Getting started with the freelancer life can be frustrating. Been there, done that. Despite the promise of quick success (just search for the phrases “make $10,000” and “as a freelancer” on Google to get an idea about the number of clickbait articles written on the subject), it is likely that the first few months will fall short of your expectations, with lots of hiccups along the way. Landing the best freelance jobs can be a challenge for anyone—it is a matter of timing and finding the right fit for your skills. But a few steps that you can take can significantly increase your odds of success.
Freelance work online is uncharted territory for a newcomer and defining the limits of the work you will undertake will be your first wise move. When negotiating a project with a client, you might get more than what you bargained for. Clients, especially those without a tech background, tend to have higher expectations with regards to the scope of the project—they want everything but the kitchen sink. You might be expected to deliver a project that should in fact be done in phases or by different professionals. Therefore, you need to know where to draw the line and ask for more money for the extra work you will do or turn down the offer despite the pressure to score a win. Do not assume that things will work out without first coming to an agreement with regards to the scope and duration of the project and the revision process.
Bear in mind that building trust and working with the same clients for long periods of time reduces the work stress, and the monetary return can be substantial, too. Loyalty to a client will lower the administrative burden you need to shoulder every time you start a new project—the time it takes for both parties to understand each other, endless negotiations on contract terms and countless emails that need to be exchanged before the project starts. You don’t get paid for the time you spend for any of these so the smaller the project, the bigger this overhead cost will be for you. The long-term relationships further pay off on platforms such as Upwork and Peopleperhour, where the commission rates charged decrease as the total amount of billings with a particular client increases.
Give local and specialized freelancing platforms a chance. Chetu is one such platform that offers a more localized service to promote real-time interaction between the developer and the client. Another one, Gigway, narrows its scope down to a single country, Sweden, claiming to bring together the best freelancer talent in this country. Some other platforms like Devteam and Stackoverflow are great places to promote your skills as a developer. These platforms support smaller communities compared to Upwork or Freelancer.com, and can be a better fit for people whose self-promotion skills lag behind their technical expertise. The best freelance jobs are not where the crowds are but where you will find the right fit for your skill set.
Freelance work online means freedom, but not many people know what they can do with theirs. Without an office life that brings some structure to your day, it is entirely up to you to organize your time and increase your productivity. The SaaS world offers an amazing variety of solutions to help with that. Getting started with a tool like Webflow or Squarespace can help you design an infinitely customizable web site, giving a boost to your self-promotion efforts. A CRM app like Pipedrive lets you manage your business contacts, nurture your leads and cultivate long-term relationships with clients. Calendly allows you to organize your day, schedule meetings or let your contacts pick a suitable time for a meeting with you. Tools such as Sendgrid and Mailchimp turns sending mass emails—a real chore—into an easy task. Stripe takes care of your invoicing and payment management, handling a big chunk of the accounting work for you.
No-code platforms like Peaka can help freelancers automate repetitive tasks and save time while enabling them to ship more apps in a shorter time. The integrations offered by these tools make it possible for a freelancer to establish workflows that can handle the tedious parts of work, letting him focus on parts where his creativity is better employed. This automatically gives a freelancer a much-needed advantage in the face of fierce competition he has to deal with, eventually improving his bottomline. Being a a full-stack platform, Peaka makes use of industry-best practices, and thus negates the effects of lack of peer review and support that are hard to come by in the absence of a regular full-time job.
Freelancing can feel like an uphill battle at times, but it doesn’t have to be a one-man crusade against everyone. Top developers are putting all of their brainpower into no-code tools, solving problems for you behind the scenes and equipping you with a capable weapon to take on challenges with. Why not leverage them to grow your freelance business?