Can you become a highly successful freelance developer working from the comfort of your home—without having any experience?
Most freelance developers don’t have any experience when they get started on freelancing platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr. You can succeed by following the three simple steps: (1) get your first gig, (2) learn what’s needed, (3) complete the gig. By repeating this, you’ll learn, grow, and, over time, earn the average hourly rate of $61 per hour for freelance developers.
In this article, I share my experience as a freelance developer in the Python and web development space and how I would approach this if I had to start over as a freelance developer without industry experience.
Question: Does it make sense to start freelance developing—as a web freelance developer, Python freelance developer, backend freelance developer, or front-end freelance developer—without any job experience?
You may be an absolute beginner. Or you may have slight experience with coding but you may not feel confident, yet, to start out as a freelance developer selling your services on a freelancing platform such as Fiverr or Upwork.
How can you approach this problem?
My answer is very simple. If you have read some Finxter articles before, you know that we’re advocating to get started very quickly without learning more skills before you dive into practical projects.
Just throw yourself in the waters. Don’t waste any more time!
Why do I recommend this? Because knowledge is infinite. Even experienced programmers don’t have a clue how new frameworks and languages work. They often have to start over and learn new things. There is no such thing as understanding everything.
Go Through The Mess
They became experts by going through the mess of working on practical code projects—and figuring out the bugs when they occurred.
This method is really critical for your learning progress. Only this way you can become an experienced programmer.
There’s no such things as getting started as a freelance developer WITH EXPERIENCE.
Think about it: if you get started, you don’t have experience with freelance developing. This is by definition. Otherwise, you wouldn’t call it “get started”.
You may have some experience with coding—but this is not enough. As a freelance developer, a new set of skills is expected:
- Business skills
- Marketing skills
- Sales skills
- Converting leads to customers
- Communication skills
- Delivering the value
- Getting the business engine running.
So many things and so little coding! The only thing that helps you become a thriving coding business owner is to throw yourself in and get through this whole cycle.
Work For Minimum Wage
No matter your current skills, you already have some value. Say, you’ve read one coding tutorial. Further assume, an employer can propose a minimal fee he can offer you to work for him (in our imaginary world, there’s no such thing as minimum wage). The money he’d offer you may be $1 per hour, $2 per hour, or even $5 per hour.
You already have value—and this should be your starting points. Clients would hire you for this minimum wage. This is how you get experience.
Initially, the gigs will be very simple. For example, if you start with the Finxter Freelancer Course, you’ll get your first gigs from Finxter. The gigs are designed to be very simple and help you get started on the freelancing platforms. However, they provide value for the Finxter company.
This is one way of going through this whole cycle of getting a client, delivering value to clients, communicating with clients, and getting this whole business engine rolling. You can figure out how to increase your hourly rate to the average levels of $51 per hour over time and by collecting more and more experiences.
There’s no shortcut. Even as a professional coder, you’d be a beginner as a freelance developer. So, here’s my recommendation:
- Create an account at Fiverr or Upwork.
- Get your first gig—even if it has nothing to do with coding. You’ll get your first 5-star review, deliver value for clients, earn some money, and over time you can build your portfolio and gradually shift towards the type of gigs you want to complete.
- Learn as you go through this cycle.
Get your next gig, learn, solve, get paid. Repeat.
If you follow this simple strategy, you’ll develop the well-rounded skillset of a freelance developer.
You can dive deeper into how to build your thriving coding business in our Python freelance developer course and our new book:
Do you want to develop the skills of a well-rounded Python professional—while getting paid in the process? Become a Python freelancer and order your book Leaving the Rat Race with Python on Amazon (Kindle/Print)!
While working as a researcher in distributed systems, Dr. Christian Mayer found his love for teaching computer science students.
To help students reach higher levels of Python success, he founded the programming education website Finxter.com that has taught exponential skills to millions of coders worldwide. He’s the author of the best-selling programming books Python One-Liners (NoStarch 2020), The Art of Clean Code (NoStarch 2022), and The Book of Dash (NoStarch 2022). Chris also coauthored the Coffee Break Python series of self-published books. He’s a computer science enthusiast, freelancer, and owner of one of the top 10 largest Python blogs worldwide.
His passions are writing, reading, and coding. But his greatest passion is to serve aspiring coders through Finxter and help them to boost their skills. You can join his free email academy here.