Does Freelancing Suck? – Freelance Developers Should Try This Instead
Hey, this is Alexander Vitkin from BusinessMentor.com. Are you a web developer who's looking to potentially start freelancing? And are you discovering if it's even worth it? Like, does it pay more? Is it worth getting into? Is it safe? Is it actually better than getting a job? Well, if you look up this topic on the internet, you're gonna find a lot of conflicting information. In fact, most people are against this. They're like, “Don't freelance… it is baaaaad”.
So in this video, I'm going to give you a balanced view on what it's like actually freelancing. And we're going to figure out if it's worth it, if you can actually make more money with it. And what are some beliefs that people have around freelancing that may or may not be true? Like what is true? And what is not true? And who can you trust when you're researching freelancing? Should it be people who tested it for two months and then failed and tell people “don't try it”? Or should it be people who have succeeded? Because who you listen to, that point of view of that information is going to determine your outcome based on the advice that you want to follow. As such, you should be very careful who you listen to. And I'm gonna do my best.
After 11 years of doing this, and after coaching 700+ people on how to start as a freelancer and web developer and agency owner, I'm going to help you determine what is the right path for you. Before we get started, please click here to subscribe to my youtube channel, and then click on the bell notification icon. And also click on the like button for the¿ algorithm. You know how it is on YouTube. But let's dive right into it right now.
You should approach freelancing with an open mind.
So the first thing I want to tell you about freelancing as a web developer is, there's a lot of skeptics out there. And when people want to start a business, even if it's as a freelancer early on, what you don't want to do is be skeptical. You want to be skeptical about weird promises, and inflated numbers. But you don't want to be skeptical about everything. You want to be open-minded to the opportunities that present themselves out there. I've seen so many people, for example, go on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr. And they say, “Oh, well, everyone's so cheap here, it doesn't work.” Well, I know people will make $50,000-$100,000 per month just from those platforms.
So one person sees this terrible place with too few leads, and no one wants to pay money. Another person has figured out how to use it as a funnel to generate leads, right? I have a lot of videos about this. We don't need to go into detail because there's a few videos at the end of the article on how to do this, how to actually use platforms to get started as a freelancer. As for now, let's talk a little bit more about the different things that you need to do to get started as a freelancer and what are some things to avoid.
Freelance Developers want to build something for themselves.
So who should start anyway? Like, who is this for? Well, freelance web developers, they tend to be people who start for themselves. They tend to be people who want to build something for themselves. They tend to be people who can go out there. And even if they don't know the solution to something, they will still try to find a solution. They'll research it, they'll find a codebase, they go into GitHub, they talk to other developers, they talk to business owners. It’s the same thing for development as it is for business. You're not going to figure out every single thing by yourself, especially because a lot of information is already out there. There's already solutions to business problems.
Most problems come from communication and sales screw-ups.
And when we talk about freelancing as a web developer, most of the problems you will face are communication and business and sales problems. And also marketing problems and hiring problems and other such problems. In short, they are business problems. They're not technical problems, but non-technical problems tend to have similar ways of solving them, compared to technical problems.
There's communities out there. There's solutions out there. Instead of a codebase, there are existing business models out there. So yes, as a freelance web developer, you do not have to reinvent the wheel and figure out everything by yourself. And if you listen to too many haters, it really will affect the results that you get. If you listen to people who tried for two months, and they failed, and they tell you it doesn't work, that's gonna probably be your outcome if you believe them. So I highly encourage you to vet whoever you listen to very carefully and go for the outcome you actually want, based on people who have achieved success with that outcome.
Freelancers want to control their lives
So freelance developers are also people who want to control their own lives. They want to have their own unique way of living their life freely, and their own independence and their own assets in something that they own themselves. They don't want to build just stuff for other people. They want to build something for themselves by helping other people. And this is the way that a business owner thinks.
And a freelance web developer will adopt this way of thinking, along with their technical expertise to become a business owner. And this gives so many opportunities because you'll be able to outsource. You'll be able to build something much bigger. You'll be able to make more money, potentially. So everything is possible, as long as you expand what you know, and get into a new skill set like sales, marketing, and all the other stuff we discussed.
