How to Become a Successful Freelance Software Developer?

The freelance market is growing fast. In 2020, there were 59 million freelancers in the United States, up from 53 million in 2014. By 2027, this figure is projected to soar to 86.5 million, representing more than half of the entire American workforce.

And there’s a good chance that these freelancers are going to stay in the freelancer lifestyle. 51% of them say that no monetary offer will bring them back to a traditional job. 

And why would it? Freelancers doing skilled work (programming, marketing, IT, etc) have a median rate of $28 per hour, earning more than 70% of the workforce in America.

There’s no two ways about it: This is the Age of the Freelancer. And if you’d like to throw your hat in the ring and become a successful freelance software developer yourself, we have five tips that can help you get started on the right foot.

1. Quality Matters, Not Quantity

Take a look at any freelance job posting site and prepare to be overwhelmed by the availability of options. Dozens upon dozens of jobs—if only you could take them all! 

However, every job requires a certain set of skills and expertise. You may be tempted to try and spread yourself out over a lot of different skill sets, such as various programming languages, frameworks, and platforms. 

But it’s actually better to be a high-quality expert in a few niches, than going for quantity and being “just OK” at a lot of disciplines. You’ll develop better and stronger relationships with your clients if you provide a lot of value in your field, and you’ll also be more organized and productive overall.

2. Actively Contribute Towards Improving The Customer’s Products

It’s easy to just do as you’re told and create whatever your clients ask for. But an even better way to engage with your clients and increase the value you offer is to contribute your expertise when it comes to making their products better.

If you have any suggestions that can improve their user experience, or if you think that the current task prioritization might be delaying their time to market, then speak up! By showing that you’re invested in the success of the project, you become worth a lot more than any old code monkey.

3. Improve Your Communication Skills

In a traditional software development job, you’d be assigned to a product manager, who provides you with your tasks for each sprint.  However, as a freelance developer, you are your own manager, and you need to be ready to communicate with your clients on a regular basis to clarify and negotiate the tasks you’ll be assigned.

And it’s not just about discussing your development tasks, but also your payment for services rendered, and even getting feedback on your performance. You should also be ready to provide your client with feedback if you feel that you’re not being treated well.

All of these things require communication skills that you might not have needed if you were only talking to your product manager and product team in a traditional job setting.

4. Always Be Looking For New Clients

Because of the noncommittal nature of freelance relationships, clients are going to come and go. As long as you have enough bandwidth to keep working, you should always be looking for new clients to pick up. This will ensure that you have a steady stream of work, avoiding any lulls in your income.

5. Contribute to Open-Source Projects

Every programmer will probably have benefited from open-source software at some point in their career. One way to both give back to the community (and learn new skills in the process) is to contribute to open-source projects. 

Helping out with open-source projects gives you a chance to learn new skills and frameworks. It also teaches you how to collaborate with large, asynchronous teams, because anyone can work on these projects at any time. Finally, it’s just a really great thing to do for the development community!

Start Your Freelance Life The Right Way

The freelancer life is very different from working at a traditional job. You need to be equipped with the right skills and tools to succeed in this brave new era. 

One of the best ways to start your freelance journey is to find a good platform that helps connect you with clients. At Devlynk, we provide you with everything you need for your new freelancer life. 

Our platform allows you to bid on projects with a detailed profile and requirements page, communicate with clients and update them with project status tracking and file sharing tools, and even get paid securely through our platform.

Ready to get started? Create your profile now and start bidding right away!

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