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Python Freelancer

How to Go Full-Time ($3000/m) as a Python Freelancer

… Without Working Full-Time Hours!         

In this article, you are going to learn my exact strategy how to earn $3000 per month as a Python freelancer without actually working full-time and without sacrificing time with your family!

This article is based on the following webinar I gave to my community of Python coders. You can also watch the webinar if you prefer video (100% Free)!

At the end of this article, you will know the exact steps you need to perform to become a well-paid Python freelancer. So stick around, if you like the idea of working part-time as a Python freelancer receiving a full-time income.

Are you broke?

Especially in the US, but also in Europe, many people are broke. What is the definition of broke? You don’t have any leftover money to account for special circumstances. It’s that easy.

It is reported that the average debt of college students is $27,225. But is this debt really a problem? The popular consultant Dan Lok (he calls himself world’s highest paid consultant), has a somehow different view on debt. Let me read one of his statements for you:

“You don’t have a debt problem, you have an income problem. You don’t have an income problem, you have a SKILL problem!”.

Because if you are skilled, you can always sell your service at a higher rate.

Suppose there are two employees: Bob and Alice. Bob has $10,000 in assets and a yearly income of $31,524. Bob is debt free. So many people would consider Bobs financial state as convenient (when in fact he is broke). Alice on the other hand has an inconvenient $100,000 in debt. BUT, Alice can sell her skills at a rate of $131,000 per year. What happens after two years? Alice can easily outsave Bob by tens of thousands of Dollars – even if she starts with a lot of debt. You can also see this scenario on the right-hand figure. The higher the skills, the more you can expect to earn.

How much money do you earn per hour?

Do you actually know how much money you currently earn? An average employee works for 1811 hours per year. As an employee it is very hard to earn more than $90,000. In fact, the median wage of all workers in the US is $24. For example, if you are a student, you are earning -$4 per hour, school teachers earn $37 per hour. If you push yourself very hard and become an extremely skilled employee, you might become a university professor with a yearly salary of $98,423. This is $54 per hour. First, know your hourly wage. Second, improve it.

Develop your new high-income skill: Python development!

So how to increase your value to the marketplace? This article and the associated free webinar have two goals:

  • First, creating a new high-income skill for you: Python development.
  • Second, show you how and why to switch the road from being a full-time employee to being at least part-time self-employed.

On the graphic, you can see the income distribution of Python freelancers. The median wage of a Python freelancer is $51!

Let me repeat this: the median wage of a Python freelancer is $51! This means that an average, self-employed Python freelancer easily reaches the income level of a university professor. Think about this: can you become a university professor? It’s totally up to you to answer this question. But you can certainly become average-skilled Python freelancer, can’t you?

About me

You are probably wondering why I am qualified to teach you this topic. Let me quickly introduce myself so that we can go to a more personal level. I’m currently in a transition phase from being an employed doctoral researcher working at the university in Germany (for maybe $24 per hour) to becoming self-employed in the Python education sector. My research included processing large graph data sets (like the web document graph). However, for a few months now, I have parental leave caring about my two children. In the evenings and weekends, I create courses, write books (like my newest book “Coffee Break Python“, and create code puzzles for my Python learning app Finxter.com).

Why to become Python freelancer?

How would your life look like if you only needed to work part-time as a Python freelancer doing projects you like?

I have already stressed the first point: Imagine you work from home and see your kids growing up and having the flexibility to spend more quality time with your wife or husband. But there is also an equally important point if you need to take care of your family. And that is: you can increase your value to the marketplace. And there is virtually no upper limit of your hourly rate. If you are and employee you basically have an upper limit – you have seen that a professor earns $53 per hour. But I have seen many freelancers earning $100-$200 per hour. It all depends on how expensive you can make yourself for the marketplace.

For some of my students, being a Python freelancer is also a lifestyle choice. For example one of my students is successfully employed in the US and earns good money there. But his dream is to go back to India to his family working as a Python freelancer. Doing this, he earns dollars and pays rupees for his living expenses. Why not enjoying the benefits of globalization?

