Qualified, skilled, and experienced software developers are an asset to many businesses. If you’re looking to start a side hustle, freelance or find work as a gigster, then software development is a great path to go down. But how do you become a successful freelancer? And what do you need to do to find clients as a software developer? Here are ten tips that will help you turn your fledgling side hustle into freelancing success.
The vast majority of clients want to work with software engineers who are qualified. Therefore, you’re likely to find more work if you have a bachelor’s degree in a related discipline, such as computer science, programming, or mathematics. Not only is a degree an excellent way to prove your credentials to prospective clients, but it will also teach you the required skills to perfect your role.
Learn Your Trade.
Intern/Volunteer/Work for Free.
Software developer jobs are relatively hard to come by, particularly at the entry level. If you’re hoping to start out as a freelance software developer or are looking to earn money from a side hustle, you will need to get some actual experience under your belt. In the early days, you might need to spend a couple of months interning or volunteering at a company, so you can then use that experience to your advantage. If you’re a freelancer, doing a couple of projects for free in exchange for detailed feedback and testimonials is also a smart move.
Collab with Other Developers.
If you’re struggling to land clients yourself in the early days, consider reaching out to other developers for collaborations. As you will be aware, programming gigs tend to be time-consuming, so you might find that busy developers are willing to take on freelancers to help them out. Also, think about reaching out to experienced developers on Radial Hub to enquire about their workload and offer them a helping hand on a project they’re currently working on.
Build a Portfolio.
As you begin to complete projects for clients, even if they’re collabs or freebies, you need to put together your portfolio. This should serve as a place that potential clients can visit to find out all about your experience and to view your credentials. You can use a freelance marketplace like RadialHub to create a profile that is rich in text, audio and video for free. It’s important to include the following on your portfolio as a developer:
- Detailed and verifiable testimonials from clients.
- Evidence of published projects.
- Links to your side hustle or freelancer profile.
- Details of your fees and how to hire you.
Contribute to Open Source Projects.
Contributing to open-source projects as a freelance software developer is an excellent way to build your credibility and add to your portfolio. Look for projects that are in their infancy and gaining in popularity, as these tend to have fewer lines of code and are easier to get involved with as a rookie developer. Look to fix bugs, and be sure to document your successes on your side hustle portfolio!
Optimize Your Freelancer Profile.
Just like your portfolio, your freelancer profile is vital to your success as a freelance software developer. Once you’ve signed up for your profile on RadialHub, it’s time to optimize your profile so clients can find you. To create an attractive freelancer profile for your side hustle, you will need to:
- Showcase your qualifications, skills, and experience.
- Highlight your programming preferences and coding language skills.
- Exemplify your work by describing the projects you’ve worked on.
- Include any testimonials and reviews left by clients.
Develop Your Social Networks.
It won’t surprise you that successful software developers tend to be active across social networks. Professional networks like LinkedIn are excellent places to showcase your talents and look for potential clients. Once you’ve completed a project, ask your clients if you can connect on LinkedIn and ask them to leave a recommendation on your profile. The more recommendations you have, and the broader your social networks, the more chance you will find work in the future.
Ask for Feedback.
Feedback is a critical component of any freelancer’s success. To transition from a part-time side hustle into a successful freelance software developer, you need to ask for, listen to, and act on feedback that you receive. But remember, there’s a difference between feedback and criticism, so not all client feedback will be helpful. But the more feedback you receive, the better placed you will be to improve your role as a freelancer.
Publish Your Reviews and Testimonials.
Although we’ve touched upon this already, it’s important to reiterate the point. Reviews and testimonials are the basis upon which your side hustle or freelance business is built. Compiling impressive client reviews and testimonials shows that you’re trustworthy and capable and will guarantee you more business in the future. Make sure your reviews are present on your freelancer profile, portfolio, and professional and social networks.
Skilled software developers have an excellent opportunity to make money as freelancers. Hopefully, you can use the ten tips introduced above to your advantage and turn your side hustle into a successful software development business.