We read about Freelance Software developers who pretend to get up in the morning and make thousands of dollars while working from a home office in their boxers on the internet. The harsh reality is that this is valid to some people, but these are the unicorns. There’s more exceeding to this story than meets the eye.
There’s one side of the story that glorified web stories want to sell you, that becoming a Freelance Software Developer is the most incredible fantasy, and another side full of harsh truths and facts that you’ll quickly learn about from experience. I’ve tried my hand at becoming a Freelance Software Developer and had some success. Certain limits were the only thing that kept Freelance Software Developer from going all-in for the time being.
Freelance Software Developer
It’s Important to Consider Your Location
It’s essential to consider your place as a freelance software developer. What I mean is that whether you’re performing face-to-face gigs, the area you live, or the atmosphere you serve in has a direct impact on how good you’ll be in the short-to-long term. No matter how amazing you are, not every customer would want to partner with you. There will be times where you are passed over for a job because you do not fit into a client’s appropriate range.
In the freelance world, stereotyping and ethnic profiling is widespread. The silver lining is that your reaction is entirely up to you. It is important to have thick skin. You would not be able to live without one. This is not a game for the easily emotional triggered; instead, it is a game for the patient and emotionally sober.
Nightmare on a Freelance Site
For the uninitiated, the notorious freelance websites are among the locations that most of us start, or at least visit, to widen our horizons. When you’re just getting started, Freelance platforms are ideal. By acceptable, I mean that the platform’s goal is admirable. But what’s not so cool is what they’ve turned into in the end: low-cost work camps for outsourcing.
Upwork and other freelance platforms falsely inflate your worth. They’re inundated with low-cost clients and labor. This isn’t entirely the responsibility of the customer. C-level engineers are also responsible for making software creation seem as simple as baking bread. As a result, these platforms’ rivalry usually is about who can get the lowest labor price with the quickest shipping time. If you don’t have a good reputation and a steady stream of loyal customers, you’ll end up spending a lot of time doing business that seems straightforward at first but quickly becomes complicated due to the essence of how things work.
Any customers are still able to squeak in additional work that wasn’t part of the initial negotiations. Very positively, you’ll be compelled to do so because you’re desperate to boost your star scores to gain more brownie points and land better-paying jobs.
It’s Difficult to Talk About Money
This is something you’d have to get used to immediately. If you choose not to speak and are content to sit in a quiet office or cubicle with a backlog of work waiting for you to complete, like on an assembly line, you have no business doing freelance work. Money is the most complicated issue to discuss, and it can make or break a contract. As a result, it’s usually wise to have this kind of dialogue early on to avoid being sucked into a rabbit pit of criteria review and never closing the deal.
Time is a valuable commodity. Per-minute lost or squandered may be used to close another contract. Your negotiating pitching skills, development skills, previous success (such as getting a decent backlogged portfolio), and a whole lot of luck will all play a role in how the discussion goes.
It Can Be Difficult To Get Paid
You’ve now completed the negotiating process hoping you got the contract and the price is fair. You’re both excited about the prospect of collaborating. I have some personal recommendations for you: You may not yet be out of the sea. Humans can be fickle depending on where you operate and perform your freelance jobs. This isn’t necessarily the case, so while you’re freelancing on a national scale, you have to cover a lot of ground than if you’re working with friends. Demand a down payment of at least 20% to 50% of the purchase price.
By requiring upfront payment, time-wasters would be weeded out early on. Managing reach becomes critical, and identifying all expectations in advance is vital. If your customer is stubborn about not paying you in advance, he or she may want to benefit from the job and use the proceeds to pay you.
If that’s the case, think about doing regular or hourly jobs with smaller, more irregular fees. The rigid reality is that not everyone is trustworthy, and when you work freelance, some people can mistake you for a pushover. It’s important to have contracts in place. If you do business in person, online, or via freelance work websites, proper invoicing is essential.
Keeping Scope Creep at Bay
Scope creep is the mother of all horrors, and it can be a total nightmare in terms of time spent, which translates to money for both you and the customer. Because of software development complexities, it can be challenging to predict how long such functionality would implement. It can be much more difficult for the user to express what they want visually.
Yes, there are several resources available, but that isn’t the point of this article. It’s in the form of software development the scope creeps to some extent. The harsh reality is that you will end up doing unpaid jobs if you don’t do this one thing. Free labor isn’t terrible when you’re already being paid. So, how much is a bonus feature worth?
It may imply a resumption of business. As a result, give this a lot of thought. When in question about scope creep, take the current pace and multiply it by two. Undercharging is a risky thing to do. Finding a happy medium is beneficial and can improve your perceived worth. If the rate is too high, you risk losing the job. Finding the right mix is a skill in and of itself.
The $5 Work Rabbit Hole
If you’ve spent some time browsing for online freelance jobs, you’ve probably found that there’s no lack of $5 gigs, such as those offered by Fiverr. There is a demand for $5 jobs, but I don’t believe that building a full-stack app with database work and payment processing is worth $5.
The harsh truth is that you should not get desperate and sink through this $5 work loop. It’s just a volume game for the c-grade developers — $5 x 1,000 work — so consistency suffers as a result. The ultimate aim should be to form long-term relationships. Yes, low-paying jobs may be a turning stone, but there are other ways to build a legacy, such as contributing to open-source projects or starting your own. For small and big businesses, look for a long-term deal.
It’s Not a Good Idea to Go It Alone
When you’re first starting, working freelance in a silo can succeed, but it doesn’t scale well in the long run. It’s impossible to be excellent at all. Developing high-quality software necessitates a wide range of skills and a significant time commitment that you do not have.
Furthermore, when time is short, and competition is fierce, maintaining adequate response times and providing input on different problems while continuing to churn work can become a challenge. In my humble view, the magic number is two at some stage.
Having a trusted friend or business partner will help you scale and get better data while breaking the load and the check.
It happens to most of us, though freelancing’s isolated essence will make it feel like a lifetime at times. Still, it occurs infrequently if you’ve been in the game for a long time. These dry spells are, to be frank, very volatile. Your best hope is to improve your communication and networking skills, learn to be frugal, and spend your money well. Learn how to save money in preparation for the next dry spell if it ever occurs.
It would help if you also did other things to avoid dry spells. Attend engineering conferences and meet-ups regularly to see which developers are searching for software development jobs. Keep an eye on the LinkedIn expanded network to see if there are any potential jobs. Other than sharing food photos, use Facebook for something else. It would be best to look outside the box to avoid going where any other Freelance Software Developer is going.
Freelance Software Developer, Freelance is not for the faint at the spirit. There’s an army of introverted, quiet, brilliant, and c-grade developers out there looking for fast leads. Don’t overlook networking and face-to-face experiences if you want to break free from the cheap labor camp loop of employment.
You’re up against Freelance Software Developers from all over the world. You must master the art of persuasion and learn how to improve your abilities as a Freelance Software Developer. You must learn to maintain your composure. Most important, it would be best if you mastered the art of making deals by underpromising and overdelivering.