TIPS for a BRAND NEW Freelance Programmer – How to Get Started

TIPS for a BRAND NEW Freelance Programmer – How to Get Started


Hi everyone! Welcome back to the channel
Jaden Feddock here, and today we’re talking about how you can build your
reputation as a freelance software developer now this is something that’s
immensely important and it could be for anyone along the entire spectrum of
freelance development but specifically if you’re just starting in programming
you’ve got some skills you’ve started to learn more about it and you want to
become a freelancer this is for you. If you’re just graduating from one of those
dev schools you really are starting to gain momentum in programming you feel
like you’ve got some projects under your belts this is absolutely relevant to you.
As you start to build that freelancing career or as you start to look for a job
in software development in industry. Now there are also those who have been
freelancers for some time who are now starting to see their client
base dry up and they really want to see more leads, really light that fire once
again so this is for you guys. The desire and the goal of this video is to help
and share some of those things that can help you build your reputation as a
freelance programmer and really start to ramp up the quality and the quantity of
the work that you do. So let’s start by putting ourselves in
the shoes of a potential client. So they’re only looking for a few things at
the end of the day they’re looking for someone who’s good at what they do
someone who can deliver on their promises and someone who’s going to
communicate well. Now I’m pretty sure every client that you’ll ever work with
has had some experience with a freelancer or another worker in general
who has been terrible at communication now this is the easiest thing to get
right essentially all you have to do is make sure you’re communicating well and
consistently with your clients it’s I can’t tell you how important it is to a
client specifically having been both a client and a freelancer to have someone
who’s willing to work with you on a consistent basis where you if you have
an issue you have a question they can reach out back to you as as quickly as
possible now I’m not talking about you know within the hour but a consistent
level of communication and having that decided upfront and continued across the
lifecycle of the project is going to be immensely valuable to you to the
relationship with your clients and the reputation that you gain as a developer
I will say hands down that recommendations from existing clients
are going to be the most important thing you can possibly have and if those
clients see that you’re communicating well they’ll have that good experience
with you because even if problems do arise which they obviously will you’ll
know how to fix them and you’ll be able to work with those clients to present a
solution instead of them feeling ignored essentially if they feel like you’re not
communicating they feel like you’re not trying to help them they’re not going to
be recommending you to their friends and peers but as we said there are a couple
other things as well that those clients are looking for they’re looking for
someone who’s good at what they do and they’re looking for someone who can
deliver on their promises now if someone is good at what they can do this is
going to be a little bit more complicated because you really have to
know your stuff to be a good freelancer but there’s a lot of people out there
that could be very successful freelancers who don’t necessarily think
that they could do it if you just graduated from a dev school or you’re
just starting to learn programming in university or it’s something you have on
the side that you’ve really built into a strong hobby and you’ve built a couple
projects on the side you feel like you can do it I encourage you to get out
there and try it because it’s something that really could benefit you as a
person as a developer and I think it’s something that everyone should try if
they’re looking to become self-employed and really work for themselves.
Especially someone with the skills of a programmer they are very sought-after
and someone who can do it in the right way is going to make a lot of money and
be very successful. So as you start to build out your skills you’re going to
want to create a portfolio. Now usually it’s the first thing a client will ask
for when they’re starting to work with a new freelancer or they’re looking for
future freelancers for their work they’re gonna want to see things that
you’ve done in the past ideally something that’s very similar to what
they want to create. A lot of these clients are working with big businesses
or they’re working with significant code bases that are going to require someone
with a particular set of skills. Now this is where you want to start understanding
a niche now a lot of people talk about niche as far as selling products and
things like that but as a developer you’re going to want to specify your
skills so that you can really market yourself you can also really start to
see growth in that field you can start to see your skills improve in a very
specific set now it doesn’t have to be I only build PHP websites for healthcare
and very specific but it could be something that you can have a technology
stack that you’re good at now that’s something that you can practice and
practice along your current projects which will make you much more successful
much more marketable to future clients but as I said the portfolio is really
what’s going to matter here because that’s what the client is going to see
now they’re gonna see your face obviously you’re gonna meet with them at
some point to talk through the project the details who you are and they’re
going to meet you but then they’re gonna want to see your work they’re gonna want
