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Cover image for 2021 is a great time to start freelancing πŸš€

2021 is a great time to start freelancing πŸš€

Julian Krispel-Samsel
Software Engineer specializing in building text editors
・2 min read

DISCLAIMER: This is a little bit of a rant, albeit a positive one. I feel optimistic because this year has brought good things, now that I'm back to freelancing. I want to help others achieve the same successes because I am convinced it should be possible and accessible to others.

Software Engineering is booming πŸ“ˆ and there's never been a better time to start freelancing.

When you are employed by someone, there are always limits, such as:

  • A holiday allowance. Don't tell me your company offers the unlimited variety because there is no such thing even if they say so πŸ˜‰
  • A pay structure. Although these limits are increasing with the demand for software Engineers and are at an all time high - companies will limit how much they pay there employees. It's a necessity to running a business.
  • Your role. As an employee, unless you fill an executive role you will have little influence over the overall direction of the company. Your job will be defined by your role which comes with limits some of which will be spelled out in your onboarding, some will be unspoken and some boundaries will only be apparent when you push on them.

Of course as a company it's good practice to define these boundaries and as an employee it's helpful to have clear boundaries. For the self-employed none of them apply:

  • You can take as much holiday as you please, literally. Flip side is that you only get paid for your deliverables.
  • The price for well written software and good consultancy has no ceiling πŸ’° and therefore your possible annual salary has the potential to be whatever you make it. Think of the highest salary you know and I guarantee there will be someone who makes 2x that salary but spends half the time doing it.
  • As a company of one you have sole discretion over where to take it. I found this can be equally overwhelming and freeing.

Let this sink in. Let your dreams be a driver. The road will be long and hard but you can take my word for it - there is a box of highly valuable unicorn poo πŸ¦„ at the end of the rainbow 🌈. I've seen it with my own eyes and recently I think I may be edging closer.

Finally, freelancing is not for everyone. I hope you feel encouraged to consider it, there is no shame in trying it out and going back to a full-time job if you feel it's too risky or too early in your career (as I did before).

Good luck out there and happy Monday! πŸ™

PS: πŸ“· The cover picture is a lady blackbird from my garden, worm in mouth.

Discussion (18)

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bnrosa_dev profile image
Bn Rosa

Good motivating article. What stops me from starting is mostly client-acquisition strategy. How can I get clients in an efficient and repeatable way?

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jkrsp profile image
Julian Krispel-Samsel Author

Great question! I'm writing a large piece on this, will publish here and on my website jkrsp.com/

Imo the key to client acquisition is being found. There are different ways to "be found" - but the most sustainable one imo is to create content. Write a blog, make youtube videos, make tutorials.

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robole profile image
Rob OLeary • Edited

I am still grappling with this. I think looking for key areas and targeting what you do is important also. What kind of freelancing gigs do you do? I look forward to the follow-up

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jkrsp profile image
Julian Krispel-Samsel Author • Edited

@robole In my experience - the more niche the better. Find a corner of software development that is less occupied than the rest and focus on that. Ideally something that you love doing. For me that's building text editors for the web and it took me a while to get it.

Think of it this way: The more niche your area, the less competition you have, the easier it is for potential clients to find you.

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therutkat profile image
Rutkat

Do you have a content creation strategy? I can suggest creating content and posting it to many industry-related platforms.

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mccurcio profile image
Matt Curcio
  1. I like your second point, "pay structure" argument. I would go one further and spell out what you implied. The purpose of a company is to not only limit pay but reduce it as much as possible, almost insuring that one will not get rich.

  2. As for your fourth point, for well written software and its value, you are correct again. I would say that the job of a company owner is to maximize the profits or determine how much value is being added by the service.

BTW, I love using numbered lists and do not understand why they are not used more in discussion as they are in C.S. ;)

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jkrsp profile image
Julian Krispel-Samsel Author

Great feedback thanks Matt! Much appreciated πŸ™

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tanzimibthesam profile image
Tanzim Ibthesam • Edited

How do I start selling my services on Upwork??

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tfantina profile image
Travis Fantina

As someone who has used Upwork a few times I would advise against it. I just don't find you get that many jobs, there is so much competition from people who are willing to work for almost free. And it seems like the people who get the most jobs are the ones with the most completed jobs/hours already worked on Upwork which puts people who are new to the platform at a huge disadvantage.

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tanzimibthesam profile image
Tanzim Ibthesam • Edited

Well yes there is competition everywhere there are also people making a living. If you just do logo design and drag n drop there will be competition. Anyways i want to gain some real life experience at first if you have suggestions on how to decorate portfolio how to write cover letters do that these things excess competition people workinh for less have existed since decades. Finding direct clients is always not easy. I have even seen jobs for languages like Java .Net

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jkrsp profile image
Julian Krispel-Samsel Author

My advice would be - get a job before you start freelancing. Will follow this up with a post πŸ™

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tanzimibthesam profile image
Tanzim Ibthesam

I absolutely dont get this if you dont have knowledge its fine but why are you even telling to get a job before freelancing? Whats the purpose of your blog?

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jkrsp profile image
Julian Krispel-Samsel Author

What I’m saying is that it’s a lot easier to freelance successfully if you have some experience under your belt. Experience that is best gotten in a safe low risk environment where you can learn from others - A job.

I know this may sound counterintuitive but in my experience - full time employment with a great engineering team is the best foundation you can get for a freelance career.

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tanzimibthesam profile image
Tanzim Ibthesam

Well i dont think so if you have a good job sepcially remote you dont need Freelancing but Freelancing teaches you a lot of things jobs dont. Its all about how skilled you are at the end of the day and a matter of choice.

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jkrsp profile image
Julian Krispel-Samsel Author

Totally agree. Using upwork or similar platforms is imo the opposite of what you want to do if you want to earn more and work less πŸ˜…

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tanzimibthesam profile image
Tanzim Ibthesam

Well its still the best freelancing platform out there and if you want the way you are saying you should do a business rather than Freelancing there are Freelancers who earn from 50 to 100 USD per hour in Upwork.

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jkrsp profile image
Julian Krispel-Samsel Author

I don't know, never done it.

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weltam profile image
Welly Tambunan

great one.

the hard things is maintaining the pace because the flexibility, we might lost our discipline and routine for the people that starting from enterprise culture.

and we should be able to manage our own cash flow so we don't get burn when times get tough. it's really difficult to think when our stomach is empty.