Do you want to work from home and earn a healthy living as a freelance developer? There never has been a better time! Freelance Developers make $51 per hour, on average, in the US.
This complete guide to freelance development is a running document in which I share all my experiences from working as a freelance developer, hiring other freelance developers, and teaching thousands of freelance developers in our
- Course “How to Become a Python Freelancer”,
- Webinar “How to Build Your High-Income Skill Python”, and
- Book “Leaving the Rat Race with Python”.
Check those resources out—because success is about being prepared! All links open in a new tab.
Freelance Developer First Steps
Let’s start this complete guide with a short introduction to freelance developing. What is freelance developing anyways?
Freelance Developer Definition & Meaning
Definition: Freelancing is the act of delivering a service to another business or another customer in exchange for a defined rate.
If you travel back in time—say, ten years—freelancing would be the act of delivering your services to another business: a B2B (business-to-business) transaction.
But, since the appearance of freelancing platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr, it more and more became a B2C (business-to-customer) transaction. There are plenty of people, often employees, who need your services to become more and more productive.
In essence, you’re solving problems for other people. These people can be businesses, private persons, or employees. These people hire you to solve a problem for them. This makes perfect sense: in our world, everyone is a business owner.
As a person, employee, or freelancer, you are a one-person business that gets hired by organizations and other businesses.
As an employee, you are already a freelancer—have a look at the definition again. You sell your services to another party. You get paid by the hour. If you have experience as an employee, you have experience as a freelancer, too, because being an employee is nothing but a special case of being a freelancer.
But there are many more forms of freelancing. As an employee, you’re in a contract between your employer and yourself that ranges for many months. As a freelancer, you can also have these types of contracts: You can agree to contracts that range many years—in fact, businesses hire freelancers often on a long-term basis. If it makes economic sense to hire you once, why shouldn’t it make sense to hire you on a regular basis? But you can also have much smaller contracts that range only for a few hours.
Freelancing comes with all kinds of advantages and disadvantages. But as the term freelancing is so broadly defined, you cannot really generalize those: no advantage and no disadvantage will apply to any type of freelancing gig. Well, as a freelancer, you can aim for the best of both worlds: income security and higher income—if you design your freelancing business in an intelligent way.
Let’s have a deeper look into the freelance developer niche—is it attractive?
About the Freelance Developing Niche
Make no mistake: niche selection is critical.
Many people will tell you that you can select any niche. But this is only partially true.
Sure, if you join the top 10% of people in any niche, you’ll earn a lot of money and you’ll succeed in your profession.
But if you select the right niche, you can earn 10x or even 100x as a person in the top 10%. An example would be the niche “journalism” vs “machine learning engineer“.
- As a top journalist, you can expect to earn $50,000-$100,000 per year. (source)
- As a top machine learning engineer, you can expect to earn $200,000-$1,000,000 per year. (source)
That’s 4x to 10x difference in earnings of the top guys and gals! Niche selection is crucial.
Python Employee vs Freelancer: So, you may ask: should you go into the freelance developing niche—for instance, Python freelancing—or should you go into the pure Python development niche and become an employee?
I’ve recently read a book from the great Richard Koch: The Star Principle. He’s the author of The 80/20 Principle as well and he’s worth hundreds of millions of dollars. How has he done it?
He invests all his money in so-called “star companies”. And he has worked all his life in the same “star companies”. These companies generate lots of cash and everyone who’s involved benefits from their cash-generating ability.
A star business is an industry leader in a high-growth industry. This concept was developed by the Boston Consulting Group many decades ago—but it still applies to today’s businesses. Have a look at the matrix taken from BCG:
You want to invest your time and money only into businesses that are in high-growth markets and that have a high market share. An example is Google as the leader in the search engine market when the search engine market was still growing by more than 10% per year. Today, Google would be a “Cash Cow” according to the model—still attractive but not necessarily a star anymore.
The combination of being an industry leader and being in a high-growth market is very powerful.
- As an industry leader, you have higher profit margins and more cash to reinvest than any other player in the market. This allows you to keep your growth rate over each other player in the market. Plus, you enjoy strong network effects (“the rich get richer”)—everyone knows you’re the leader so customers will come to you which reinforces your position as the leader.
- As a company in a high-growth market, you will grow significantly even if you only maintain your market share.
If you can participate in a company that is the leader in a high-growth niche, you can expect significant benefits (if you don’t overpay as an investor).
So, how does it apply to the freelance developer niche?
The freelancing niche is growing double digits every year. Both companies Upwork and Fiverr (the industry leaders) grow more than 10% per year for many years.
These companies are out to disrupt the organization of the world’s talents. And if they keep growing, they’ll accomplish it!
As a developer, as a coder, you’re in an industry that grows 5% per year based on my estimation. It’s an attractive industry but it’s not a “star industry” anymore. Coding is still important and it will grow in importance over time. But it is not a high-growth niche anymore.
As a freelance developer though, you’re both in the freelancing and in the developer niche. Both grow significantly and their growth compounds. So, being a freelance developer is an extremely attractive niche.
If you combine it with Python which is the fastest-growing major programming language, you obtain a combination that has a high potential to transform your life.
If you want to participate in this disruptive trend, you should consider becoming a Python freelancer. Check out my Python freelancer course to get this going FAST!
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)!
Freelance Developer Skills
What skills do you need to succeed as a freelance developer?
Teaching many freelancing students, I have come to learn that most don’t believe they have all the skills they need to get started as a freelance developer. And why should they come to that conclusion given that there are so many different skills to be learned?
- Business Strategy
- Copy Writing
Yet, while all of the listed skills are highly important for your freelancing business, I have yet to meet a single person that is highly skilled in all of those.
Consider each of those skills to be an axis of a multi-dimensional coordinate system. Now, you can assign to each person a score between 0% and 100% for each skill. Here’s the skill score card for two imaginary freelancers Alice and Bob:
Given are two freelancers: Alice and Bob.
- Alice has a talent for marketing and copywriting. She’s an average coder and not very good in administration.