to see things that you’ve put out so working on things like github and
personal projects are going to be very valuable as you can just send them a
link you can say you know what check out this link whether it’s to your personal
website whether it’s a github where you’ve got some code up there a lot of
clients are not technically inclined so sending them just a github could be
beneficial and it could not be so I would recommend having some things that
have at least parts of a front-end that the client can see whether it’s an app
you put in the App Store whether it’s some website that you have
hosted on your own domain things like that the client is going to like to see
because they’re visual you can work with them you can see that this developer
knows what they’re talking about so building that portfolio is definitely
high on your priority list for building your reputation as a software developer
in this industry. Okay so let’s talk about process now we mentioned that
client is really looking for someone who can deliver on their promises so when we
can say okay I’m gonna build this by this date and they can get it done now I
don’t mean to say that there aren’t going to be any issues in your
development process this happens all the time there are delays there are
unforeseen events that could happen either on the client or the developers
side so that’s why you want to build that relationship in case those things
happen but you should also have a great plan in place for how you’re going to
get this done now that plan can be long and very detailed or it can be short and
very simple but it’s something that you need to have in writing with the clients
and as you communicate you can start to update that as necessary when things
arise but at the beginning of a project you want to get as many details as you
can in writing from the client so you can say okay this is what we were
working on and you can take that back and start to develop off of those specs. Now as you’re starting to work and develop as a professional freelancer
these are things you’re gonna want to keep in mind. I actually have a quick
video on six tips that you might want to look at all I’ll put that right over
there (top right) the things that you might want to keep in mind as you’re starting your
career in software development but when you’re really getting into building code
for a client you want to make sure that you’re keeping things consistent and in
accordance with best practices now not everyone codes the same way and I
appreciate that everyone has a different style but you should always back things
up with tried-and-true software development practices for example
delivering early and often so a pretty agile methodology but essentially you’re
just working with the code and you’re continuing to deliver new code to the
client now that means working with something that’s basic starting or
something that’s really just a shell and continuing to iterate off of that
instead of waiting till the very end to display something to a client now
there’s a lot of value in this because very often clients don’t have an exact
understanding of what they want and that’s fair if you’ve ever wanted to
work on a project you know that that evolves over time there are things that
can change so you’re gonna want to again keep up that communication but it’s
something that you want to keep delivering smaller iterations to that
client and they can say you know what I love this let’s go in this direction and
that can happen much sooner in the process and not delay the project nearly
as much. Another aspect to the process that is quite difficult is the very
first part now I mentioned you want to have some detailed plans up
front but that can be very difficult for a lot of people especially new
developers so I wanted to talk about how to estimate these projects how to start
understanding how long something takes but I’ll probably have to get into more
detail of that in another video but suffice to say right now you should have
some experience from a personal project that you built for your portfolio
keep careful notes of how that went how long it took you how long you were able
to work per day and those things will be very helpful to you as you start to plan
out a process in the future now one of the most common ways to estimate is to
break things down to their most simple tasks so setting up one webpage adding
CSS to a website or just even a single form working with individual pieces of a
site you can say and understand how long that will take you maybe it takes you 1
hour to build the skeleton for one page in PHP if that’s the case and you know
there’s going to be a 40 page website you can start to calculate the things
that you’re going to need the time of you might need to work on that project
now be very careful as well to give the client an accurate estimate of the
calendar days that it might take you to build this application now that could be
more significant than you think and always plan for additional time for
testing and for setup at the very beginning of a project you’re gonna have
to spend some time setting up your environment making sure all your
dependencies are in order you get what you need as far as details from the
clients and that takes time a common mistake that I see new freelancers make
is that they’ll assume that they’re going to start development on day 1
which almost never happens because there’s a lot of stuff that has to line
up before you can start that project so make sure that you’re allowing yourself
some time at the beginning usually it’s five to ten percent of how long that
project is going to take overall to get everything set up and clean before you
actually start development that will significantly help you with a great
foundation for your project in general estimating cost is definitely at least
