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Want to Be a Freelance Developer? Read This First

DZone 's Guide to

Want to Be a Freelance Developer? Read This First

See how a developer made the journey from employee to becoming his own boss.

· Web Dev Zone ·
Free Resource

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It’s been almost a year since I quit my last full-time job and got into freelance development. Since we live in the era of the internet, becoming your own boss has never been easier. Notice that I said easier... not easy. 

I feel like a lot of people are getting into freelancing or are considering quitting their full-time jobs and jumping into the world of self-employment. I was inspired to write this article because an old friend of mine reached out to me a couple of days ago. Her friend wants to become a freelance web designer and is looking for some advice. 

I promptly agreed to do a quick call with her. I believe it’s good to help people out whenever possible. Then, I decided to put my thoughts into writing, as she’s not the only person who can potentially benefit from my experience.

In this article, I will tell you about my transition period from full-time employee to freelancer.


You may also like: Be a Freelance Developer? You're Asking the Wrong Question.

Preparation Period

It took me around 12 months to quit my full-time app developer job. This may seem like a lot of time. I’m not saying that it’s necessary to spend this much time preparing to jump ship either. I may have been overly cautious but quitting my job seemed like a very big deal to me at the time. 

I always knew that I wanted to work for myself, so I made a plan. I needed a portfolio website to showcase my work and a first paying customer. 

That’s when I registered a new domain and got to work. I reached out to a business owner who I knew needed a website and offered my services for free. They gladly accepted and that was the start of it all.

At that time, I worked my standard 9 to 5. Then, I went home working on the side projects in the evening and on the weekends. Once I delivered this website and updated my portfolio, I received a phone call from another business that saw the website I created and asked if I could make one for them. 

I gladly accepted, and that was my first paying customer. 


The Big Day

This went on for a year until the moment when my portfolio consisted of a few nice websites, and I had a big app and website development project lined up. 

While I was doing all of this I made sure I lived a frugal lifestyle. I didn’t have much time to spend any of my money, but I made sure not to buy a new car or anything expensive which would make a dent in my savings. I strived to accumulate enough money to ensure I could survive for at least 9 months without getting paid. This may have been a bit excessive, but you can never know what comes up. (I am now a year into my freelance journey and luckily I didn’t have to use any of my savings!) 

With my shiny portfolio and a financial safety pillow at hand, I knew the day had arrived. It was time to hand in my notice of resignation. 


Conclusion

Becoming a freelance developer may seem scary at first. Especially if you have always had the safety of a full-time job. The beauty of most full-time developer jobs is that whether the company is making or bleeding money, you are getting paid. 

Unfortunately, you do not have this guarantee as a freelancer. Nonetheless, I would not go back to a full-time job unless I had to. Being a freelance developer makes you assume a larger responsibility for your own destiny, and for me, it was the right thing to do. 

Becoming self-employed may not be for everyone, as it entails meeting customers, filling in invoices, signing contracts, and filling in taxes. On top of it all, you must find the time to code and design. 

In the next article, I will write about what I have learned in the first year of freelancing. It was a year of challenges, growth, and a few unexpected surprises. 

Did you have a similar experience? I’d love to hear about it below! 


Further Reading

Topics:
freelance ,web developement ,app development

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