- Bob is a master coder—the classical nerd—but he’s not skilled in marketing, sales, communication. He is a great administrator though.
Here’s the million dollar question: who’s the better freelance developer?
Posed like this, you may find the question ridiculous. Of course, it depends how both position themselves in the marketplace. Alice may have a small edge over Bob due to her people, sales, and marketing skills. However, it will be a close win because Bob’s programming skills are also highly valued by the marketplace.
Both will earn some money between minimum and maximum wage (say, around the average earnings of $51 per hour for freelance developers). The key is to understand that every single person on the planet has some value to the marketplace.
Let’s have a look at a third freelancer: YOU.
Say, Alice earns $55 per hour due to her ability to sell her skills. Bob earns $51 per hour due to his super programming skills.
Suppose you are a beginner in both: sales and programming. Your programming skills are only 30% and your sales skills are even worse with 10%. But you have solid networking, communication, and empathy skills as a human being. That’s all you need—you can offer value to the marketplace! Your skills are worth $23 per hour!
The only thing left for you to do is to sell your skills, keep engaging with the marketplace, and increase your skills over time. You’ll increase your sales and marketing skills. You’ll build confidence. You’ll increase your programming skills over time. By engaging the marketplace, you automatically increase your value to it. Your hourly rate increases with it!
So, do you have enough skills to get started as a freelance developer? Let’s have a look at the following video:
Start Freelancing Now or Learn More?
Most people never feel ready to get started with a project. They always want to learn more so that they feel better prepared for the tasks ahead. This may be a result from our modern-day educational system that teaches young people that they have to learn more and more before they can become successful in the real world. Grown ups with 18+ years believe they must learn for 10 more years before they can get started creating value and earning their own income.
The problem is that you’ll never feel ready no matter how much you learn. This is inherent in knowledge acquisition. The more you learn, the more you realize how much you don’t know, and the less ready you will feel to get started.
Therefore, a much better model will be proposed next. Most people understand this model rationally but they don’t internalize it—they don’t really get it.
So, what is it?
BIAS TOWARDS ACTION!
Your value to the marketplace is already larger than zero. If you start as a freelance developer, your hourly rate will be larger than $0. I don’t know what it is but you can already give value to clients. Say, you are a complete beginner and a client can hire you for $1 per hour. They will probably do it. Why? Because even as a complete beginner, you can create, say, $3 on their $1-spent, so you help them increase their business and they purchase as many of your services as they can afford. After all—how often would you buy $3 for a buck?
No matter what your current value, no matter where you start, the strategy is always the same: know your hourly rate, work for it, and increase it over time.
And what’s the best way to increase your hourly value? The answer is simple: create value for clients. Get started now. You have an actual value to contribute to clients no matter your current value. Just select any start hourly rate that you feel comfortable with. And then commit on the path to learning and improving your hourly rate by doing practical work for clients.
There’s no better way. If you want to improve your chess game, you better play chess a lot. If you want to improve your golf games, you better practice golf every day. If you want to become a more successful freelance developer earning a higher hourly rate—which is one of the key success metric of freelance developers—you better be out there on a freelancing platform doing the work and actually increase your hourly rate.
So, you go out there, create an account at Fiverr or Upwork, and get started today, now!
To commit on a quest to continuous improvement of your hourly rate, you can also check out the detailed FINXTER Python freelancer course.
Freelance Developer Without Experience
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 follow 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.
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.
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.
Learn more about how to become an expert freelancer without any experience on my detailed blog tutorial!
Related Tutorial: Freelance Developer Without Experience
Top 15: Freelance Developer Remote Work From Home
COVID-19 has changed the world in a sustainable way. Suddenly, even the most conservative bosses realized that it is perfectly efficient to allow developers to work from home. Remote work may easily be one of the most transformative trends in the 21st century: It will have an impact on almost every conventional job under the sun—and the year-over-year double-digit growth of freelancing platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr proves this point.
This article helps you to identify the best places to look for work-from-home, remote freelancing jobs—with a focus on jobs or gigs in the attractive programming sector. The average freelancer earns $51-$61 per hour and, thus, it may be an attractive way for you to build a second income stream besides your main job income.
So, without any further introduction, let’s dive into the top places to look for freelancing gigs! Here’s a quick overview of all gigs—ordered by relevance for freelance developers:
- TopTal Developers
- StackOverflow Jobs
- Hacker News Jobs
- GitHub Jobs
- Finxter Freelancer
- PeoplePerHour Developer Jobs
- Authentic Jobs
- Vue Jobs
- Remote Leads
- Redditors For Hire
- Twitter Company Remote Jobs
ALL LINKS OPEN IN A NEW TAB!
Freelance Developer Languages
The demand for programming talent has steadily increased in the preceding decades.
In fact, there never has been a better time to start learning to code. Why? Because you (yes, YOU!) can sell your skills for top dollars—the average freelancer earns much more than $100,000 per year (source).
Nobody denies two transformative trends:
- Programming is on the rise. With the proliferation of computing into every area of our lives, it’s now more important than ever before to be able to speak the language of computers.
- Freelancing is on the rise. The biggest freelancing platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr grow double-digit year after year. They are out to disrupt the organization of the world’s talents—and it looks like they’re succeeding.
If you combine these trends, you end up with one of the greatest opportunities of our times: freelance development—the act of selling your programming services to a global client base.
But there are many fundamentally different programming languages, which language to learn? What’s the best language with the highest potential and the biggest growth opportunities?
But instead of going over the different programming languages, I’ll go over the different end-goals you want to achieve. The programming languages will then naturally emerge from your overall goals as a programmer. You should decide on your life goals first and not on the technologies. Otherwise, you end up confused, unmotivated, and unable to see the big picture.
Here’s a quick tabular overview:
|Title||Best Programming Languages||Yearly Income (Average US)|
|Mobile Developer Android||Java||$126,154|
|Mobile Developer Apple||Swift||$123,263|
|Back End Developer||Python + Django + Flask||$127,913|
|Data Scientist||Python + Matplotlib + Pandas + NumPy + Dash||$122,700|
|Machine Learning Engineer||Python + NumPy + Scikit-Learn + TensorFlow||$145,734|
Let’s dive into the different freelance developer career choices for maximum success!