Freelancers are open about to share the workload.
Another thing that freelance web developers and agency owners do is they're not overly attached to doing every part of the technical work themselves. They understand that in bigger companies and small companies people work together. You don't have to sit there and do just technical work. In fact, if you want to really build a business, and not just freelance or sell your time forever, what you'll end up doing is hire people to help you with the lowest level activities first. And then the more difficult level activities like the delivery work and project management and sales later on.
Becoming the best technical expert is not the goal.
They don't want to just be a developer. They want to be a business owner. This is a very common theme that I see. And they understand that they need to work in teams. It's not just “oh, I just want to be the best technical expert in the world.” Because ultimately, probably, you won't be the best technical expert in the world. But you can get close to that. And with your team, with a team, you can be more powerful than any individual.
So, freelance web developers, they're also not afraid of putting in the work. They're not shying away from the actual work. They also have a drive to spend their time as efficiently as possible. Because they understand that that is the number one currency. Whatever clients may pay you, as a developer on an hourly basis or on a project basis, it doesn't really matter if you sacrifice all your time. And there's ways around us.
There's ethical, morally acceptable ways of building a business where you don't have to give away every hour of every day thinking and working on the business nonstop, like 16 hours a day. You don't have to do this.
There are perfectly viable ways of building a business. And trust me, business owners don't really do that. They don't sit there constantly focused on business, 16 hours a day. It will drive you crazy eventually. But a certain amount of hours is okay. We recommend eight to 10 hours a day, five to six days a week, and this is sufficient to build a business. You do not need to kill yourself. This is a marathon, not a sprint
You should learn in the process.
There’s also no such thing as quick money, a quick fix, just some side income, and then you become a business owner. There's no such thing as a quick fix. In short, what you're gonna have to keep doing is the same thing you did to become a developer. You're gonna have to slowly learn a skill while you're implementing. And while you're getting feedback, a feedback loop from the market, from clients, from people that are paying you money. You can do this in months, if you get help. You can also do it in years by yourself, by figuring out every step by yourself. It's up to you how you want to do this. I recommend taking the most efficient route possible.
Freelancing platforms give you access to clients.
So before we get into how much freelance developers can make, and what are the expectations in terms of what the possibilities are in a business, let's talk about leveraging other people's time and platforms. So you could either go out there and try to build a website and try to build everything from scratch, figure out your marketing from scratch, write blog articles, or something like that.
Or you could just go on freelancing platforms where clients already exist, and they want to pay that money. They're ready to go. And you could offer your services for a good fee on the platforms. They've done a lot of the marketing credibility building for you already. So you don't have to start from scratch.
Hire people in order to expand your business.
Furthermore, as soon as you can, you should hire people. You shouldn't just have to do everything yourself, as I mentioned earlier in the video.
So what are some income expectations that freelance web developers could have? For example, if you work as a developer, if you're a web developer, you make, usually on average, below $100,000 per year, if you're from North America. So as a freelance web developer, what you can do is you can charge between $50 and $150 per hour, depending on your skill level. What this means is, maybe you won't work quite as many hours doing the technical work early on. But you'll get paid more on an hourly basis, which means you'll be able to make more money.
Lead Generation and Business Development is mandatory.
However, the real magic happens when you build a team and when you outsource a lot of the work and when other people help you with your business, because then you have more time to spend on lead generation and business development activities, and not just coding and doing other such things. What this means long term is you can scale a system that works to millions of dollars.
Well developed business means more opportunities.
What this means long term as you can have a team all over the world. You can run a business remotely, and you can build a business that supports other businesses, your family and whatever else you want to do like philanthropy, for example, right?
So you don't have to just spend money on Lamborghinis. You can actually help people as well in other ways. As such, I have a bunch of videos ready for you below this article that will help you get started as a freelance web developer. There's videos about lead generation. There’s videos about other stuff.
Also, if you're interested, there's a link below for coaching. If you're interested in getting help from professionals, from agency owners that are making millions of dollars, then you can do this as well. You can apply by clicking here.
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