Starting from a developer career has a huge benefit because in programming you learn how to think fast and good. The decision that I confronted with is not singular only for me. Probably you have the same questions, why to become a freelancer developer?
In this article, I present questions, answers and real facts about taking the right decision for you. We’ll discuss preparing yourself as a freelancer developer.
One year ago I started to have real doubts about my desire of going in one or another direction. I wanted to discover what I prefer more and I tried freelancing in a more aggressive way. I tried Upwork, but not too much success on it. After some research, I discovered that I was focused in the wrong way on completing my profile. Then I tried Fiver, which for me it was a success and I got some projects which bring me another. Except for these online techniques, I tried to freelance locally, here in Romania.
Being a full-stack developer helped me to find projects easier and to discover what the freelancing side it’s about. These were not the only experiences for me as a freelancer, in the past working with some local brands.
Getting a response from yourself
After some time I said stop. I want to be more focused on working for things that o believe in that working for money. I don’t believe that in the beginning, you can work only for clients that you like or you trust their brand because you need to live too. Instead, I tried to work on something different. I want to have my own identity and to build my own brand or products.
I understood that working for me makes me happy and this is what I want to do in the future. That feeling to be my own boss, but with my own product. I started with this blog because it’s cool and I really like to help people. It helps me to understand better the people needs and let’s see what it can do in the future. Except this, I tried to contribute for open source and I decided with few friends to start a new project. I have a few other ideas that I need to validate before. Except trying to work on real products, I’m trying constantly to read because I find it very useful, to grow myself learning from others. By the simple fact that you are reading this article, you already working on your own growth.
Why to become a freelancer
There are multiple reasons why you should start and why not. I think the majority of developers and people, in general, are thinking about freedom. But what I want you to know, is that freedom can be understood differently from person to person. Against a similar job, as a freelancer you should take care of everything: marketing, sales, clients, management, so in the end, you can work more than a simple employee.
You can do whatever you want but you need constantly to find clients. So because of this, there can be periods when you don’t have work to do but the bills are still coming. After some time you probably think that you should charge more and that is normal. But I have a question for you? What you’ll do after you get 100-200$ per hour? You still have to work 8 hours a day or maybe more so that freedom is not exactly what you thought about and you still need to work day by day.
Jeff Bezos said “If you don’t find a way to make money when you sleep you’ll be poor until you die” and this makes me ask you how this will bring you freedom.
What to pay attention as a freelancer developer
As a freelancer, you have the freedom so you can do a lot of things on your own. But this is not always a good thing.
Working as a lonely wolf
In most cases, you’ll have to work alone, without a team or another developer who can help you in big crises, strange bugs or just simple code review. This situation can generate slow growth or building the wrong knowledge.
You’re a lonely wolf, but human at the same time so you need a gang. You need to fulfill your social life so for that you need to search for some events or ceremonies, parties, and others just to not hurt your feelings and become angry and sad.
If the project is maintained by a team and you are not alone, would be the ideal scenario. But depends very much if that team is composed of other developers which usually are lonely wolves as well. Because probably they are focused more on finishing the project and getting paid than on quality.
What is the real focus?
I saw a lot of developers who want to become freelancers and a lot who already experienced this. I saw freelancers who thought their focus would be on learning new technologies and cool projects. But some of them gained bad projects and the focus was on delivery and getting paid.
You need to understand what is your focus on because you can be trapped by that freedom that you have to do things that don’t make you happy.
Why you should try?
You must try at least one contract as freelancer developer because that will make you understand how a company works and which are the roles of your company which you don’t understand what are they for. It can help you to have a clear overview of your future career and if freelancing is suitable for you.
For me, this was perfect because I had the opportunity to try on the real world if this is for me. My opinion about being a freelancer developer is that in comparison with being an employee, you have multiple advantages. You are your own boss and you can choose what projects are interesting to you. There is no misunderstanding between the client project manager and you. The pay rate is higher and the workload can be managed according to your personal life. But what I don’t like and is against my future plans, is about working for a client. In the end, is like you have your own business and that is true, but you still need to implement that red color for a button even if you know that’s wrong, you do it because the client is asking you.
I think that being a developer can prepare you for the next level which will be an entrepreneur. As I mentioned previously you need to handle multiple positions as a freelancer which is exactly the right thing for a young entrepreneur. You need to know things that make you valuable for any company because you have the knowledge in many departments, not only development.