Getting Freelance Developer Jobs
Here’s a random list of things I have done to find freelance jobs. The list includes things that I haven’t done yet but plan on doing 😉
Engage in Business-Focused Online Communities
Dive into Unrelated Chats
Join Slack and Discord groups that are focused on business, not necessarily tech or job boards. Your expertise in tech will naturally stand out in such places, making you a go-to person for tech inquiries and jobs.
Be a Helpful Hand
Instead of marketing your skills upfront, genuinely help people with your expertise. Answer their tech-related queries, assist them in resolving issues, and naturally, your skills will shine through, leading to job queries and offers.
Navigate Through Freelance Platforms Wisely
Be Patient and Persistent
Platforms like Upwork are flooded with low-ball offers, but sift through patiently. Amongst those, you will find clients who value quality over price. Focus on clients who have a history of decent payouts and professional job postings.
Maintain a Balanced Profile
Ensure your profile reflects your niche skill set and is backed up with evidence of your previous works and testimonials, even if they are from non-paid projects.
Be “Google-able” and Visible
Build a Personal Website
Your name should yield your website on a Google search. Use SEO strategies to ensure your website shows up when potential clients might do a quick search on you. It acts as an online CV and portfolio of your previous works and accomplishments.
Engage in Known Communities
Even if it’s just commenting or starting a thread on platforms like Hacker News, be visible. Direct engagement with posts can sometimes open up pathways to unexpected opportunities.
Engage and Collaborate on Public Platforms
Contribute and Comment on HN
On platforms like Hacker News, engage not just by posting but also by commenting on others’ posts. Be an active member, sharing insights, or even contacting posters directly if you find something that piques your interest.
Extend Your Network Indirectly
When you find interesting posts or comments on platforms like HN, don’t shy away from dropping an email, expressing your interest and sharing a bit about yourself. Genuine interactions can often lead to unexpected collaborations or job offers.
Make Friends and Build Your Circle
Use LinkedIn Wisely
Talk to everyone you know on LinkedIn. Send a friendly note like, “Hey [Name], I’m starting to take on freelance software development projects. If you hear about someone who needs help, I’d appreciate a shoutout!”
Email People Directly
Find companies or people you’d like to work with and send them a focused email.
Become a Specialist, Not a Jack-of-All-Trades
Pick a Lane
Choose a specific technology or industry. If you have experience in a particular industry, make that visible.
Show and Tell
Your portfolio and blog should clearly showcase your expertise in this niche. Instead of showing varied projects, make it all about your specialty to attract similar work. Pro tip: You don’t need to have a public portfolio. Send each prospect a customized one.
Help and Share
Write straightforward guides and share solutions for common problems in your specialization on your blog.
Contribute and Get Noticed
Join open-source projects related to your specialty. It’s a good way to showcase your skills to a wider developer community.
Get Your Business Basics Right
Ensure your freelance business is legit with proper registration, and get a standard contract template ready for clients.
Be Clear, Always
Before starting a project, ensure you and the client are crystal clear about what’s expected. Avoid scope creep by having a clear process to handle extra requests.
Keep Sales on Radar
Use a basic CRM even if it’s just a spreadsheet. Keep track of who you talked to, what was discussed, and set reminders for follow-up.
Growing Beyond Freelancing
Avoid the Middleman
Try to work directly with your clients. Agencies or platforms will take a cut; direct clients will usually offer better rates and relationships. The secret here is to turn platform or agency customers into direct customers without violating the platform’s T&Cs or the agency contract.
Up Your Price, Slowly
Raise your rates as you get more work. It’s okay to say no if the budget doesn’t match your expectations.
Think about creating a productized service where clients can purchase a package instead of a custom project.
Form a Mini-Agency
Partner with other freelancers. A team can take larger projects, and it’s a good way to cover more ground with combined skills.