It’s also good to diversify your income streams. You could spend one day per month to earn $400-$500 per month as an additional source of income that you can spend for you or your family (or even safe it for later).

Finally, being a Python freelancer is also a lot of fun. You have to stretch your abilities regarding Python but also regarding soft skills such as communication ability and language skills. If you are not a native speaker (like me), it’s very nice to improve your skills that way while you are getting paid for doing good work for other people.

Can you already see yourself working as a Python freelancer?

How to sell your Python skills for money ($$$)?

There are basically three ways of becoming a Python freelancer. The first is being a consultant working for a big company. The second is to be a freelancer working on a platform such as Upwork or Fiverr doing mostly smaller tasks. The third option is to create your own platform that you own (for example, creating your own website and drive traffic to it). I call it the hybrid approach because you have some elements of both previous options.

Now, we will dive a bit deeper into each of these options.

Career path 1: Work for a big client as a consultant

The first way of becoming self-employed is to work for one or a few big clients as a consultant. Working as a consultant has some advantages. You work in a business-to-business setting which allows you to tap into large earning potentials. There is a lot of money in business-to-business — especially if you focus on high-ticket sales.

However, many people I know working as consultants heavily rely on one or two big clients. They are not diversified at all. And if you work for a single big company, you will have very limited freedom in terms of your projects and working conditions. Many Python consultants report that the pressure is hard and it feels like working as an employee.

This is not the focus of this article, however. So if you prefer to work as a consultant, I would NOT recommend that you take this specific course.

Career path 2: Sell your micro-services as a freelancer

The second way — and this is the focus of this article and also the free webinar which comes with this article — is to sell your services as a Python freelancer on existing freelancing platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr.

These platforms are very convenient. You could start today creating your freelancing account and start with your first gig in the evening. Then you solve the jobs (which takes maybe a week or even only a day). You are very flexible, you can learn fast and without too much pain or commitment.

Also, you have a small feedback cycle: you can go over the whole cycle of acquiring a client, doing the work, finishing the job, and getting reviewed. Over time, you will become an expert in the soft skills and communication part, and you will learn about many different areas where your Python skills can help people out.

It’s the perfect option of getting a foot in the door and to converge, job-by-job, to your final specializations (in case you want to specialize to increase your earning potential on the freelancing market).

Finally, there is no startup overhead. Marketing is simple. We will learn later that you need to have two things: an attractive profile and good ratings.

Of course, nothing is perfect. When working as a freelancer, you don’t own the platforms. You don’t own the clients. As a default, if you don’t do anything against it (later we will see that you can also acquire the clients from the platform and creating your own database of clients to mitigate this last point. Also, these platforms get their significant cut of 25% for each job. That’s quite something.

So overall, working as a freelancer on these platforms is all about getting testimonials, skills, and experiences.

Career path 3: sell your services on your own platform

Finally, the third option is also the one with the highest income potential. You create your own platform (for example setting up a WordPress page where you offer your details and service offerings). You retain 100% of the control over your income, your projects, and even your testimonials. The sky’s the limit (you can earn hundreds of dollars per hour, if you are smart about it).

However, there is also the need for you to market your services. You need to install a marketing funnel. For example, you attract potential customers using Facebook ads. Then, you set up a landing page with a lead magnet so that they are motivated giving you your email address. Finally, you will nurture your leads sending them tons of value via email and build a relationship with them.

While this seems to be complex, it is definitely the most profitable long-term strategy. However, in the short term, it’s much better for most people to gain experiences and testimonials on the freelancing platforms and then gradually shift their focus towards their own platform as they get to know more and more clients.

So these are the three potential career paths for you. This article and the associated webinar focus on the second option as a starting point.