as difficult as that now you’re gonna be thinking about how many hours it’s going
to take you you’re also going to be multiplying those hours by the rate that
you expect now if you’re a brand new freelancer learning to price your time
and your services is very very difficult again more videos are coming on these
specific estimation processes, how
you should charge as a freelancer so make sure to hit the SUBSCRIBE button so
you don’t miss out on those videos but in this video we’ll talk about cost as
either an hourly rate or a daily rate which I see recommended by quite a few
people I actually am starting to move toward that method myself it’s something
that where you’re you’re essentially encapsulating your work into days
versus hours it can really help you with the client relations because they’re not
as stickler on the specific hours that you spend on things you’re really saying
this is the amount of days that I can work on this project and this is how
much I would charge per day for my work this is a little bit more complicated
than using the hour method as you’re estimating with pieces of a project but
it can be more helpful to those client relations so it’s something that we’ll
definitely discuss in future videos as well. Okay so the final thing that I want
to talk about in this video is prospects know at the end of the day you need to
get clients you need to find someone who is willing to pay you for your work now
if you’re a developer you’ve done all the things we’ve already talked about
your great at communication you’re great at working through a process with a
detail of plan you really start to understand building your portfolio
building something that’s specific into a niche that you can do well, now you’re
really just looking for clients so I would say these days it seems like
everyone’s saying that if you put yourself on the internet people will
just flock to you and you’ll be able to get work out of that but I have not
found that to be the case so I would not recommend just expecting that once you
put up a website you’ll start to get clients I even wouldn’t recommend too
much of the advertisements that a lot of people are talking about so putting in
Google Adwords, and Facebook Ads, things like that because generally the people
that are looking for freelancers on advertisements and things like that are
really just looking for price over anything else and you’re not trying to
compete on price you’re not trying to be the cheapest developer because the
cheapest developer is unlikely to provide the quality that a client is
looking for not saying to price your services exorbitantly, but at the end
of the day you don’t necessarily need to be the cheapest developer you need to
provide at least as much value as you’re charging ideally significantly more and
then the client will be much more pleased with your services but in order
to get those clients reach out to your network make sure that people that you
work with every single day know that that’s what you do. You interact with a
significant amount of people each day and you want to build
reputation for yourself you want people to know that you are a software
developer you’re good at what you do you’re more than happy to help people
out with any small projects that they might have. Everyone that you meet
probably works with a different company and those companies could need small
things here or there and they could contract to you for that work. Especially
as you’re learning it’s going to be much better to work with someone that you
know as you’re starting to build those skills as a freelancer so I would
absolutely recommend reach out to people you know use social media use the
context that you already have to start working with your first clients when you
just get it when you’re just getting started now this is specific to the
people that are beginners in freelancing start with a single client. Maybe you
won’t make quite as much money as you will in the future but realize that
you’re building that communication you’re building all of these different
skills that you’ll use in the future and if you can really nail it down with one
client and focus in on that client you’ll do so much better over the long
run. Okay so we’ve talked on quite a few things in this video we’ve talked about
portfolios we talked about how to plan your process how to work to get
prospects a lot of different things communication how to email with the
client this is all quite a bit of stuff for you to keep in mind and remember but
feel free to go back and reference different things write things down that
you’re working on so you can continue to have those goals and to improve the
freelance work that you do but I’m excited for you let’s continue this
journey together I think that freelancing is something that everyone
should at least try to do because it is a way for you to become self-employed
first of all and really showcase the work that you can do in the value that
you can bring as an individual so I think that that’s an excellent path for
a lot of people and I’m excited to hear about how it goes for you if you have
any additional tips anything that you think other people should know as well,
please leave those in the comments section below and we’ll go ahead and
read those everyone else will be able to see the great tips that you have for
them and if you like this video please don’t forget to give it a thumbs up and
subscribe to the channel and we will see you very soon in the next video! Thanks!

2 thoughts on “TIPS for a BRAND NEW Freelance Programmer – How to Get Started”

  1. Freelance programming is the best! Let's all start becoming better freelancers 👊🏼

    Also… bonus points to whoever can name all three cars that are on my screensavers!

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