My first year of freelancing

My first year of freelancing

I am writing this article from a frontend developer perspective, as I am one. I have specialized in User Interface, Static Page Generators, WordPress, and page speed optimization.

About a year ago, I started with a freelance career. This experience has changed me as a professional, but also as a person.

Clients

I am a member of Toptal talent network, and most of my clients are part of this formidable networks as well. I worked with seven Toptal clients. I also worked with a couple of Upwork clients. Two of my clients engaged me via my website. I worked as a mentor on Codementor. I also worked on a couple of projects with my friends, pro bono.

Toptal is a private, elite talent network with thousands of members across 100+ countries. Of the hundreds of thousands who apply each year, fewer than 3% gain admission to the network.

In total, I worked with thirteen clients and seventeen mentees.

Clients came from all over the world: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Romania, and Croatia. Most of them were agencies, but I also worked with designers and developers, too.

In my opinion, investing in the relationship with a client is the most critical part. Earning trust from a remote position is not easy. Being kind could take you a long way with your client, and it doesnā€™t cost you a thing.

During my first year of freelancing, I didnā€™t have a single negative experience with any client. ā¤ļø

Getting the job done is also important. Never promise what you cannot deliver. It is okay to say that you need a couple of hours to do research. It is okay to say that you are not the right person for that task. It depends on a project type and the team.

Projects

I worked on various projects last year, mostly on WordPress platform:

I created a couple of styleguides:

  • one for a WordPress-based website for a large real-estate company, and
  • other for a website built using static site generator.

I developed a few websites using static page generators:

I have worked on web speed optimization:

In the spare time, I worked on open-source projects. I published three  simple  plugins and a theme for the Hexo framework, an Angular directive, a JavaScript plugin, and a boilerplate of Gulp tasks.

Problems

Not everything is perfect. Freelancing comes with difficulties. Searching for a job is one of the biggest I came across.

Last summer I had a difficult time to find a client. I created new profiles on different hiring networks. I searched on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, AngelList, newsletters, everywhere.

I found out that biding all over the place is a time-consuming and counter-effective process. I caught myself getting responses (negative ones) from clients that I didnā€™t even remember sending. I became nervous and felt terrible about myself. I was feeling more tired of bidding than when I worked on an actual project.

Eventually, I learned that it is better to bid on a couple of places and invest more time in a more quality cover-letter or application. There is enough job for everybody. The key is to find a proper way to get one.

Lessons

Working as a freelancer is hard, and it isnā€™t for everyone. Many obstacles are on that way. Here is what I have learned in the last year:

  • how to manage time more efficiently,
  • how to become more productive,
  • how to get away from a computer,
  • how to decline a job offer, especially if I am not fully qualified for the position,
  • that saying ā€œI donā€™t knowā€ is OK,
  • it takes time to find a client,
  • it takes time to land a client,
  • it takes time to get paid, and
  • to be kind to others.

Summary

I am happy to be able to share my experience as a freelance developer. Successful freelancing takes time and patience. Luckily that is something that could be learned along the way.

If you like this article, share it with your friends. šŸ‘‹

If you want to become Toptal professional, use this link to join! šŸ”—

Comments:

This site uses cookies to count visitors anonymously.

Powered by Starter Project.