A simple formula for success

This article is about how to go full-time as a Python freelancer without actually working fulltime hours. The success formula is simple. You start working as a Python freelancer now (no matter your current skill level). Then, you keep increasing your value to the marketplace until you have reached at least average Python freelance level. At this point, you will charge $51 per hour.

Would you consider a daily income of $100 as a fulltime income? According to US statistics, earning $3000 per month is already above the median salary. Now, the plan is to work for two hours on your core freelancing activities. The rest of your time you are free to spend with your family, for rest, learning, or finding even better freelancing jobs. That’s it. The strategy is simple but none the less effective. It provides you a clear and manageable path to your new freelancing lifestyle.

The top-3 secrets to earn more money as a Python freelancer on Upwork

How can you increase your value to the marketplace such that you can easily work at average Python freelancing level? What’s the magic key that will allow you to open the doors to your dream clients?

Next, I will give you 3 secrets how you can connect with your clients.

First, use research insights of psychology to build trust. Second, become a specialist rather tan a generalist. Third, leverage network effects.

Secret #1: earn trust

The key is to earn trust and to be attractive. Clients pay more and you will get the better jobs if you are trustworthy and attractive to them. I made a small experiment and searched for the keyword “Python” on the Upwork.com freelancing platform. All proposed freelancers had a job satisfaction rate of 100%.

So how to earn trust? You collect positive ratings. The more ratings you have the better. And the better the rating the better. If you buy properties in the real estate sector, it’s all about location. Trust me, in the freelancing sector, it’s all about ratings. You NEED to engineer your ratings. If you have good ratings, you will always find jobs, no matter how good your external achievements are. You don’t even need an academic degree, you can find the best jobs if you have good ratings. With good ratings, you will always find good, well-paid and attractive jobs. Rating is king.

How to actually get good ratings? We have seen that good ratings are important. There are five basic ways.

  • The first way is communication: be very responsive, be very positive, be a yes-man and be generous with your offers.
  • The second way is to acquire a lot of Python skills (and this is the focus on this article).
  • The third way is to overdeliver. Always. If your task is to give him 100 Python puzzles and you send him 110 Python puzzles, you can almost be sure to get the 5-star rating on the platform. You not only delivered what he asked you to deliver, but you OVERdelivered the task. This is a simple but effective 3-step way to get great ratings.
  • The fourth way is a very important and underestimated point: the reciprocity rule. If you give something away, the receiving person will feel the obligation to give back to you. That’s why they have free food in supermarkets. I have hired many freelancers for my website finxter.com and some of them were really smart. When applying for the project, they just gave me something for free. For example, the project was “develop 100 Python puzzles” and they just gave me 1-3 Python puzzles for free. I was feeling the strong urge to give back to those freelancers by hiring them (I even wanted to hire ALL of them to not miss out on giving back to them). This is a powerful mindset: give first, then you will receive.
  • The fifth way is the following: on some platforms like Upwork, you can complete small Python tests. Certificates go a long way building trust with your clients. You can also solve Python puzzles and download your personal certificate on our Python online learning application Finxter.com.

Secret #2: Money flows to specialists!

There are other tricks that will impact your success on these platforms. One is the specificity of your skill set. The more specific, the better and the more trustworthy.

If you just sell your services telling them “I can program any Python program you need” then they will not really trust you that you are the expert in any Python field. But if you tell them that you are the go-to expert for anything regarding Python Django Authentication, then they will definitely go for you if they need just that. You are honest and authentic about your specific skill set – these signals confidence and expertise to the clients.

What are the skills that the marketplace seeks? There are some foundations which any good Python freelancer must master. These are basic and complex data types, lambda functions, list comprehension, complexity of data structure access, basic algorithms, keywords, and so on. Knowing about the foundations already qualifies you doing Python freelance jobs.

However, if you want to increase your earning potential, you need to specialize in more advanced knowledge areas. Examples are Machine learning, data analysis, web scraping, or web development (e.g. Django). Each of these area consists of subtopics like scikit-learn, regression analysis, numpy, etc. In each of these specialization, you become more focused toward this specific area which automatically increases your value to the client. But an important observation is also that every specialization builds upon a solid foundation. So don’t be lazy and skip the foundations!

