Edited and approved by: Stefan Bradstreet
Freelancing is evidently a term for jobs where individuals work for themselves rather than for a company. Although freelancers may take on a personal contract for companies or firms, they are self-employed. Freelancers are not necessarily committed to a particular employer, long-term. Sometimes, they are shown by a company or a temporary agency that subcontracts freelance labor to clients. Others work independently or use professional associations or websites to get work.
There are many industries, professions, and fields where freelancing is predominant. Examples are writing, graphic design, music, translations, simulation, web design, and computer programming, to mention a few. The aim of this article, as seen in the topic, is to examine how you can make money by freelancing as a developer in the Python programming language.
Programmers make money in various ways; interestingly, a Python developer isn’t an exception. The ways range from working in a company to working as a freelancer for multiple clients. One can also build apps where the customer may have micro-purchases. You can create and sell digital products. You can create YouTube channels or make eBooks and other learning materials for tutoring others in the programming field, which also automatically results in some dollars rolling into your account as long as you are reaching the right target audience and are willing to put in the time to grow your reach and subject expertise in your domain.
However, the most common way to make money as a developer is either by working in a company or working as a freelancer for multiple clients; the latter can be more fun as it provides exposure, multiple sources of income and new challenges coming from different places for people that can be self disciplined and have an entrepreneurial mindset.
Working in a company can fetch good salaries; often, the programmer is expected to be versatile in so many things. So, as a beginner, this may not be the best choice for you, as you are still learning. In the meantime you can read this article on how I went from a premed drop out to working at a top tier company. Spoiler it took a long time and a lot of dedicated work.
However, as you are approaching the intermediary level, you can get employed at smaller tech firms and with the help of teammates and other lead developer, you may be able to learn better on the job and keep jumping up the corporate ladder.
On the other hand, working as a freelancer for multiple clients can fetch more and you have the privilege of applying to only the jobs you can do, without feeling pressured. Freelancing, after some months, can earn you some people’s annual salary in just a month, depending on the type and caliber of clients you get and the level of customer satisfaction you are able to provide, plus the image you’ve built as per your performance. Here, we zero-in on how to make money from freelancing as a Python developer
As common with all coding fields, Python no exception, a Python developer has to equip himself or herself well to offer the best services to clients. Programming is all about solving problems; the more effective the Python developer is, the easier it is for him/her to land good jobs and clients, and the less effective he is the more likely you’ll end your Python developer career before it even begins. To achieve this, the python developer needs to have an area of specialization ( as Python can be used in the development of cool stuff like Automation, AI tech, Applications, and websites) and work at being excellent in the chosen area.
Preparation goes beyond just your technical competence. Be prepared also to meet deadlines, or work with a companies pre-existing team you can collaborate with for projects that demand teamwork or expertise in multiple subject areas.
As a freelancer also be prepared to have price levels and ranges to provide for particular job sets, sizes and patterns. Practice making proposals for various types of applications with estimates that reflect what that kind of work generally demands. It is important to learn to be patient so as to understand the needs of the clients in detail and how to successfully meet their expectations and go beyond, if possible. Being able to surpass what the customer reflects will usually result in better feedback and referrals. As your client base grows you can be more selective on what projects you take and are able to charge higher rates as your work is more in demand.
Having readied yourself quite well as a Python developer, in freelancing, the next line of action is to advertise your abilities. Show the world what you can do. Put it in the market view for the attraction of clients. This can be done via various marketing means.
You can put together a good profile and content on yourself and make it viral on social media handles like facebook, twitter, linkedin, and instagram. Shameless self plug but please feel free to follow me on twitter for new article updates and random tweets on software development. As a bonus putting together a good linkedin profile that calls out any certificates or bootcamps you’ve attended and reflects your portfolio well can result in having recruiters reach out directly to you for the endless stream of tech work that is out there.
You can also share your work and freelance intentions via word of mouth with those you may already have on your contacts as potential clients. Friends and known ones around can be asked to help with this. Sometimes at the start, you may have to do a little free service for some potential clients. Remember, they are just coming and may have a sort of cold feet as to what you can do. A little free service can do just the trick as long as you provide quality and timely work. Now they’ve given you a trial and the trial has actually convinced them. Before you know it, they are giving you deals and even recommending you to others; then you have a queue for your services. Or, you can also consider joining a team of people already established in the field to work on projects together. These may be a small start, but from there you can climb up the ladder and control your own promotions and raises depending on your personal level of dedication and hard work.