Related Article: Best Programming Languages to Start Freelancing in 2020
Freelance Developer Income – How Much Do They Make?
Freelance Developer Hourly Rate & Yearly Rate
How much can you expect to earn as a Python freelancer?
The average Python developer worldwide earns $56 per hour (fluctuations between $51 and $61). This statistic is based on five credible online sources including the US government. In the US, the average Python developer earns $60 per hour or more. Based on a conservative estimation, your yearly income as a Python freelancer will be $134,400 assuming a normal workday.
This data is based on various sources.
Freelance Developer Price Estimates: How Much to Charge
Problem: How to estimate the price of a given code project as a freelancer and as a client?
Estimating the price of a freelance software project is a common problem for both freelance developers and clients. On freelancing platforms such as Upwork, clients must associate a realistic price to their freelance project. On freelancing platforms such as Fiverr, freelancers must find a reasonable price for the different gigs they offer. In any case, either freelancers or clients must set the right expectations, or negative ratings and disappointments are guaranteed. This is hardly a great business strategy.
So, how to estimate the price for a given software project?
In this tutorial, I’ll give you a simple step-by-step formula to determine the price. But take it with a grain of salt—finding the sweet spot is seldomly as simple as following a formula. Yet, I found that this formula helped many FINXTER freelancing professionals and course students.
You can watch me elaborate on these concepts in the following short YT video as you go over the article:
Here are the three steps summarized:
- Step 1: Find Business Value B and Multiply It With Your Confidence C to Obtain Expected Business Value B * C.
- Step 2: Adapt the Expected Business Value by Market Factors +/-50%.
- Step 3: Price Negotiations and Modifications to Obtain Range between Freelancer’s and Client’s Estimates.
Let’s see what’s behind these steps in the remaining article.
Freelance Developer Hourly Rate — Table By Region and Profession
What’s the hourly rate of a freelance developer? If you’re like me, you want to peek into the potential of a given profession before you commit years of your life to any profession like freelance developing.
The average freelance developer worldwide earns $56 per hour with conservative estimates ranging as low as $31 and aggressive estimates ranging as high as $82.
The following table compares the hourly rates of employed developers and freelance developers in different regions:
|Job Description||Status||Region||Hourly Rate|
Related Article: Freelance Developer Hourly Rate By Regions and Professions
Freelance Developer Net Worth
What is the net worth of a freelance developer? In this article, you’ll learn the expected net worth of a freelance developer as a rough estimate.
Definition net worth: Net worth is the value the assets a person or corporation owns, minus the liabilities they owe. It is an important metric to gauge a company’s health and it provides a snapshot of the firm’s current financial position. (source)
The net worth of a freelance developer who earns the average $134,400 per year and saves 10% per year in a low-cost S&P500 index fund is $204,192 after 10 years, $687,592 after 20 years, and $4,541,140 after 40 years. Under these assumptions, a freelance developer with a savings rate of 20% reaches $1,000,000 net worth in year 18. An alternative measurement stick is a simple P/E valuation based on which the expected net worth of a freelance developer would be approximately 10x earnings which is $1,344,000.
Let’s see how we developed these numbers based on realistic assumptions and averaged statistics over millions of US workers.
To come up with a meaningful figure, we’re going for a few assumptions:
- We assume a US-based freelance developer. Most non-US freelancers can approximate the net worth and earning potential of a US-based freelance developer by using freelancing platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr to participate in the US economy.
- We assume that the freelance developer has average skills earning the average hourly rate of a Python developer of $56 per hour. The average Python developer worldwide earns $56 per hour (fluctuations between $51 and $61). This statistic is based on five credible online sources including the US government. You can learn more about the hourly rate here.
- Based on a conservative estimation, your income as a Python freelancer will be $134,400 per year assuming a normal workday of eight billed hours per day for 300 days per year.
- We assume that the freelancer has a saving rates of 10%. The average savings rate in the US has been between 7% and 17% during the COVID-19 crisis:
- We further assume that the saved money is invested in a low-cost index fund generating the 100-y historic return of 9% after fees. (source)
Let’s see how the net worth of a freelancer would progress over a period of 50 years based on these assumptions.
So, if you start with age 20, you’d have an $11,000,000 net worth at age 70—quite a legacy! Here’s the yearly table:
Related Article: Net Worth Freelance Developer
Freelance Developer Finding Gigs
As a freelancer, you’re a business person—first and foremost. You must constantly look for ways to increase the demand for your services. This part of the ultimate guide is about how you can do this. The more demand for your services, the higher your hourly rate.
Freelance Developer Sites and Platforms
Upwork places a great focus on quality. This is great for clients because it ensures that their work will get delivered—without compromising quality.
For freelancers just starting out, Upwork poses a significant barrier of entry—oftentimes, new profiles will get rejected by the Upwork team. They want to ensure that only clients who take their freelancing jobs seriously will start out on their platform.
However, the relatively high barrier of entry also protects established freelancers on the Upwork platform from too much competition. There is no price dumping because of low-quality offers which ultimately benefits all market participants.
Fiverr initially started out as a platform where you could buy and sell small gigs worth five bucks. However, in the meantime it grew to a full-fledged freelancing platform where people earn six-figure incomes.
Many jobs earn hundreds of Dollars per hour and many freelancers make a killing—especially in attractive industries such as programming, machine learning, and data science.
If you want to start earning money as a freelance developer with the hot Python programming language, check out my free webinar:
Toptal has a strong market proposition: it’s the platform with the top 3% of freelancers. Hence, it connects high-quality freelancers with high-quality clients.
It’s extremely hard to become a freelancer at Toptal: 97% of the applicants will not enter the platform. However, if you manage to join Toptal, you can greatly benefit with the best-in-class hourly rates. You can easily earn $100 per hour and beyond.
Also, the high barrier of entry ensures that the freelancer stays the valuable resource—he or she doesn’t become a commodity like on other freelancer platforms.
