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How to Make a Living as a Freelance Software Developer

If you have a passion for software development, then becoming a freelance software developer offers a potentially lucrative career choice. Though contracting out your services independently doesn’t provide the security of a salary, having full control over the jobs you take can more than make up for it. Working on your own means you can take on work that fulfills you while charging a rate that may be more than the same work in a salaried position since you’re not working through an employer middleman. To achieve this sort of success as a freelance software developer, you must first build the necessary skillset and connect with the right clients.

Acquiring Freelancer Software Development Skills

While it takes more to thrive as a freelance software developer than programming skills alone, they’re an essential foundation. Education helps you secure jobs, but you don’t need a degree to land a gig as a software developer. Regardless of whether you go to school for software development or learn through other methods, it helps to have excellent coding skills. If you’re starting out, it’s a good idea to begin with a specific framework as a guide; a framework gives you basic coding tools to start with, so you don’t have to program every basic function yourself and can instead focus on the customizations you need for your software. The Spring Framework, a Java-based framework that focuses on web apps, makes a great starting point. While you can also find opportunities available in web and mobile applications, saturation within the mobile marketplace might make it harder to find the work you want within that field.

Connecting With Software Development Clients

When you work as an independent contractor, you spend quite a bit of time looking for work, especially when you’re first starting out. Freelancer marketplaces, such as GigsterToptalUpwork, and Freelancer , give you a quick and easy way to hook up with clients. First, you set up a profile on these marketplace websites, and then you can apply for listed jobs. Clients can also find your profile and contact you directly with work offers. While Upwork and Freelancer allow anyone to sign up, Gigster and Toptal only accept a portion of freelancer applicants.

You can also find clients on your own by direct marketing with cold, aka unsolicited, emails, or you can connect with them on social networks, such as LinkedIn. When you choose these options for finding clients, it helps to have a website set up that lets you show your online portfolio to clients. While connecting with clients this way tends to take longer than through a freelancer marketplace, it can greatly expand your earning opportunities. Because you aren’t competing with other freelancers, you can often find clients willing to pay a higher rate as well. Also, with clients you find and cultivate, you have no middleman taking a fee from what you earn.

Boosting Your Freelance Software Developer Income

You can make money as a software developer in more ways than getting gigs with clients. For instance, if you create useful software of your own and it takes off, you have the potential for passive income through licencing fees. You can also put together a course or write an e-book with helpful information about coding and sell it on your website to make some extra cash. Once you get plenty of experience under your belt, you can even branch out and take troubleshooting jobs with companies that have issues with their proprietary software, for example.

A prerequisite to success as a freelance software developer, coding forms the backbone of your small business. You also need to know how to present yourself well to potential clients. Once you master these skills and have reliable clients for your services, you can seek out other revenue streams in related areas, both to keep your skill set fresh and to keep you excited about your work. When starting your independent business, QuickBooks Self-Employed can help: This app helps freelancers, contractors, and sole proprietors manage their businesses on the go. Download the app for a handy way to track your expenses and revenue.

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