Freelancing job websites to start growing your personal brand
Freelancing websites are the most common avenue for aspiring freelance developers or weekend warriors to land clients in this digital, modern age. It’s a known fact many have made good money via this avenue and still are. For those who simply enjoy the freedom of freelancing, and those who want to gain more professional development, freelancing websites are the best places to frequent to start growing your personal brand through reviews and personal referrals. There are many of these sorts of websites around, and among the most popular ones are the following:
- People per hour
- The creative group
- Simply hired
Freelancing website platforms even provide all the tools needed for the freelancer to develop a portfolio and package well in such a way clients are attracted. Some freelancing websites have an area of job specializations they focused on, while some are created to accommodate the execution of any freelancing job available. Their structures and processes, even though may share similar parameters in many areas, differ in policies one from another. Let’s see some little info about the first five in the above listed and thereby see the ones that are highly recommended for a freelancing Python developer to make good cash.
Aquent provides opportunities for freelancers to work remotely or on-site, and their main area of work focus is digital marketing and creative professionalism. They allow for freelancers to find contract-to-hire jobs. They also have free online courses that provide training in practical skills for freelancers
Fiverr jobs aren’t specialized in just an area or field. Any freelance job that can be known to be in existence can be found on Fiverr. On Fiverr, freelancers create their own jobs based on what they are good at. This is called Gig. It’s in your Gig that you explain in detail, what you offer, like the service, price, days needed to complete work, manner of delivery, etc. and in your case, it’s Python programming. Basically, Gig can be referred to as a sales pitch to get an order. Fiverr is one of the freelancing websites that is highly recommended for a python developer seeking to make good cash. The platform is easy to use and it’s one of the most popular freelancing websites around the world. With a good Gig built, the possibilities of landing jobs on Fiverr are quite high. As a beginner, you may have to apply for opportunity by searching for “buyer’s requests”. Here, you pitch your services and ability to someone who needs your services. If you are convincing enough, they will reach you and you can negotiate on the price. If you can win 2-5 customers this way and maintain a 5-star rating, you can be featured on Fiverr’s page of professionals for a few days, at no cost.
People per hour
This is a highly recommended freelancing website for a Python developer as it is specialized on web projects for marketers, SEO specialists, and most importantly, software engineers. The website streamlines freelancing processes by organizing communication and payments between the freelancer and the client. Freelancers can send 15 proposals to clients for free, after which they will need to sign up for a paid plan.
This is a freelancing website that has jobs for every type of freelancer that can be imagined, just like Fiverr. Either your skill is entry-level or you are already an expert in your chosen field, you can still find something on UpWork, thus making it a good place for you to bid for projects where beginner skills can service. The site has over 1.5 million clients and funds are transferred to the freelancer as soon as the client approves that work has been completed. Upwork is another highly recommended freelancing website for a Python developer. You are also expected to apply for jobs. Although some clients may reach you directly through a filtered search on the platform, however, you get a better chance by applying for jobs. The only downside to this is that recently, UpWork requires people to buy “connects”, which are like coins, to apply for a job. Even though the connects are relatively cheap, it may take more than 4 connects to apply for just one job, sometimes, making it annoying.
The creative group
As the name implies, the creative group is for creative professionals in fields like marketing, photography, arts, graphic design, copywriting, etc. Freelancers can be hired here, full time or contract-to-hire. The creative group is part of a large staffing agency.
Time to make your destiny
As a Python developer ready to hit the ground running freelancing, exploring the above tips and information will definitely make a successful freelancer out of you. If you can impress your first few customers, referral would come easily and a good star rating of 4-star and above (preferably 5) would make new people trust your services without having to give away work. This will bring more customers to you and in a short time, you are on your way to making your first $1000 within a few months and more as you learn the ropes.
The only downside to freelancing is that the platform takes a chunk of your money. For many of them, they take 20% off your entire bid fee. So, what you are expected to do is to include the service charge in how much you would bid your client so that you can get the original price worth of the job that you would be doing.
And please, note that apart from the freelancing job sources mentioned and discussed above you can work for yourself selling your own software. Your Python ambitions are not limited to these ones alone. But now you have a place to start from and move to the top. Freelancing has never been easier for any generation as it is in this day of age. Now, it is game on!
About Stefan Bradstreet
Stefan is a Senior Software Developer at Amazon with 8+ years of experience in tech. He is passionate about helping people become better coders and climbing the ranks in their careers, as well as his own, through continued learning of leadership techniques and software best practices.