If you are an upcoming freelancer, you should aim for joining Toptal one day. Here’s a great freelancer course that shows you a crystal-clear path towards becoming a highly-paid freelancer.
Freelancer.com is the go-to resource for beginners with very low barrier of entry and opportunities for everyone. This is the recommended starting point to gain experience and finish your first projects. Also, it can help you gain your first testimonials—while getting paid for learning and polishing your skills.
It’s a great site with countless freelancing projects. A great resource is the archived freelancing projects which help you get some real-world projects for training purposes.
For freelance programmers, I have compiled a list of ten practical freelancing projects to help you get started on this article. These projects are real projects which were completed by real freelancers for real money. So they are as practical as they can get.
You can find out about more freelancing sites at the following resource on this Finxter blog with more than 60 links sorted by the size of the freelancing sites.
Related Article: What Are the Best Freelancing Sites for Coders?
Freelance Developer Example Learning Projects
Are you frustrated coding dummy projects in order to learn Python? Here are 3 highly practical code projects which you can solve by yourself to improve your skills.
If you want to learn about how much money you can expect to earn as a Python freelancer, grab your free video analysis: “How to Build Your High-Income Skill Python”!
FINXTER email academy reader Jason struggles with the problem of finding practical code projects:
“I want to do “real life projects” but when I read them on Freelancer or Upwork I feel like don’t know where to even start. I feel what would be beneficial for me is to have a list of projects that would resemble real world “getting paid” projects that might be in some kind of order and would give me the skills and confidence and “the instinct” to get out there. These projects would have no instruction, other than what you might get from someone hiring you. They would cover all of the skills that someone would need to at least get the foot in the door.”
As Jason points out: finding practical code projects is a common challenge of millions of Python learners. That’s why I have crawled hundreds of archived Python freelancer projects in 2020 (don’t ask how long I lost myself in this infinite corpus of Python projects) on the Freelancer platform. Ultimately, I have found these 10 best projects to help you gain practical coding skills fast. You can find the full list of projects in my original blog article:
In this article, you’ll learn about the first 3 project examples of the referenced article.
Each of these projects has actually earned money for a Python freelancer in 2020.
You can use the dollar amount of the projects as a proxy for difficulty.
So roll up your sleeves, choose your dream project, and start learning Python now — in the most practical manner there is.
1. Website with Flask and Python for Data Analysis
Project earnings: $200
“The project consists of creating a page with the Flask framework in order to let the user analyze textual data.
The idea is to let the user upload their dataset (in format like CSV, TSV, etc.)
After that have some options to customize the upload (choosing the separator, header existing or not, strings are quoted or not, etc…).
Once the dataset is loaded the user can choose the type for each column (numerical data, strings, etc.).
After that, the user selects the columns containing the verbatims and click on an analyze button.
The data is then pushed to the backend where I’ll have python scripts to do text classification and other Machine learning models that I’ve developed.”
Tip: I would recommend that you simply assume that the analytics part is handled by the client. You can simply use any CSV data you can lay your hands on or create a small file yourself.
2. Need a Python Script
Project earnings: $20
“I need a Python script to post questions to my website.“
Tip: Assume that the questions are already given in a text file and you have to read them line by line. Simply find a website to which you can freely post content (e.g. a collaborative writing service).
Skills: Python, Web Scraping
3. Build a Program/Script to Get Quotes in Real-Time From Other Websites
Project earnings: $200
“I need a script/program that enters user data on other sites in real-time in order to get a quote.
Here is a use case:
A user is on my website looking for renter’s insurance and enters in their personal details.
Once they enter their personal details, this program/script enters those details on 5 other websites of insurance companies and pulls back the price quote from each.”
Tip: first find a few insurance comparison sites and learn how to access them via an API. Decide on the type of user input that is common to all sites (e.g. the age of the user). Now, write a script that takes the user input and asks all insurance comparison sites about a quote for the user.
Bonus: parallelize your script to access the insurance comparison sites concurrently with threading.
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)!
If you want to learn more about the best learning example projects of freelance developers, check out this article:
Freelance Developer Forums and Communities
Freelance developing is snowballing—more and more coders decide to “work for themselves” and smash their well-compensated coding jobs in order to earn even higher rates as freelance developers.
What are the reasons for the double-digit growth rates of freelancing platforms? Many freelance developers name higher hourly rates, no commute time, no bosses, greater flexibility, more experience, and higher work satisfaction as some of the benefits compared to being an employed developer.
However, freelancing can be quite a lonely work environment… IF you don’t get active in forums and other communities with like-minded people. This article shows you the best freelance developer forums and communities.
- #1 Finxter Freelance Developer Mastermind Group
- #2 Freelance Developer Reddit Community
- #3 Slack DevChat for Hackers
- #4 Quora Freelancing Tips and Hacks
- #5 Upwork Community
- #6 Freelancer.com Community
- #7 Talkfreelance
- #8 Home Business Forum
You can find the whole article with more details about each community on the Finxter blog:
Related Article: Top 8 Freelance Developer Forums and Communities
Freelance Developer Education
Freelancing is the new mega trend. And there’s a good reason: more and more companies see the cost benefits of hiring outside expertise by the hour. Much like cloud computing revolutionized the server market, freelancing disrupts the talent market with a pay-as-you go model for businesses. The big benefits for freelance developers are convincing as well: higher pay, more flexibility and freedom, and an increased sense of purpose and learning.
Do you want to become a freelance developer? Joining a freelancing program from someone who’s already been there and done that will save you months, if not years of trial and error and potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars of money you could have earned but haven’t due to a lack of business expertise.
Freelance Developer Udemy
Udemy provides a number of courses tailored towards freelance developing. Yet, the industry-leading freelance developer course that’s most comprehensive is the only course that guarantees success: the FINXTER Python Freelancer Course.
If you want to find the best Python freelancer course, look no further. If you want to keep looking, here’s a quick summary of the best courses for freelance developers:
- Do you want the most complete course on the market that guarantees your first gigs? Check out the FINXTER Python Freelancer Course!
