How to become a freelancer from a programmer working in an office, experts say

I will share my experience of freelance. I was a freelancer three times, while 2 times I left work at the office in freelance.

The first time freelance began in parallel with work in the office – friends suggested a web-project. I started doing it in parallel with work. Then came the crisis of 2008, salaries were cut at work, and I quit. Went completely into freelance. I found all the projects through friends. I had 2-3 projects in parallel. It was a lot of money, it was not at all. Constantly had to remind customers to pay.

The second time, in parallel with my work, I began to study Android development and tell my friends that I was doing this. One of the friends suggested the project – he was ready to pay a little money and take an inexperienced person to develop. As a result, after 3 months I posted my first application on Google Play. This year, unfortunately, Google banned the application, because their privacy policy has changed, and the application has just collected sensitive data – this was the main function of the application. But I still left this application in my portfolio and I explain to all customers why it is now unavailable.

The third time I did not plan to be a freelancer. But at some point at work, they began to cut all the heads of departments and projects. I had to leave by agreement of the parties. He was actively looking for a new job, posting a resume on and responding to all the jobs I was interested in, and went for interviews. In one of the vacancies it was written that they were waiting for the evaluation of their project. I appreciated the project, contacted them – so began my new freelance project. Then after a couple of weeks in a mailing list from friends I saw that they were looking for a developer. I offered myself, also conducted an analysis of the project, described in detail how much my services will cost. Then I met with the customer – he brought down the price by 2 times (yes, we also have to be prepared for this), and we started working. At the same time, I greatly reduced the list of works and I had a universal excuse for any customer proposals that this was not included in the halved amount.

There were frank project failures. For example, I took up a startup and at first they promised me a mountain of money. He made a layout, a prototype and asked for money. The customer first said that he could not pay yet, that he would pay later. And then he generally said that he first needs to fully launch this project, and then after a few months, when the project will bring money, he will pay me. As a result, we parted with this customer (then I found out that I was not the only one to whom this customer did not pay for the work). Since then I have been doing something minimal for the customer and asking for an advance. I don’t work without an advance.

Of the exchanges, I have only tried so far – a great place for small part-time jobs. At one time, he earned 500 rubles for testing a Samsung phone, and then earned 700 rubles for creating a data model for some kind of medical project. He spent about 200 rubles searching for these jobs. Of the large projects, he participated only in the creation of a chat bot, but did not manage to show the result (they took another person), although for me it was an interesting experience. I was also offered to work in one web-project, but they paid very little, demanded a lot, and the manager was engaged in micromanagement, which annoyed me very much – as a result, I refused this project.

As for the qualification tests on exchanges, I can’t say anything, since it was not on exchanges that they passed them. But if you can pass the tests perfectly, I think this will be a huge plus. For example, I have many diplomas about the various courses I have taken – they are indicated in my resume, and this positively affects the customer’s opinion of me.

In total, to start working as a freelancer without experience, you need to tell all your friends what you are doing now. And it’s better to write about it in all social networks. And constantly expand the circle of contacts so that as many businessmen as possible are surrounded – they will be customers. After some time, the first projects will appear – this may take six months. Yes, acquaintances are likely to pay a little, but it will be a great experience for a portfolio. And you need to be able to communicate with people, listen and hear them, find out their needs, bring them benefits, solve their problems, agree. With a portfolio you can already go to exchanges. You can, of course, go to exchanges without a portfolio, but then the probability that they will choose you is significantly reduced.

In any case, I wish readers success in freelance! And remember that constantly moving in one direction, after a while you can achieve a lot in it.

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