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7 fundamental freelancing tips for developers

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I think it’s fair to stay the ‘working from home trend’ is here to stay after the pandemic. However, it’s not a new concept but recently people are looking for more ways to earn money online.

You might also want to get started with freelancing or even to work independently. So, this article will help you get on the right track.

Full disclaimer: You probably know this by now, but I’m not a freelancer myself, however, all the tips and advice on this article have been collected from people who are successful at freelancing.

Focus on your skill set

The first step towards becoming a freelancer is to list down all your skills and then only choose the ones you’re most experienced in. Discovering your strengths will help you stand out from others.

Sometimes we’re able to do multiple tasks, which is completely normal. But, you don’t have to be a jack of all trades. It’s a lot easier to beat your competitors if you only focus on a specific niche.

At the beginning, it’s also very important to build your reputation as an expert in a particular field. This will help you get permanent clients because if they’re looking for quality work then they’ll always prefer an expert instead of a general-purpose freelancer.

Later on, you may gradually expand your services in that skill to get more work.

Find low competition but profitable keywords

At this point, you’ve selected a skill to provide freelance services. Now, there could be many types of services that you can offer for each skill. For example:

So, the main idea is to rank your profile/service in search results. It’s very important to get continuous work because now clients will find you organically. But, the thing that matters the most is if a client is searching for a freelancer and your profile or service is not showing in the search results, then they will probably never find you. Hence, you’ll not get any jobs.

To do so, we’ve got to perform extensive keyword research. It’s absolutely fine if you have to spend a few days on it. Having a basic understanding of SEO will help you at this stage. In case you’re not familiar with SEO concepts then I would recommend learning it.

As you’re just starting out so your main target is to find keywords for services that no one is working on or has a very low competition. This is because you can easily rank on low competition keywords as compared to high competition ones.

Also, remember to find keywords that are profitable. Meaning that people must be willing to spend money to buy your services. There’s no reason to waste time on services that no one is looking for.

Select a few freelance marketplaces

Recently, I published an article about best freelancing websites on Live Code Stream. Try to have a look at it and select two or three platforms to get started.

The major benefit of a freelance marketplace is that they act as a broker, which highly reduces the chance of fraud as compared to dealing with clients directly.

It’s time to create engaging profiles on these platforms. Basically, you have to provide details about your services as well as display an attractive portfolio.

Some platforms don’t let you display the portfolio. So, in that case, simply show your previous work samples to clients when they contact you.

The reason behind only working on a few websites is that you could easily manage workload. Later on, you may expand this list when you have a team. For now, it’s better to start small.

How should I set the price?

You’ve to keep an eye on your competitors. Find out what they are offering and at what price. It will help you determine what employers are usually willing to pay for your services.

At first, always set a low price than your competitors. Let the clients examine your work before you increase your rates.

As you’re just starting out, so it’s a bit difficult to get your first project organically. My recommendation is to find customers on social media networks and bring them to freelance marketplaces.

To do so, share your profile/service on social media platforms. For example, there are many groups on Facebook where people are looking for specific talent. Similarly, LinkedIn can also be a great opportunity to connect with potential customers.

Initially, you have to give your best and do a tremendous amount of hard work. But, it will quickly pay off once you start getting continuous work.

Always provide high-quality results

The best thing about freelancing is there is no limit on how much you can earn in a single day, month, or year. So, if you take it seriously as a business then it has a lot of opportunities for growth. The only requirement is to deliver the highest quality results to your customers.

I’ve even found that customer feedback/review/rating is the most important factor that helps us rank higher in search results of freelance marketplaces. So, if your clients are impressed with your work then they will definitely give you good ratings. In turn, it will increase your chances to get hired by more and more clients.

Sometimes you even have to convince the buyer to leave their review after the task is done. It can only be possible if they like your work.

Always remember that a good customer feedback/rating is the key to success in freelancing.

Manage time efficiently

Freelancers quickly get overwhelmed when they start getting consistent work. At that crucial time, your time management skills come into play.

Unlike day jobs, freelancing is not like a 9 to 5 job. But, you’re your own boss, so it’s completely possible if you create a schedule and stick to it.

Conclusion

We just saw the vulnerabilities of a regular full-time job during this COVID-19 pandemic. It enlightens the usability of online freelancing work like never before.

I would say you did the right thing by selecting freelancing as a career. It’s capable to give you a way better income source then your current job. But, only if you follow the guidelines mentioned in this article.


This article was originally published on Live Code Stream by Juan Cruz Martinez (twitter: @bajcmartinez), founder and publisher of Live Code Stream, entrepreneur, developer, author, speaker, and doer of things.

Live Code Stream is also available as a free weekly newsletter. Sign up for updates on everything related to programming, AI, and computer science in general.

Published October 16, 2020 — 06:30 UTC

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