Can a developer with minimal experience make a full-time income and make a living doing freelancing from freelancing marketplaces like Upwork?
An average developer who is willing to learn will do exceptionally well as a freelancer. He or she not only will make the full-time income doing freelancing, but chances are it will be easy to beat the amount as well.
So, the short answer to the question is yes.
But the point is, will you make the same amount of money the day you leave the job and decide to be a freelancer?
The answer is more towards no than tending to yes.
Getting into a job for developers needs good technical knowledge.
But to be a freelancer, it isn’t all about the knowledge.
The most important aspect isn’t the skills that you may have or can learn but the attitude towards being a freelancer.
One can learn skills, but if you don’t have the right attitude, it is impossible to be a freelancer.
So it does not matter if you are a PHP developer or C++ developer or a node.js developer. What matters is your attitude towards being a freelancer and a willingness to learn the needed skills.
I meet so many developers and freelancers who make anywhere between ₹10,000 ($150) to $10,000. Most of them even aren’t very good at programming and still doing fine as freelance developers.
If you have the right attitude and willingness to be a freelancer, you can always learn the needed skills.
More often, I get this question – I am unable to get my first client to start freelancing. If you still haven’t got your first freelancing client, what is the root cause of not getting it in the first place?
Is it that no one gets their first client now? Even if one person is getting his or her first client, what did they do differently? How did they manage it?
Your process may be wrong, you may be doing it wrong, but more importantly, if you keep on doing what you are doing will fetch you your first client? If your answer is no, are you making a move towards getting your first client?
Why Am I Able to Make Full-Time Income Doing Freelancing
Is it all about money?
The answer is no.
But that doesn’t mean you need to starve to be a freelancer.
So first let me take the financial dilemma out of the equation.
The reason I am sharing my earning is not to boast of what I can or have done. But, to make you feel comfortable that developers can make a better than full-time income doing freelancing and that too only from freelancing sites like Upwork.
I am no guru. If I can manage it, any developer who has the right attitude and is willing can. So Let me share what I did so you can achieve a similar screenshot for your Upwork Profile as well.
1. I Refuse to Give Up On Freelancing
When I started, I owned a few reasonably large forums. They were making enough money for me to make a living.
I didn’t give up on freelancing.
Though it was not a significant source of income then, when the traffic to forum took a nosedive, freelancing became the primary source of income for a long time.
Slowly blog income picked up. Still, I continue to work for clients.
Because it adds to my overall income at a price, I am okay working for them. Yes, you heard it right – without much effort on my end.
2. I Decide the Size of Project I Want To Work On
More significant development projects are usually higher pay projects but also needs more time and effort from my end.
I have a couple of blogs to manage and yet make some extra income doing freelancing. So smaller jobs are perfect for me. They help me have ample time in between projects to work on my blogs and learn something new in between.
The most significant advantage of dealing in low ticket size projects is, they are low on competition from companies and agencies.
So if you want to make a full-time income doing freelancing, decide what type, size, and kind of projects you want to work. There is an ample amount of work for you to pick and choose.
3. I Dictate the Price
Many developers are of the view, freelancing marketplaces are price war, but it is a total myth.
Clients do not choose the one that has quoted the lowest. It is all about how well the proposal highlights the expertise.
As a developer, my hourly rates aren’t on the lower side. Still, I have more work than I possibly can handle, and it has been the case for a very long time now.
So I charge clients premium rates for being professional and maintaining the quality.
Show your expertise in the proposal, and price becomes a secondary aspect.
Every client I know selects the best-suited person for the task and not the cheapest. And if you happen to find clients who are selecting the more affordable options, it is time to ditch the niche and move on.
4. How Much I Work for Clients
I only choose the best projects for myself that helps me learn and move ahead on the learning curve at a price I am comfortable working.
If I have a hectic schedule for my work or an extended family vacation, I decline a new job and even let my existing client know about my weekly hours’ availability.
Many freelancers think it may hamper reputation, but on the contrary, many clients thank me for letting them know of my availability well in advance.
I not only set up my working hours but also my working weeks to dedicated more time to my blogs, especially BizTips.
One of the main reasons for my success as a freelancer being able to generate full-time income is, I work less for the clients but more for myself even when I am working for them.
I dedicate more time to learning new programming languages.
I have moved from Surat to Kolkata without having any impact on my income. I can deliver my work from the comfort of my home.
But the best part of freelancing isn’t able to work from home. I can dedicate time to my family.
So, I don’t give up on freelancing and continue making a decent amount of money helping my clients grow their business.