it into an online agency, you need to learn how to sell and communicate well with clients and partners. The better you can sell, the more clients you will get and the quicker your business will scale.
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