- Do you want a relaxed conversation with a freelance developer who’s already been there and done that? Check out the How to Thrive as a Freelance Developer Course on Udemy!
- Do you want a general course about freelancing (not freelance developing)? Check out Seth Godin’s Freelancer Course!
In the following article, you’ll learn more details about each course that help you decide on the best course for you:
Related Article: Top 8 Freelance Developer Udemy Courses [No-BS Comparison]
Freelance Developer Guides and How-tos
There’s a new guy in town. He’s called freelancing and he’s out for no good.
Freelancing platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr are out to disrupt the organization of the world’s talents. Both platforms grow double-digits year-over-year. The proportion of freelancers in the total population is on the rise. Soon, we may find ourselves in a situation where there are more freelancers than employees!
Do you want to become a freelance developer? Then study the best freelance developing guides presented next:
- The Complete Freelance Developer Guide
- How to Become a Freelance Web Developer in 2020: The Ultimate Guide
- The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Freelance Web Developer
- How to Become a Freelance Web Developer [Tips from Top Developers]
- How to Become a Freelance Web Developer and Land Your First Client
- 5 Steps to Become a Freelance Web Developer
- The Complete Freelance Web Developer Guide: How to Make Money Through Freelance Programming Jobs
- How to Go Full-Time ($3000/m) as a Python Freelancer
- Freelance Developer – How to Code From Home and Earn Six Figures [Industry Report]
- Webinar: How to Build Your High-Income Skill Freelance Developing
ALL LINKS OPEN IN A NEW TAB!
Now, let’s dip into each of those guides in the following article.
Related Article: 10 Freelance Developer Guides Every Coder Must Read
Freelance Developer Course
Here’s a quick overview of the courses addressed in this article:
- #1 Six-Figure Python Freelancer Course: Build Your Thriving Coding Business Online
- #2 How to Thrive as a Freelance Developer?
- #3 Becoming a Freelance Web Developer – The Complete Guide
- #4 Start Your Freelancing Career as a Designer and Developer
- #5 The Freelance Web Developer Course
- #6 How to Start a Freelance Web Developer Business from Scratch
- #7 Freelance Newbie Web Development
- #8 Full-Stack Web Development Program
- #9 Freelance Bootcamp – The Comprehensive Guide to Freelancing
- #10 Seth Godin’s Freelancer Course
- #11 How to Dominate Freelancing on Upwork
Let’s dive into the courses! We used some of the verbatim course information to compile the table of contents and the general course value propositions. This helps you differentiate the courses and choose the one that fits your needs best!
Related Article: Top 11 Freelance Developer Courses
Freelance Developer Book
Freelancing is the new mega trend of our time. Large freelancing platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr grow double-digit—they’re out to disrupt the organization of the world’s talents. And it seems like they’re succeeding!
Do you want to participate in this trend rather than only holding on to your cozy developer job as long as you can? Between you and your freelance developing success is only one thing: education.
This article shows you how to accelerate your career as a freelance developer by presenting you the best freelance developer books on the market. Reading books is among the highest-ROI activity you can do as a self-employed full-time or part-time freelance developer.
So, here’s an overview of the 9 best freelance developer books every coder must read!
- #1 Leaving the Rat Race with Python
- #2 The Software Engineer’s Guide to Freelance Consulting
- #3 Freelance Newbie
- #4 Stop Thinking Like a Freelancer: The Evolution of a $1m Web Designer
- #5 Running A Web Design Business From Home: How To Find and Keep Good Clients and Make Money with Your Home Business
- #6 Secrets to Scale a Highly Profitable Web Design Business
- #7 Rework
- #8 Value-Based Fees: How to Charge – and Get – What You’re Worth
- #9 How to be a Freelance Software Developer: Being Intentional in Being Solo
Read all of them and nothing can stop you!
Let’s dive into the books one by one!
Related Article: 9 Freelance Developer Books Every Coder Must Read
Freelance Developer Podcast
Clever business owners are never too busy to learn something new and improve their business continuously.
I know you are busy yourself but listening to a podcast while going for a walk can hardly be classified as a huge time investment. So, what are the best freelance developer podcasts on the planet?
This article compiles the 7 top podcasts for freelance developers—with a focus on podcasts that are likely to kick off some real improvements in your business!
As a freelance developer, you’re both a freelancer—that is, a business person—and a developer. In this list of 7 high-quality podcasts, we’ve given you some podcasts that teach either one or both.
|Freelancing + Business + Web Development||#1 The Freelancer Podcast|
|Web Software Business||#2 CodePen Radio|
|Web Development + Coding||#3 How to Code Well|
|Remote Online Consultant Business||#4 Offline: Online Business for Consultants, Coders, and Freelancers|
|Coding||#5 CodeNewbie Podcast|
|Business + Productivity||#6 Smart Passive Income|
|Business + Productivity||#7 The Tim Ferriss Show|
Read full article here: 7 Binge-Worthy Freelance Developer Podcasts You Must Listen To
Freelance Developer Blog
The following 5 best blogs on freelance developing teach you how to thrive in this new work environment for decades to come. We selected only blogs that focused on two topics: coding AND freelancing/business. If a blog focuses on only coding or only freelancing, we excluded it from the list.
Here’s a quick overview:
- #1 Finxter Blog — Create Your Thriving Coding Business Online
- #2 Study Web Development
- #3 Upwork Blog – Developers Area
- #4 CareerFoundry Blog
- #5 Treamhouse Blog
Let’s dive into the top five blogs about freelance developing.
Related Tutorial: 5 Binge-Worthy Freelance Developing Blogs Every Coder Must Read
Freelance Developer Quora
Quora is an excellent source for information. However, it is safe to say that the vast majority of information on Quora is relatively low-quality. In this article, we compiled the best questions and great answers from Quora—all around the topic of freelance developing. So, let’s dive right into the first questions!
Read the whole article in the following location on the Finxter blog.
Related article: Freelance Developer Quora – The 4 Best Questions and Answers
Freelance Developer Reddit
Writing the following article about the best Reddit posts on freelance developing was very challenging.
