Software development is one of the most lucrative and profitable industries today, which also makes it one of the most in-demand skills top companies are always on the lookout for.
If you work as a software developer for a top multimedia company, chances are you’re earning a pretty handsome paycheck compared to other skill sets.
As promising as this may sound, you’d be surprised to know that there’s still room for a much bigger salary and you can achieve this by going freelance.
Yes, you heard that right.
As a freelance software developer, you can earn twice as much as you would working for a company which is why it makes perfect sense why a lot of software developers are looking to make the transition.
If you are one of them, you know very well that making the jump is not as easy as it looks. If you want to be a successful freelance software developer, you need to make the necessary preparations.
Just like any other huge endeavor, getting into freelance software development isn’t a transition you make overnight.
You’d want to be as ready as you possibly can so you can attract more clients given the stiff competition you’ll face.
That being said, here are some of the steps you’d want to take if you want to stand out.
We all know that when it comes to job applications, first impressions always last and the best way to make one is by building an online portfolio.
This is a no-brainer considering what potential clients are looking for. They’re not just looking for impressive credentials, but they’re looking for someone who can really deliver. Someone who can do the job and exceed expectations.
There’s no better way to convince them that than through an online portfolio.
Try not to bombard them with flashy graphics though. A simple design should be enough as long as they have anything they need. Include screenshots of some of the most important projects you worked on along with a detailed description of the project itself.
Now, this may sound a bit off but working for free is a really good tactic especially for someone relatively new to the industry.
With no projects and reputation to back you up, you’d want to start building one for yourself, won’t you?
By working for free, you’re not just building a reputation but you’ll also gain some much-needed experience, something potential clients value a lot. It will also help you put something in that online portfolio so you can showcase your abilities through the projects you worked on.
If you’ve been around the industry for quite some time, this strategy may not be applicable but if you’re just starting out, this is definitely a must-do especially if you haven’t worked on a lot of projects yet.
There’s no better way to build trust with potential clients than showing them what previous ones have to say about you and the quality of your work.
Let’s be honest, people are more likely to get hired through recommendations over job postings. By flaunting these testimonials you got from past clients, you’re giving your reputation that much-needed boost.
Testimonials are crucial when it comes to landing clients so make sure to always ask for one every time you complete a project so you can use them later.
Whether it’s online or offline, marketing will always play a crucial part when trying to land potential clients. People won’t know you exist if you don’t go out of your way to make your presence felt.
Blogging could be an effective tool in marketing your skills. By writing blogs about your area of expertise, you’re not just showing potential clients how good you are but you’re also establishing your online presence.
Speaking of online presence, make sure to also market yourself on social media. Take part in online discussions relevant to your expertise.
By doing these steps, you’ll be able to slowly establish yourself as an authority or expert in your field, giving clients more reasons to hire you over your competitors.
Like any other profession, the salary or rate of a software developer depends on many factors. It depends on skills, experience, and location among others.
In the United States, the average pay for a freelance software developer is around $113,499 per year ($55 per hour) according to the job search website Ziprecruiter. This is relatively higher compared to a software developer employed by a company whose median average is around $95,628 a year per job search website Glassdoor.
As mentioned, these figures are more of general averages and may vary depending on your location. If you’re a freelancer living in the US, the rates will more likely fall within the range mentioned.
If you’re located somewhere in Asia like the Philippines or India, the rates are expected to be lower just like how it is with other freelance jobs.
Once you’ve got your portfolio all set up and you’ve garnered the much-needed experience, the next step is to start looking for paying clients.
The good news is there are lots of ways to do this, the best choice all goes down to personal preference.
Just like regular jobs, the fastest and easiest way to find clients is via referral. While anyone can always refer you to a potential client, the best referrals come from previous clients you’ve worked with.
This is because it easily establishes trust and it will give the new client an immediate impression of just how reliable and trustworthy you are for a past client to refer you to someone else.
While such a scenario is ideal, it will only happen if the quality of your work speaks for itself which is why it’s essential to always deliver (if not over-deliver) on any project you accept.
There’s no greater marketing than a happy client. You wouldn’t recommend someone to a friend if you knew they weren’t capable or you don’t trust them enough, wouldn’t you?
Social media has gone a long way. Gone are the days when we used it for socializing because it has evolved into this huge marketing juggernaut that almost everyone on earth is using.
Though it’s quite similar to word-of-mouth, what makes it different is the number of people you can reach with just a single post.
If you’re looking for clients, all you have to do is tell everyone that you’re looking for opportunities by posting about them. As soon as your friends and followers see it (it’s unlikely they won’t since most people are on social media a majority of the time), they can help spread the word by sharing your post on their respective walls.
While Facebook is considered the biggest among social media platforms, having a LinkedIn presence is much more ideal because that’s where potential clients usually look for prospects.
By updating your resume, connecting with people, and writing articles on LinkedIn, people who are looking for software developers will start finding you.
As a freelance software developer, the best place to find clients would have to be through freelancing platforms.
The good news is there are plenty of freelance marketplaces to choose from and all you have to do is sign up and create a profile.
What’s good about going this route is that these platforms already have a huge and established client base. If any of these clients are looking for freelance software developers, these projects will be posted so you can throw your pitch and apply for that opportunity.
There are also freelance platforms that do the pre-vetted approach which means they already filter candidates according to skills and experience. Should an opportunity come up and your credentials match what the client is looking for, you’ll be referred to the client for an interview.
Different platforms have different approaches but what’s good about being part of it is that it makes the client-finding process one step easier. You don’t have to look for clients because these marketplaces already have them.
Becoming a freelance software developer is a smart decision considering the perks you’re bound to enjoy. By being your own boss and having control of your time and schedule, you’ll be able to spend more time on yourself and with your family while enjoying higher pay than you would as an employee.
Making this all happen is easier said than done though. If you want to ensure success by going freelance, the steps provided should help get you started and ready so you can find more clients and projects to work on.
Always keep in mind that when it comes to freelancing, having the skills and experience is definitely a plus but establishing your reputation and putting yourself in a position where clients can easily find you will make a world of difference.
Want more tips on setting yourself up for a successful freelance career? Check out our blog post on personal branding.
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