Over the past couple of years, the freelancing trend has picked pace in India. While the US is home to a massive number of freelance professionals from different domains, India is second in the list. According to a report, Truelancer (a platform with 200,000 users — out of which 65% are Indian) estimates that the nation has about 15 million freelancers in India, next only to 53 million in the US.
Software development is also witnessing a massive rise in freelancing jobs. Not only freshers and beginners, but experienced professionals and full-time developers are also making a switch to freelancing gigs.
But why would someone leave their secure 9-5 job and join an industry where your work timings are not fixed, the pay is not fixed, it might even take more than 9 hours to get the job done?
In this article, we are going to see why full-time developers are making a switch to freelancing:
Pros of becoming a freelance developer
Compared to full-time developers, freelancers definitely have a lot more benefits such as:
- Being able to choose which jobs you want to accept — you can pass a job that doesn’t pay you well or doesn’t excite you
- Work flexibility
- Developers can set their work timings
- Ability to shape work around your lifestyle
- Potential to earn more than a full-time developer
- Give your freelancing gig a different direction
- Freedom to choose your own set of tools and platforms
Cons of becoming a freelance developer
While freelance developers have some significant pros compared to salaried developers, that doesn’t mean they don’t have any cons. There are more challenges when it comes to becoming a freelance developer-
- No fixed salary
- Delay in payment
- Not easy to get good gigs
- Takes time to build a reputation in the industry
When we talk about freelancing, there are two kinds — people who take up freelancing projects while being on a 9-5 and people who are into full-time freelancing. While working as a freelancer, having a day job might sometimes be hectic as it gets difficult to manage the time, full-time freelancers seem to be earning more and expanding their clientele.
Here is how you can become a freelance developer:
Do Not Quit Your Job Right Away
This is the first and foremost thing to keep in mind when you set out to start your freelancing journey. Even though you have decided to go all out and start taking up freelancing projects, it would still a bad idea to have a notion of quitting your job. Even if you are exceptionally good at what you do, it would still take some to develop a stable client base and get the pace that would keep the cash flowing for you. It is advised that you can keep your job and also work on your freelancing gig. That way you would have a source to pay your bills.
Focus On A Niche
The industry today is looking for specialist rather than generalist, and if you are a generalist developer who takes on all programming assignments from different industries, then you would end up seeing results in a low rate. While on the other hand developers with a strong hand on a particular work would be able to set higher rates because of the value s/he would deliver compared to a generalist developer.
If you are good at developing chatbots than master that niche and try to get jobs on that same sector, if you are good at developing iOS apps, that pick that as your niche — just make sure you take one single path.
Know Where Your Clients Hangout
The best way to find out the needs of your potential clients is to leverage online platforms where most of the discussion about your niche happens. Be it Reddit or LinkedIn, make sure you are a part of the community that is looking to get their problems solved. To land your freelance developing gigs, you have to first build trust. Join forums and discussion platforms where you can answer queries.
Word to the wise: Just because you want to get attention in the crowd, don’t provide solutions that are half-baked. Make sure your solutions and answers are full of details and actually help the person.
Master Your Skills
Being a developer, you have to have a strong knowledge of everything you do. And it’s not always about the framework or the language you work with. There are certain technologies that need more time to learn and master; therefore, make sure that you spend enough time learning about them. And one of the best ways of learning is by doing it. Collaborate with developers that are working on projects that are trending and can also be viewed by other people. While doing so, you would not only learn but also gain that much-anticipated attention.
Set Your Monetary Compensation Accordingly
When you work as a freelance developer, you have to pay for all the services, tools and platforms you need. Therefore, when you set rates for your projects, make sure you count your expenses as well. Sometimes it even helps the client understand that you work with some of the premium tools and platforms, which is a sign that you are professional enough to take work seriously.
Go Offline. Try Word Of Mouth
There are times when your clients would like to meet you in person and then see whether they would like to give you the project. This is one of the best ways to leave an impact on the client. You can explain things better compared to online communication, and also present some of your latest projects with a demo.
Be In Touch With All The Previous Clients
It is always considered to be a great practice to be in touch with each and every client you have worked with. Why? If in case they face any issue regarding the project, you can always help them solving it just like any company’s support team. This practice helps you build trust with your clients helping you land more projects in the future.
Once you get a proper hold of the freelancing work, you can quit your job and work as a freelance developer. Despite all the benefits, freelancing is not something really easy, you need to put in the same amount of effort you put in your day job — sometimes even more than that. But, if done strategically, freelancing can even turn into a full-fledged, comfortable and lucrative business.