The Ultimate Guide to Freelancing as a Developer

The ultimate guide to freelancing as a developer

A freelancer has complete control over what and when they work. However, if done incorrectly, it has several major downsides. Freelancing can be a game-changer for you if you are somebody who can effectively manage work and life balance.

Freelancing necessitates the possession of a skill that you may sell to clients in exchange for money. Businesses can recruit you for specialized jobs if you have expertise. It is not uncommon for developers to work as freelancers. Freelancing appeals to those who want to supplement their income while still working full-time in the development field. Moreover, in freelancing, you have full control of your time, and you can work in the comfort of your home.

Developers have a wide range of options at their disposal. As the world of technology advances, people with software development skills are becoming more valuable. Thanks to the internet, we now have access to many opportunities that negate the geography constraints originally imposed on freelancers. New opportunities emerge as the world gets more digital.

Moreover, Freelance developers are programmers who work for a variety of firms, organizations, and individuals. They have a distinct advantage over employees: they are not bound to any organization, do not have to commute as much, and generate greater money over time.

Being a good programmer does not automatically guarantee you a good job in the software industry. Programmers, contrary to popular assumptions, have a difficult time at work. In reality, the competition encourages them to work in stressful situations. Due to last-minute modifications and feature requests, long hours and overtime sometimes become necessary to achieve deadlines.

Why Is Freelancing a Good Option in the Development Field?

Freelancing is an excellent way to boost your income while continuing to work full-time or become your new career. The idea is basic: you sell your services for money. If you are short on time or your calendar is simply too full to fit in part-time work, freelancing is a good side hustle option. The most significant advantage of freelancing is its flexibility. This perk helps you to plan your free time so that you can work on your side hustle.

If the conditions are right, it may even turn into a full-time job. Furthermore, while freelancing looks to be a great concept, obtaining clients and employment requires a great deal of commitment and effort. As a result, while considering freelancing, it is critical to examine your commitment and orient yourself.

How Do You Get Started?

Understanding how to make money, in general, is the first step in making money as a freelance developer. There are three basic points to understand.

  1. Making money entails adding value to others.

    When you give development services to a client, all that matters is how much value they get out of it. The customer’s willingness to pay does not get determined by the amount of work you put in. Instead, it gets based on the increased value your consumer will get. To put it another way, producing the money implies realizing that your services are about offering value to others rather than putting in the time. It is also crucial to remember that value always gets determined by the customer’s perceptions, not yours.

  2. Investing time in high-value activities is one way to make money.

    Locate the projects that pay the most per input unit and concentrate completely on obtaining as many of those projects as possible.

  3. Freelance developers must accept that they have taken on a full-time position.

    Just remember one fundamental guideline once you have started. You have got a full-time job now. Consider yourself having a full-time commitment of at least forty hours each week if you want to freelance as your new career. Otherwise, treat every project with the same care and quality as you would a project for your full-time job.

Freelancing Job Sites

Before you go out and find your first client, it is a good idea to sit down and decide what services you will and will not provide. To start, search for tools that allow businesses to connect with remote employees. Social media channels and other sites where you can discover freelance employment, such as programming-related communities and freelancing platforms, may be useful in this work area. But, unlike many other side hustles, it does not lead to a product. You are limited in terms of scalability because your production gets linked directly to time and money.

Below is a list of some recommended freelancing job sites.


Instead of the typical project and bids process, Fiverr established a service-based freelance marketplace. It is similar to a market where people set up their shop and give services.

Logo design, infographics, and social media post design are all services that you may create here. High-performing freelancers can also make use of Fiverr’s level system, which provides a slew of benefits. You begin with a basic seller account and advance through the levels as you fulfill more orders.


Upwork operates on a project and bid basis. In other words, a client posts a task with all of his specifications, and freelancers apply with their proposals. The client will then choose which freelancer is most suited for his project.

You are bidding on projects that used to be fully free a few years ago. Every month, there are 60 connections of those who want to apply for positions. A connect is a kind of ticket that allows freelancers to apply to a limited number of jobs. It aids in the reduction of spam and the enhancement of the platform’s overall quality.


For startups and enterprise-level businesses, hiring a remote staff has numerous advantages. However, most of these businesses cannot rely on freelancers with very basic competence.

Toptal has put in place a very strict procedure only to hire the top 3% of freelancers. This stipulation means that only the top freelancers are allowed to join this site. Once you have received clearance, you will have a much better chance of earning a higher hourly rate than you would on other freelancing platforms.

Constant Content

Having great English writing skills can also come in handy. Constant Content is a platform that links businesses with freelance content writers. You may charge more for custom content or even ready-made articles than others. Many startups and large IT companies are actively seeking content writers to help them improve their organic reach. So, if you can write well and have a development background, you can easily separate yourself from the competition.

