I ask every Finxter freelancer student the following question:
👉 “What’s your goal as a Python freelancer?”
A common answer pattern I get is as follows — check if a similar outlook applies to you: 👇
“Stuck at a Job That Pays The Bills”
“Well, I’m 43 and facing a mid-life crisis. Stuck in a job that has taken 7 years of my life, and going absolutely nowhere.
I don’t even recognize my real self anymore, and it’s made me very depressed. Sorry but my circumstances are pretty bad. The only reason why I’m staying in this job is cos I’ve got nowhere else to go, and it pays the bills.
“I’m Tired Working for People and I Need a New Challenge”
I’m very tired working for people and at this stage of my life – i need to find a new challenge to move on to the next phase of life, which is why the idea of a freelancer really appeals, but i’m also aware that it will require a herculean effort to make it.
My programming skills are 3/10 at best. I’m giving myself 6-12 months to get some basic income in as a freelancer – hopefully in 6 months’ time, i can take up your offer of my first Upwork gig so i can quit my job for good !!”
This is a real email I got from a freelancer student, let’s call him Dave.
“Waiting for a Raise, But I Don’t Even Like The Promotion Trajectory at My Company”
Here’s another email that was recently sent to me:
“Hey Chris, I have always loved coding and working with data and would like to get better at both.
This year, I am running into three problems at my job:
1. I need more money for my family (my kids just started school), but I have to wait for raises from my boss. Also, I am salaried without overtime, so working more hours does not result in more pay.
2. I am not sure if I will like the promotion trajectory at my company. I want to stay technical and continue to build technical skills, but I think my boss values me more for my soft skills.
“I Followed the Typical Path – And It Got Me Nowhere”
3. My third problem is that I have always “followed the path”. I went to a good college for my bachelor’s degree, and got a PhD in engineering from a top university. However, my peers (whom I have always exceeded in academics) are blowing past me financially and in their personal confidence by doing things that are not on the “typical path.”
I am diving into the world of freelancing to solve the problems above. I’d like to be personally responsible for earning more money (and not rely on the whims of a boss) and also to choose what I do to earn that money.
“I Don’t Want to Rely on a Salary from a Big Company I Don’t Trust”
I also want to prove to myself that I can learn how to provide value and make money on my own, without relying on a salary from a big company.
My goal is to become a freelancer part time and increase my hourly rate until it would be feasible to quit my full time job. Then I would like to decide whether I want to become a full time freelancer or not.
That is why I signed up for the Finxter freelancer course and membership.
Thanks Chris! Steve
Is There a Solution? 5 Tips!
You wouldn’t believe how many people feel depressed, anxious, and totally unhappy with the trajectory of their lives. I (Chris) get a never-ending stream of emails that are just variants of the ones I showed you before.
Here are a couple of tips that may help you regain control of your life — it’s never too late!
Tip #1 – Take Total Control and 100% Ownership
First of all, you need to realize that it’s all a lie. Nobody in the traditional corporate (or government) sector wants to promote you or even provide you with opportunities.
They want you to stay in exactly the job you do and hope you don’t ask for more money. They don’t want you to have goals because either you have goals or you are a wheel working for somebody else’s goals.
Steve even got a Ph.D. in engineering — he did everything right in what he calls the “typical path” – and now, in his late 30s, he feels completely lost.
You need to think for yourself and grab these opportunities to break free — no matter what the common folks are chirping. Your parents and, likely, your whole family and most of your friends have never broken free, so their advice is worthless.
Tip #2 – Start Today and Don’t Be Patient
Second, you can start working your first gig now. Don’t wait. Don’t accept your circumstances even one day longer.
Bias toward action! 🔥
It’s really no rocket science.
Tip #3 – Adopt a Value Creation Mindset
“Don’t Ask What Your Country Can Do For You, Ask What You Can Do For Your Country” (Roosevelt)
Third, you need to focus on creating value. Don’t ask how you can get better but how you can serve more. Don’t try to merely function; seek to thrive and become great!
You have gifts that are unique, and you are here to share your gifts with the world.
Career success and money will follow quickly in only a couple of years (or less) of radical value creation – likely more money than you can imagine now.
Tip #4 – Don’t Follow the Typical Path
Agree – following the typical path is not always in your best interest. When I was stuck in a typical path doing a PhD in computer science, all my peers started to work for large companies (Google, Facebook, Bosch, Daimler, …), making six figures or almost that — which is a great income for German coders.
But I never wanted to pursue this path, and I correctly assumed that most of my peers will end up miserable and 100% dependent on the success of a single company.
Today, many of them struggle in life because they feel imprisoned in their jobs – needing to pay for their families and everything they cannot quit. And they have zero energy to build their own businesses after work.
Freelancing literally set me free – and when I broke out of what you called the “typical path”, everybody was very critical of my decision. They told me how unlikely it would be for me to succeed.
What a lie! They just couldn’t stand seeing me breaking free when they are stuck in their jobs! Haha, okay that’s my perspective anyway. 😉
Tip #5 – Set Goals (or Work Towards Somebody Else’s Goals)
Again, nobody in your job environment gives a F*** about your success.
They usually don’t look for ways of promoting you and pulling you forward. If you go the “typical path”, you’ll only be a wheel in somebody else’s machine. You need to do the things you know you need to do. And ignore the “chirping” of those who don’t know better.
Either you set goals and work toward achieving your goals. Or you work on somebody else’s goals. Either you build your own machine – or you are a wheel in somebody else’s machine. There are only these two options. Decide!
Freelancing Set Me Free
Okay, these are some tips from the top of my head. Freelancing literally set me free. The best thing about freelancing is that you can CHOOSE where to work on. What are your strengths and interests? As a freelance developer you can work in whatever niche you desire.
Work can be fun and easy if you perform from your strengths. If work is super tough and drains your energy, chances are you work in the wrong job.
👉 Recommended Tutorial: 26 Tips for Freelance Developers to Quadruple Your Income
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.