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So, you want to be a Freelance Developer

Adam Alicki on April 30, 2019

Originally posted on Alright, you’re unhappy with the job prospects, or you’re not being challenged enough at work? Maybe you’re fresh o... [Read Full]
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Great advice. Also, don't let clients walk all over you; because they will. They need you just as bad as you need them.


Absolutely solid advice! I know it'll be hard for a new freelancer to fire a client, especially if times are hard and slow, but once you realize the benefit of working for yourself, you'll understand that you have the power to get rid of extra stress.


There are tons of resources and articles (way better than I could write) on this subject. That being said, I have no secret ability or wisdom on that - I'm on Fiverr, LinkedIn, various Reddit communities, follow various Twitter accounts, etc...

I'm actually weak when it comes to networking but I know it's the foundations and number 1 thing to work on when starting out.


I appreciate the honesty. Thanks for the article!


What do you think about upwork? I thought it's #1 resource for freelance job.

Also #1 source of crappy Jobs. Upwork (and other freelancing platforms) deserves alone a 3k words post. Long story short, you need to be very resiliant to have a Minimum of success there. Also, you compete with agencies with armies of low budget workers, and winning gigs it's a work itself. I often suggest It to my students, because if you really want freelancing, those platforms are a good school.

I agree that there are a lot of crappy jobs there. But what is an alternative service to find a freelance job if you don't have a list of your own clients? I didn't try Fiverr, but I guess the amount of developers jobs is much lower there than on upwork.

Yes, totally agree, that's why I recommend those sites to people Who want to start freelancing, it's a lot less frustrating than going cold door.

Anyway, freelancing is not easy task though, so good or bad, the important thing here is learning, adapt and keep going.

Now answering your question, I think It depends in too many factors. I have Friends Happy with upwork. Others with platforms like react/vue/elixir Jobs and the like. In my case, going cold door working for agencies were my most successful way to get freelance gigs.


You can even find some framework specific websites like "vuejobs"


I agree, those niche sites are a lot better for finding decent Jobs than going mainstream.


I work a one-man-show SAAS project. I agree with Adam. Get it in writing, get paid up front.
I would add: charge retail prices for changes - don't forget to add testing time into the price. Get paid for changes up front. It's extremely important to put the changes in writing with their signatures.
I don't give free trials. Instead, I charge a set-up fee which includes client training.


Make sure the contract states that disagreements will be handled entirely through binding mediation. Mediation is about everyone feeling the pain equally. The alternative is lawyers attempting to win by going to court.


Great article, thanks! Do you use or know any template for make Agreements – Contracts?


That's a good question!

I have one I use that's specific to the types of clients I normally involve myself with, it's fairly specific with the technologies I use and my process. However, I'll see if I can find some more agnostic and broader agreements and let you know what I find :)


Depends on the counry you working with. Usually customer provide some. Read it carefully ;)


Would you consider writing up a guide or tutorial on how to approach a client as someone with little experience? Like what you would say or an example of a proposal.

I signed up on Upwork, but I'm often at a lost at how to approach people in a way that will get their attention or at least have them humor me.


You're in luck! I was in the middle of editing an article when you posed the question, here you go -


I would like to ask you a very different question and it's How to get noticed ? How should I sell myself to be noticed around the freelancing world ?I have built some web projects from games to reporting tools should I represent ? I would like the customers hunt me not the other way around. Or I should let it go and hunt for a freelance job ? If it's a dumb question or a way to work in freelance, I won't offended you can be honest.


something that might surprise you is taxes on freelance work. protect yourself from headache and save every electronic payout you receive.
you don't need to shell out hundreds for a tax service, but also look into upgrading to a premium service of tax programs, like H&R Block or TurboTax. that $40 will most likely save you from hundreds of dollars from Uncle Sam's grubby little paws in weird, ambiguous tax forms that are otherwise hidden from the Average Joe

great blog, well written, and simple! good luck to y'all out there!


Well said, taxes and the ins and outs in the US are a pain, and will have to be dealt with. Figure out how much you've got to take out for taxes when getting paid.


Hi Adam, I really appreciate your article. I am a freelance developer as well as a student. I am currently working on a few projects. But none of them has the paperwork you recommend.
You see, I am naive, I don't know what points to agree upon and how to write a contract and how to get the client sign it. Can you guide on that front as well.
Thanks again for your time and effort.


Great article!

I would like to mention that I wrote an article on my blog to help newcomers/experienced web developers to Build a Personal Brand as a Freelance Web Weveloper to attract more clients, increase their rate and more!


Good article. I have tearful and happy moment while deal with remote projects.


How to become freelance developer? I want to work on Angular 7

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