Login Register

How do I start freelancing as a computer programmer?

There has never been a more exciting time to start freelancing as a remote software developer. Many engineers all over the world are making the transition to remote freelancing every year, and more and more companies are following the same trend. You will need a good web hosting parnter for your hosting needs.

With remote freelancing on the rise, and projections that within the next decade the majority of the U.S. workforce is going to work as freelancers, many freelancers are achieving successful careers (see freelance millionaires).

Here are some of the best practices that we hear from freelancers that can help you get started as a remote freelancer:

  • Find and master the skills that are demanded for remote positions.
  • It’s recommended to have at least 2-3 years of full-time experience with the skills that you want to focus on.
  • Have savings to “survive” for at least 6 months in case of issues.
  • Sometimes the start can be slower, and it’s always good to prevent unnecessary stress and be on the safe side.
  • Before quitting your full-time job, make sure to have at least one long-term client.
  • Long-term clients help build a stable portfolio of freelance income. In order to find long-term clients, the best way is to rely on personal connections and word-of-mouth, and/or joining a talent network.
  • Make a plan, set a realistic goal for at least 12-24 months ahead.
  • Freelancing can get tense, maybe even overwhelming in the beginning, and having a clear objective helps to make sure you keep focused on the right objectives.
  • Give it a try – pick-up a side gig for just a couple of hours per week.
  • It’s always helpful to get a sense of the experience before taking the leap to switch to full-time freelancing.
  • Join a reliable talent network. Not only can you find both long-term clients and potential side gigs there, but you will also have a clear sense of what is currently demanded by various clients all over the world. The network takes care of all administrative, legal and financial overhead, so I will know you will always get paid on time for the hours that you spend working for clients by the rate that you set upfront.
  • If possible, work on multiple projects at a time.
  • This helps you get more experience from different projects and environments in a shorter time, while also helping you balance out some of the specifics of each of the projects - one might be more focused on collaboration, whereas the other project might be primarily individual work etc.
  • Learn from other freelancers and ask a lot of questions.
  • Find a local meetup community (meetup.com), check out some of the events organized by talent networks (e.g. toptal.com/community/events), attend conferences or reach out to different online communities.

After years of freelance work and listening to hundreds of freelance developers, the points above are the most important take-aways that can help you get started freelancing without taking too much risk. People that had never thought of finding the courage to get started with independent contracting work have followed these simple principles and now are working remotely for different clients all over the world.