Secret #3: Leverage network effects

Finally, just to motivate you again that it’s all about rating. The Internet follows a universal law: “The winner takes it all”. The rich get richer and the popular people get even more popular. If you are already winning on these platforms, you will win even more. People tend to simply reinforce the decisions of their peers. If all of them gave you 5 stars, most clients will simply default to giving you 5 stars as well. The network effect is a well-researched phenomenon in all kinds of networks like social networks, the web, and also freelancer rating networks.

There are two basic tactics that you can use to leverage this information to earn more money and increase your value to the marketplace.

  • First, focus on your initial jobs. See your initial jobs as investments in your future. Even if you did them for free (and I’m not advocating this), they will be profitable in the future by attracting the better jobs and clients.
  • Second, you should prefer many small jobs over few large jobs – because this way, you will gain your credibility faster (many people subconsciously have the simple heuristic: more jobs & more ratings = better freelancer).

How many skills do you need before starting with your freelancing career?

The short answer is to just start now and figure out how to solve the problems as you go.

You will be paid for your learning time. I have annotated the income scale of Python freelancers with the Python levels you can have. As you can see, if you are just beginning with your Python career, you will — of course — earn less, but you will still earn something, make a lot of experiences and gain practical insights into WHAT to learn and WHERE your knowledge gaps are.

The long answer is: if you don’t feel confident, yet, you can master the Python basics first. You can already specialize in a Python topic. And to gain even more confidence, you can even do some toy projects to learn. One of my secret tips for learning to freelance in Python is to learn with archived freelancing projects. You can already gain practical experience and learn the type of projects that people have paid freelancers for. Still – I would always recommend to just start doing real Python projects and then put in all the effort to earn your five-star rating.

How to learn the Python basics?

My recommendation is that you use a personalized training plan which has a very practical focus. You divide your time into two blocks: one block takes 70% of your LEARNING time. You use this time to work on practical Python projects which can be archived freelancing Python projects that challenge you to go to higher levels. You could even spend this learning time on your dream projects – this is even better because it keeps you highly motivated and engaged. The key is to NOT STOP WORKING ON THESE until you have successfully finished them and created a minimum viable product.

The rest of the time (30%), you will invest in solving Python puzzles, work through Python courses, read Python books. You can see that this is a highly practical approach – I’m talking about your learning time which is mainly practical. The reason is that for any subject you want to acquire or even master, you need to have the practical motivation. You need to open your knowledge gap to see what you don’t know before stuffing things in your brain. Ask any expert on Quora – they will tell you that practice-first is the way to learn Python fast. There is no shortcut.

Puzzle-based learning Python

On the theoretical part, I recommend solving Python puzzles as your main lever for your personal improvement. Python puzzles are a powerful tool to become more and more proficient in reading and understanding Python source code.

What’s a Python puzzle? A Python puzzle is an educative snippet of Python source code that teaches a single computer science concept by activating the learner’s curiosity and involving them in the learning process.

The Python puzzles range from easy to complex – each puzzle will push your theoretical and practical code understanding skills one step further. The puzzle-based learning method is very effective and proven by tens of thousands of online students.

Here is an example of a code puzzle:

What’s the output of this code snippet?

Check your correct solution of this puzzle here.

How would your life change if you developed the high-income skill Python to become a Python freelancer?

In this article, I have shown you a simple way out of the rat race of working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 40 years.

In the free webinar with the title

“How to go full-time ($3000/m) as a Python freelancer — without working full-time hours” (Click to join),

I will give you a detailed training plan such that you can start earning money with your Python skills. I show you a new way of becoming a Python expert that is fun, that challenges you to reach higher levels of code understanding, and that gives you a highly practical tool for developing and sharpening your new high-income skill Python.