However, having your blog is preferable before getting started. It will serve as a portfolio for easily obtaining freelance work.


Codementor has offered a new way of looking at freelancing. You can earn a decent deal of money every month by guiding someone in programming or development.

It is not easy to learn a programming language or framework, especially if you have never coded before. Even the most experienced developers get stuck on problems they cannot solve on their own. In such cases, it is preferable to seek advice from a mentor. This situation is when Codementor comes in handy. It is time to unleash your mentoring skills.


In the field of freelance graphic design, DesignCrowd has combined the notions of crowdsourcing. An employer must give a brief description of his requirements and then wait for freelancers to submit their designs. They can then approve the design they prefer. As a result, the payment will be released to the appropriate freelancer by the DesignCrowd platform.


Arc is exclusively for firms looking to hire the best remote developers. It saves them a lot of money while still delivering high-quality work.

First, you have to apply for a developer account if you believe you have the programming expertise to meet the client’s needs. Following that, Arc will conduct a recruiting procedure to assess your abilities. If all goes according to plan, you will be able to apply for high-paying positions.

Tips for Landing Your First Freelancing Gig

Now that you’ve created an account on one or more freelancing job sites, it’s time to land your first freelancing gig! Typically, landing your first freelancing gig is the most difficult gig to land since you do not have references or referrals yet. So, here are the top tips on how you can land your first gig then leverage that first sale to grow your freelancing career.

Creating an Offer or Gig

To land your first gig without any references, reviews, or referrals, you need to stand out from the crowd with a well-crafted offer and gig. Just like selling any service or product, when selling your first gig make sure to point out the pain points you can solve for your clients. These pain points should lead your potential customers to your unique selling proposition.

An effective offer or gig includes information such as:

  • Any specific pain points your target audience experiences that you can solve.
  • A detailed description of how you can solve your target audience’s pain point.
  • Always include any unique experiences or qualifications that can help set you apart.

Remember, landing your first freelancing gig is a difficult task. So, do not give up if your first few proposals or applications are not accepted. Keep testing different ways of phrasing your offer and eventually you will come up with a system to reliably land new jobs whenever you need more work.

Closing Your First Sale

Once you’ve made contact with a potential client and discussed a project you can accomplish, it’s time to close your first sale. Closing your first sale is always a nerve-wracking experience. But, once you get experience closing freelance gigs, each one gets easier. So, just get started by attempting to close every lead you find. As you get more and more comfortable closing, each attempt will get better.

To effectively close your first sale, remember not to be too nervous as it does get easier. Also, let your personality shine during the closing process. Once you make a personal connection with a potential client, closing that deal will be significantly easier.

Delivering Your First Project

After you’ve closed your first sale, now it’s time to do the actual work. Delivering your first project comes with a whole process of potential revisions and more communication with your client to ensure you delivered to their expectations.

When it comes to your first project, always make sure you over-deliver on any promises made during the sales process. By over-delivering, you ensure your client will be happy with your work and likely won’t have any issue with leaving you a stellar review. You can also then use that project as a reference to previous work when looking for your next freelancing opportunity.

Asking for Referrals

You’ve closed your first sale and delivered the project. Now, it’s time to start looking for your next project and really developing your freelancing career. If you’ve built a relationship with your first client and over-delivered on their project, asking for a referral from them should be easy. Simply reach out, and ask them if they have any other projects they’d like you to take on or if they know of anyone looking for a freelance developer.

While they may not have anything immediately, this lets them know you’re looking for more work. In the meantime, continue looking for another project on your own using the same steps as you did to close the first one.

Expanding Your Freelancing Career

From here, you can grow your freelancing career as large or small as you want. You’ve already landed a gig and successfully delivered your first project. All that’s left to do is find more work so you can expand your earnings and become your own boss!


It is simply vital to adapt as the globe embraces digitalization. There are many methods to make money online these days, especially if you are a developer. All that is left now is for you to be resourceful and persistent in your search. Learning other key skills can also help you become more marketable and a desirable client option.

If you want to learn more, please check out our guide to making money online .

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Juan Cruz Martinez - Author @ Live Code Stream

Juan Cruz Martinez

Juan has made it his mission to help aspiring developers unlock their full potential. With over two decades of hands-on programming experience, he understands the challenges and rewards of learning to code. By providing accessible and engaging educational content, Juan has cultivated a community of learners who share their passion for coding. Leveraging his expertise and empathetic teaching approach, Juan has successfully guided countless students on their journey to becoming skilled developers, transforming lives through the power of technology.