Not because the content is difficult to write about—be assured, it isn’t—but because it involves scrolling through Reddit to find the best posts, comments, and subreddits regarding freelance developing. Have you ever found yourself endlessly scrolling through Reddit?
Well—somehow I accomplished finishing this article despite the distractions on Reddit. A short summary of the three best and most general posts about freelance developing in Reddit:
- Being a freelance web developer
- The Complete Freelance Web Developer Guide: How to Make Money Through Freelance Programming Jobs
- Web Design: Only started in Jan this year, making over $10,000 consistently every month. Lots of lessons… AMA
Do you search for something more specific? Have a look at the table of contents and click on the topic that interests you most in the following article!
Full Article: Freelance Developer Reddit — 30 Posts to Binge-Read
Freelance Developer Tips
There’s a reason why programmers, software developers, and hackers never seem to go out of vogue: Leverage.
What is leverage? A skilled programmer may spend a year writing software which, in turn, automates the jobs performed by thousands of workers. Soon will a program for automated driving destroy billions of today’s and tomorrow’s jobs in the logistics sector. Of course, companies want to automate more work—it’s the only way they stay competitive. As a programmer, you can tap into one of the largest power in the world: computational intelligence.
So becoming a freelance developer is a sustainable, long-term decision that will boost your ability to bring value to the marketplace.
But what are the best tips to double, triple, even quadruple your income as a freelance developer? Let’s have a look at them next!
Here are the tips as a short textual overview:
- Give More Value Than You Take in Payment
- Eat Your Customers Complexity
- Perform From Your Strengths
- Position Yourself as a Specialist
- Be Hyper-Responsive
- Be Positive and Upbeat
- Create a Client List
- Create a Simple Ad Funnel
- Lead Acquisition: Contact One Potential Lead Per Day
- Lead Conversion: Implement Strategy Sessions
- Join Freelancing Platforms
- Use Testimonial Videos on Your Website
- Get the Referral Engine Rolling
- Leave Freelancing Platforms
- Use Systems and Templates
- Know Your Hourly Rate
- Increase Your Hourly Rate
- Contribute to Open-Source Projects
- Market Yourself on LinkedIn, Not Facebook
- Create Your Own Blog
- Give, Give, Give, Right Hook
- Befriend Colleagues
- Be a Coding Consultant, Not a Freelance Developer
- Read More Programming Books
- Read More Business Books
- Seek Expert Advice
You can find a detailed explanation on all of those points on my blog article.
Freelance Developer Tools & Templates
Freelance Developer Job Description
Freelance Developers are self-employed business owners who sell their programming services or software products to clients.
- Responsibilities include consulting about the application of specific programming technologies to the job at hand, creation of software specifications and documentations, creation of programming code, fixing technical error, creating websites, or processing data.
- Requirements of successful freelancers are the amount of additional value they contribute to clients, including a convincing presentation of the return on investment of money spent by clients. The value proposition of freelance developers involve in customer service, adhere to deadlines, communicate frequently and with a positive attitude, position themselves clearly in the marketplace, and developing better business skills and programming skills in the specific areas they target. Many successful freelancers have a computer science degree—although this is not a requirement for success. In fact, an equal number of freelance developers don’t have a degree in a programming-related discipline but come from diverse background such as marketing, economics, or government employment.
- Income: Freelance developers earn between $51 and $61 per hour on average. This translates well into the six-figure range when averaged over all freelance developers in the US. Remote freelancers outside the US can often approximate these earnings by selling their skills on the US marketplace as soon as they’ve reached average expertise in both business and programming areas.
Related Article: Freelance Developer Job Description
Freelance Developer Resume
Click on the image to create your own copy on Google Docs—opens the freelance developer resume template in a new tab in your browser:
Get this Freelance Developer Resume Template in different formats:
- Google Docs for editing: https://docs.google.com/document/d/13PmALgq4LWu29zf67fzuqU2bVa9tSEd4gXgE-afqmXg/copy
- PDF for viewing: https://blog.finxter.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Resume-Python-Freelance-Developer.pdf
Freelance Developer Website
Creating a website as a freelance developer is relatively easy. Here are the five steps that you must complete:
- Domain+Hosting: Create your meaningful domain name—like i-help-you-solve-your-tech-problems.com—and a simple WordPress site using a website hosting service (just Google this to get it done). WordPress is still the best technology that can create beautiful websites in very little time.
- Niche+Customer Problem: Find the specific niche and customer problem you want to solve. Go niche. Go small. Don’t fear being too niched down–that doesn’t exist as a one-person freelancing business. Even a world-market of 2 clients a year will do if they pay you enough money. Don’t miss this step—it’s critical. Read more about finding your best niche here.
- Copywriting: Fill your simple one-page site with a description of how you solve your customer’s problem. Make your value proposition obvious from the start. You can find more business education in my Python freelancer course.
- Trust: Add trust elements to your website. What have you already accomplished in programming? Which websites and projects can they check out? What’s your StackOverflow bio? What’s your Github account? What did your previous employers say about you? Add pictures from you and make yourself human! Go deep into your past and find all valuable things you ever did that help you create trust for this specific customer problem you are targeting.
- Pay: Find a way to get paid. There are plugins to embed a PayPal button—but the best way is to ask for an email. Just embed an HTML button with a
mailtosource attribute. You should have a separate bank account to divide your personal finances with your business finances from the start.
That’s it. You’ll revisit everything from time to time and improve your web presence through feedback and iteration. There are more things to do but you’ll figure them out as they appear. Don’t overthink—just do it!
Freelance Developer Website Examples
Next, I’m going to go over the best website examples of freelance developers I found at various resources (e.g., here).
Freelance Developer Website Templates
Make no mistake, in a highly competitive landscape like the internet, the first impression is vital for your long-term success as a freelance developer. If you choose the right website template in a WordPress-based website, you’ve done the first right step to your freelance success. So, what are the best WordPress templates for freelance developers?
