Do you want to sell your coding skills as a Python freelance developer but you don’t know where to start? This article shows you the best places to look for new clients – so that you never run out of work (and $$$ cash) again.
There are three types of freelancing projects: small, medium, and large gigs. Let’s dive in each of them one by one.
How to find clients for small Python gigs between $5-$500?
Finding small freelancing projects is an excellent way of building your reputation on freelancing platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer. Reputation is king. Before you can think of getting medium or large freelancing gigs, you have to create a good reputation.
Different freelancing platforms have different approaches to measure your reputation. For example, Upwork.com measures your reputation with your “job success rate”, that is the percentage of successfully completed projects, as well as with your total earnings (e.g. “$100k+ earned”). Freelancer.com measures your reputation by allowing clients to rate your skills (they also have the feature now of showing your total earnings on the platform). The better your reputation, the better your chances of getting great jobs. And this is where the money is!
A good platform for small freelancing gigs is Freelancer.com. If you want to find a few Python test projects, check out the archived freelancing projects.
Another platform for small freelancing gigs is Fiverr. They started out with the simple idea of allowing freelancers to sell small gigs for $5 – that’s why they call themselves “Fiverr”. However, in the meantime, they have transformed in a full-fledged freelancing platform with thousands of freelancers selling to thousands of clients. However, I found that the variety of Python gigs is not that large compared to Freelancer.com.
At the upper spectrum regarding project size and price is the Upwork.com freelancing platform. In contrast to Fiverr and Freelancer.com, Upwork is very selective. They frequently reject freelancers to keep the quality of freelancers high. This is also reflected in the freelancer prices (and your potential earnings). If you don’t want to face bloody competition, and you are willing to maintain a high-end freelancing profile, Upwork is a very good choice that allows you to aim for great clients.
Where to find clients for medium gigs between $500-$5000?
These medium-level gigs provide the best trade-off between flexibility and stability of income. You are not locked in into a single project for months but you also don’t have the high fluctuation and instability of small gigs.
The top 3 general-purpose freelancing platforms (Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer) also have a lot of medium-sized gigs for Python developers. Among those, Upwork usually provides the highest quality clients. At the platform Freelancer.com, many clients submit low-quality job requests for unrealistically small Dollar amounts. You have to get used to ignoring those types of requests – this is a common problem with many platforms.
On Upwork, there are still hundreds of open Python freelancing jobs with a budget of more than $500.
Where to find clients for large gigs between $5000-$50000?
You may find a few large gigs on Freelancer.com or Fiverr – but I would not start searching from them on these two platforms. Still, on Upwork you can be lucky and find attractive projects with this size. However, for the really big projects, it’s much better to switch to another freelancing platform: Toptal. Toptal is the short form of “Top Talents”. They focus on the top 3% of talents in different areas (Python is one of those areas). So it’s hard to join this platform but it is worth a try. The reason is that you are naturally get rid of 97% of the competition when doing so. You have instant credibility and clients will trust you more. Your reputation is high when you have managed to join the platform. You will attract the better clients that pay more and are more forgiving.
If you cannot manage to join the platform, do not despair. There are plenty of other options. Try indeed.com. They are more focused on long-term jobs but they also provide opportunities for freelancers. Just search for “Python” and filter out “Contracts” type of jobs. I have found plenty of interesting freelancing job opportunities where you can work from home and earn more than $50 per hour in a long-term relationship with the client.
How to earn a big income of $1000 per hour?
It’s next to impossible for you to earn more than a few hundreds of Dollars per hour on any of the freelancing platforms above. Why? Because there is global competition on the platform and because the highest paying clients don’t look for talent on these platforms. You have to understand that it’s risky for the highest paying clients to search for their premium freelancers on these platforms. How can they really differentiate whether you are worth the money or not?
Usually, you have to give a lot to a large client base before you have any chances of being paid this much. You have to have a unique combination of skills and ability to communicate those skills. And you have to be able to give a lot of unique value to the clients. Otherwise, they will not even consider working with you for $1000.
Still, it’s possible to earn that much. Select a high-income specialization within Python (like deep learning) and become an internationally renowned expert for this specialization. That’s the way to go for it. People have done it before. For example, James Knight, a former Google programmer makes more than $1000 per hour working as a freelance programmer.
But you have to build some kind of followership and maintain a good relationship with them. One great way of doing this is to create your own website and write about Python niche topics. If you help people out, you can build a community of people that trust you and learn from you. A small percentage of this community, maybe 0.01% is willing to pay you handsomely. But still, you need tens of thousands of people in your community to have enough people that are willing to pay you that much money.
How much Python skills do you need before starting to freelance?
The short answer is to start now and figure out how to solve the problems as you go. You will be paid for your learning time. Here is an 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.
Where to go from here?
If you are serious of becoming a Python freelancer, join my free webinar. I will teach you everything you need to know about earning a full-time income ($3000/m) without working full-time hours!
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. He’s author of the popular programming book Python One-Liners (NoStarch 2020), coauthor of the Coffee Break Python series of self-published books, 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.