There are plenty of free WordPress themes around—and we don’t see the need to buy a theme, or even create a custom theme for yourself. Instead, why not focus on growing your business and invest in your education—if you absolutely insist on spending money? 😉
“Astra is fast, fully customizable & beautiful WordPress theme suitable for blog, personal portfolio, business website and WooCommerce storefront.“
I use the Astra template myself and it’s a great template. However, you may not like it. Please, if you want to scroll over more templates, find more recommendations in my full article on the Finxter blog:
Freelance Developer Contract Template
Are you either of the following?
- You’re a freelance developer or freelancing agency and you want to offer your services to a client.
- You’re a client and you want to take the service from a freelance developer.
If you belong to either group, you’re in the right place! 🙂
Disclaimer: Before I share the contract templates for freelance developers with you, I’m legally required to tell you that I’m not an attorney (I’m a programmer first and teacher second). So, you cannot take this as legal advice. Instead, I simply share some contract templates with you that I found useful during my own career as a freelance developer.
Based on the contract given at the source, I’ve created a Google Docs contract and a PDF that you can access here:
- Google Docs Template: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mHNWFx-MCfMB1bM-yhOeufFi9T_Gh8TVJmF_1qMuvCg/edit?usp=sharing
- PDF Download: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mHNWFx-MCfMB1bM-yhOeufFi9T_Gh8TVJmF_1qMuvCg/edit?usp=sharing
This contract is 100% based on the excellent resource from Stuff & Nonsense at the following site:
This particular contract was quite useful during my career as a freelance developer earning $100 per hour and more—and I’m very grateful for the great work they’ve put into it. It’s also a contract that doesn’t shy away clients because it’s easy to read, relatable, and authentic. Love it!
You can find more templates in my detailed article:
Related Article: Freelance Developer Contract Templates (Free)
Freelance Developer Invoice Template
Download the Freelancer Invoice Template in the following formats:
- Google Spreadsheet Freelancer Invoice Template
- XLXS (Excel) Freelancer Invoice Template
- ODS (Open Office) Freelancer Invoice Template
- PDF Freelancer Invoice Template
- JPEG Freelancer Invoice Template
Links open in a new tab or download the freelancer invoice template.
Source Article: https://blog.finxter.com/freelancer-invoice-template/
Freelance Developer Templates
Get more work done and feel in control with these helpful freelancer templates. Each template opens in a new tab.
Freelance Developer Branding
You can also read about your personal branding strategy in my detailed blog article:
Related Article: How to Build Your Brand as a Freelance Developer [Ultimate Guide]
Freelance Developer Legal
Let’s have a look at the legal side of being a freelance developer. Not that I’m not an accountant, but a programmer. That’s why you should consult with your accountant or lawyer first!
Freelance Developer Taxes
Taxes is the biggest expense for you as a business owner and as a private person alike.
#1 Your Income Isn’t Taxed—Your Profits Are!
As an employed person, you pay income tax year after year. You know the rule: the more you earn, the more you pay. This holds from an absolute (nominal) and from a relative (percentage) perspective.
As a business person, however, there’s a different formula at play:
Profit = Income - Expenses ---------------------------------- $100,000 = $120,000 - $20,000 (Alice) $50,000 = $120,000 - $70,000 (Bob) $20,000 = $120,000 - $100,000 (Carl)
Alice, Bob, and Carl earn $120,000 per year. They have the same income. However, they reinvest different amounts into their businesses, so they end up with vastly different profits at year end.
Despite their name, income taxes are paid only on the profits, not the incomes. Every legally accepted expense reduces the taxable amount. The taxable amount is a function of the profits, not the income!
Therefore, Alice, Bob, and Carl will pay different amount of taxes:
Alice: 50% of $100,000 ---> $50,000 Bob: 30% of $50,000 ---> $15,000 Carl: 10% of $20,000 ---> $2,000
- Due to her high profit, Alice pays most taxes of $50,000 per year. She works almost half a year for the government.
- Bob pays a moderate amount of only one third of Alice. It’s only $15,000 per year. He works between 1 and 2 months for the government.
- Carl pays only $2,000 per year in taxes. He works only a few days per year for the government.
You can see, plain and simple, Carl has a significantly reduced tax burden.
Action Step: Reduce your tax burden by increasing your expenses.
This leads us to the second tip:
#2 Good Versus Bad Expenses
Expenses are bad and you want to minimize them. Right?
There are bad expenses, but there are also good expenses.
You get the point: Bad expenses are like burning your hard-earned money.
Good expenses are investments and generate future cash flow. Either they generate cash themselves (like the rented office space), or they help generate you more cash (like the increased website conversion).
If you spend money on bad expenses, it is gone and never comes back.
If you spend money on good expenses, it comes back with dividends. I’ve seen many instances where money spend in the “good expense” column doubles or triples over a period of one year. For example, my freelancer course students start with a 50% increased hourly rate and gain more traction immediately. They spend a small and fixed amount of money, like $300—but earn it back week after week after week.
Many very successful companies such as Upwork, Netflix, and Fiverr, spend all the money they earn on good investments (like improving their products), because they know that every dollar they spend comes back as $3 in the upcoming year. That’s their growth engine.
Action Step: Reinvest as much income as you can
#3 Pre-Tax Investments Compounds
If an employee wants to build wealth, they must invest after-tax dollars.
Here’s how it goes: Alice employee earns $100,000 per year, pays 45% taxes to end up with $55,000. After consumption and living expenses, she has only $10,000 left to be invested in the stock market earning 7% per year or so.
While this is a solid strategy, the small numbers involved cannot build wealth fast.
Let’s have a look at what business owner Bob can do differently:
Bob also earns $100,000 but he reinvests $50,000 into his business by hiring an employee that improves the efficiency of his business system. Bob calculates that the return on investment (ROI) will be 50% in one year. So, if Bob spends $1 in one year, he earns back $1.5 in the next year.
Action Step: Build a pretax growth engine by reinvesting as much as you can in a profitable way!
You can read the full tax hacking tutorial on my blog—and watch the YouTube video here:
Related Tutorial: The Unofficial Freelance Developer Tax Guide [for Hackers]
Freelance Developer LLC
“A limited liability company (LLC) is a business structure in the United States whereby the owners are not personally liable for the company’s debts or liabilities. Limited liability companies are hybrid entities that combine the characteristics of a corporation with those of a partnership or sole proprietorship.” (source)
So, if you create an LLC, you are generally not liable for any debt or liabilities of your freelancing business. Most likely, your freelancing business doesn’t need a lot of debt—after all, you’re selling your time for money—however, there may still be liabilities!
For example, you may have signed a contract that requires you to pay for all damages incurred by your software. Yes, you shouldn’t have done it—but assuming you have, if you signed in the name of the LLC, you personally cannot be hold accountable for the potentially devastating liabilities.
What are some advantages and disadvantages of a liability?
|LLC Pros||LLC Cons|
|Limited Liability – If you keep your finances separate and fullfil your duties as a business owner, you cannot be personally held liable. Your personal assets like real estate, stocks, bonds, mutual funds will remain protected even if your business fails.||Limitations of Limited Liability – this is called “piercing the corporate veil” and it means that if you don’t follow the rules of the LLC, a judge may decide that your liability protection will be removed and you, personally, can be held liable.|
|Pass-Through Federal Taxation on Profits – Per default, the profits are not taxed on the company level but are passed through to its owners who then tax them individually. This is an advantage if you have a relatively lower tax rate and it avoids double taxation on the corporate and individual level.||Self-Employment Tax – Per default, you must pay self-employment taxes on the profits of an LLC because it is a pass-through entity.|
|Management Flexibility – The LLC can be managed by one or more owners. This is a perfect structure for partnerships where ownership percentages can be divided in a flexible way.||Turnover – If an LLC partner dies, goes bankrupt, or leaves the company, the company will be dissolved. You need to create a new one and you take over all the leaving partners’ obligations that result in dissolving the LLC.|
|Easy Startup Overhead – It’s relatively simple and cheap—a few hundred dollars—to start an LLC. For the amount of protection it offers, it’s a very cheap way to organize your freelancing business.||Investments – It’s difficult to raise outside capital. This is usually not a problem for you as a freelance developer because freelance developing has only minimal capital requirements.|
|Unproportional Profit Distribution – Members can receive profits that are not proportional to the ownership percentage they hold. This allows you to reinforce members for great work.|
|Credibility – Being an LLC gives you more credibility as a freelance developer. Clients tend to trust you more, as a freelance developer organized in an LLC, for two reasons: you’re an US-based business and you’re a serious business.|
Related Article: Freelance Developer LLC — Is It Smart For You?
Freelance Developer Work Specializations
Freelance Web Developer Online
Freelance Qt Developer
Freelance Quant Developer
Freelance Software Developer
Freelance Java Developer
Freelance Developer Embedded
Freelance eLearning Developer
Freelance Email Developer
Freelance Email Developer Jobs
Freelance Developer Web
Freelance eCommerce Developer
Freelance ETL Developer
Freelance React Developer
Freelance Developer WordPress
Freelance Tableau Developer
Freelance Tally Developer
Freelance Zoho Developer
Freelance Unity Developer
Freelance UI Developer
Freelance Unreal Developer
Freelance Umbraco Developer
Freelance Frontend Developer
Freelance Flutter Developer
Freelance Full Stack Developer
Freelance Filemaker Developer
Freelance Firmware Developer
Freelance Flask Developer
Freelance Frontend Developer
Freelance Game Developer
Freelance Go Developer
Freelance GIS Developer
Freelance Hubspot Developer
Freelance HTML Developer
Freelance Labview Developer
Freelance VR Developer
Freelance VBA Developer
Freelance UI Developer
Freelance Video Game Developer
Freelance Backend Developer
Freelance Blockchain Developer
Freelance .Net Developer
Freelance Mobile Developer
Freelance Magento Developer
Freelance iOS Developer
Freelance IONIC Developer
Freelance Odoo Developer
Freelance Outsystems Developer
Freelance App Developer
Freelance Android Developer
Freelance Angular Developer
Freelance Database Developer
Freelance Django Developer
Freelance Drupal Developer
Freelance Delphi Developer
Freelance Oracle Developer
Hiring Freelance Developers
Freelance Developer Wanted / Required
Freelance Developer Agency
Freelance Developer Region Specifics
Freelance Developer US
Freelance Developer Germany
Freelance Developer UK
Freelance Developer India
Freelance Developer Canada
Freelance Developer Hong Kong
Freelance Developer Philippines
Freelance Developer Australia
Freelance Developer Indonesia
Freelance Developer Ukraine
Freelance Developer Malaysia
Freelance Developer Singapore
Freelance Developer South Africa
Freelance Developer Switzerland
Freelance Developer Dubai
Freelance Developer Berlin
Freelance Developer Gurgaon
Freelance Developer Kolkata
Freelance Developer London
Freelance Developer Leeds
Freelance Developer New York
Freelance Developer Toronto
Freelance Developer Chennai
Freelance Developer Vancouver
Freelance Developer Bangalore
Freelance Developer NZ
Freelance Developer Near Me
Freelance Developer New Zealand
Freelance Developer Newcastle
Freelance Developer Wellington
Freelance Developer in Cape Town
Freelance Developer Melbourne
Freelance Developer Manchester
Freelance Developer Midlands
Freelance Developer Oslo
Freelance Developer Amsterdam
Freelance Developer Sydney
Where to Go From Here?
Enough theory, let’s get some practice!
To become successful in coding, you need to get out there and solve real problems for real people. That’s how you can become a six-figure earner easily. And that’s how you polish the skills you really need in practice. After all, what’s the use of learning theory that nobody ever needs?
Practice projects is how you sharpen your saw in coding!
Do you want to become a code master by focusing on practical code projects that actually earn you money and solve problems for people?
Then become a Python freelance developer! It’s the best way of approaching the task of improving your Python skills—even if you are a complete beginner.
Join my free webinar “How to Build Your High-Income Skill Python” and watch how I grew my coding business online and how you can, too—from the comfort of your own home.