How I became a freelancer. Useful tips

Hi everyone, my name is Andrew and I’m a freelancer. I think I’m a pretty good freelancer, as I often get newbies who ask me,
“Andrew, how do I become as cool as you?” In a couple of years I learned PHP, CSS, HTML, Drupal, node.js and many more incomprehensible words, I can do everything, but no one writes to me, tell me, teach, show, share experience.

In this article (by the way, this is the first experience of writing any more or less serious material or article), I want to tell my story. Who I am, what I am, how I got into the world of freelancing, and also share tips, observations, my vision of this amazing world with freelancers and customers. So.

I worked for many years in one not the smallest Ukrainian bank as an IT manager. I got to it less than 2 years after coming to the banking sector. I am very good at administering all sorts of different systems, which combined with a little correct laziness gives excellent results. It’s better to do it once and for all than how, but every week to come back and fix the jambs. This, by the way, works in all spheres of activity. Worked long, well and successfully. The systems that were built, successfully live to this day and are remembered with good words and logs of their creator.

The work was very interesting and exciting, paid well and on time. The first swallow with thoughts that something needed to be done came when the dollar suddenly turned 12. And the salary in hryvnias remained the same, you will agree, when even at the coolest job there is a situation when you can no longer afford Scottish on Friday, it is a little depressing.

Naturally, I have programmer friends who receive salaries in foreign currency. I used to think that programming is such a boring thing, when a bunch of people sit in an openspace and everyone cuts some little bolt in some huge corporate colossus, and then they all get together for scrum, agile and other terrible meetings that take up more than half of the working time.

I read the Internet and decided to try PHP (they said that it is the language with the easiest entry) to earn a million, only in dollars. I downloaded some textbook, programmed all sorts of calculators and… I abandoned the whole thing. Well, boredom, I thought, why not take and buy a ready-made application, and use it for your own purposes, because all the code in the world has already been written. And he continued to download the demon hunter in Diablo 3, as all systems work and are debugged, and there have been no force majeure for a long time.

When the game was played through all the classes, I began to look for a source of inspiration so that my brain would not rust and give it at least some tension. And the dollar was already about 20. I remembered about the same PHP, pumped up video lessons from the Internet, from the second time it went, I liked it. A week later (!), I wrote a gateway for the bank to integrate with the SMS service in order to notify customers about some events. It worked the first time, saved people a lot of time. I loved it.

And one day the brain was just tired of coming up with its own tasks, so uninteresting, I thought. I went to the forum and offered everyone his services for free. For some reason, no one needed it. I sent a resume to many web studios, indicating that I am ready to work for free, but remotely. For the sake of at least some experience. Out of about 50 resumes sent, 3 people responded. They all, as if under a copy, sent some hellish layout in the PSD with nightmarish words that you need to complete all this adaptively, cross-browser, and also pull on the CMS. I didn’t even know what a CMS was. I downloaded the top ten most popular, put them on free hosting and began to methodically try to do something there. Again, without real tasks, it’s boring and tedious.

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I liked opencart’s consistency. I went to the same forum and wrote that I will do to everyone who wants a free online store. The effect exceeded all expectations. All the merchants of the forum scored the limit of private messages in a matter of hours. Wow! Everyone needs an online store! I chose a couple of adequate personalities, told them why such generosity and went into battle. It turned out to be torture, because people didn’t want what I expected. They needed to stuff a few thousand items into the store, make a logo and adjust the hat. I want to say that I fulfilled the promise, the stores still made and 1 even still works.

It was boring. I decided to try freelancing. I used to think that freelancing is such sites where people are just looking for beggars, schoolchildren and students to make them some small work for a penny, because in web studios to paint a button starts from $ 50. It suited me. I was ready to work for free to get new tasks and challenges.

I registered on all the sites that exist and began to try to delve into what it is in general and how it works.

I immediately warned customers that I am a beginner, I can try, I do not ask for money, and I do not break anything because I know how to make backups. I was trusted by several people. To my delight, I succeeded. I tried probably all the CMS in the world, did all sorts of different things, and people left good reviews about my work and even paid some money, although I did not ask.

I loved it. It was as if I was playing a computer game with new tasks every day, noticed that the tasks began to become a little more complicated, began to understand many terms and sometimes determine immediately whether I could do it or not. And people did not pay for beer, but not for bread, because I tried very hard and performed tasks quickly and efficiently.

The war came, the dollar became 25, the banking system began to collapse and one day I decided – burn it all with fire, constant stress, penny payment, there is no fate, as Sarah Connor said. I figured that if I did all sorts of tasks not 1-2 hours a day, but 8 – I would get about half of the bank salary, but freelancing had many advantages that covered all dreams of returning back. Yes, and I can do a lot of things that pay a one-time fee, but a lot, freelancing was seen as an opportunity to do these very things and knead the brain for my pleasure. And he quit, made himself an office on the balcony. Now I have a mini office 15 minutes walk from home.

I would like to mention two users of who have greatly influenced my current freelancing career.

These are Dima and Oksana, thanks to them I realized that there are people who are not looking for slaves, but people for work. Thank you!

Then there was just learning, development that never ends and continues right now.
Here’s my story.

Now I have accumulated more than 600 positive reviews on different resources, many great friends, colleagues, just good people, regular customers. Thank you and, this is the best venue I’ve seen.

Now I will try to tell the most noticeable pros and cons of this whole case and give some advice to people who are on different sides of the freelance barricades. Based solely on personal experience.

Okay. 😃

  • A truly free schedule. To go somewhere or go – you do not need to ask the boss. Or it’s just not possible when there’s a rush.
  • You choose who you work with and when.
  • Payment. This is a separate topic, in short, it grows every minute. You either do more complex things or simpler ones just faster. No need to go to the authorities, humiliate yourself and explain that if the dollar has grown 2 times – the salary should be raised at least by 500 UAH. And it is not a fact that they will raise it.
  • Mood. It does not depend on the mood of your boss in the morning.
  • Road. No need to commute. Even if it is 2 hours a day, an hour there and an hour back, in a year it turns out to be about 220 working days12 months – 480 hours! That’s 20 days a year you sit in a stuffy minibus or behind the wheel just to get to work.
  • You can sleep as much as you want.
  • No need to put on a suit every morning.
  • When there is a storm outside the window, it is cool to look at people running through puddles with umbrellas and drink a cup of freshly brewed coffee.
  • You eat anything, anytime, not just food from establishments that are 5 minutes walk from your work, because you will not have time to return from lunch.
  • Rest when tired, not when 13.00
  • You don’t hang out with idiots and you don’t spoil your mood.
  • Freedom from corporate hassles.
  • New tasks and adventures every day.
  • Here, brains do not soar because of a 10-minute delay and do not fine for a lot of smoke breaks.
  • You make your own workplace the way you like.
  • You can really make a million! It’s all up to you!
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Bad 😞

  • No corporate buns like vacation, sick leave, bonuses, etc.
  • Lack of stability in payment.
  • Lack of live communication.
  • The need to motivate yourself, to make yourself work, well, how can you sit down and rivet the edits when lunch is on the clock and you have a cold English beer in the refrigerator. It took me about a year and a half.
  • There is a big risk of not getting paid for your work – use Safe!
  • We really need to work 😊.
  • There are bad customers. Not throwers, but those who do not know how to explain, and then make demands about what they did not agree on.
  • There are kidals.
  • You need to constantly look for orders.
  • To be an orchestra man. You are a manager, and technical support, and that guy who sits all the time at the computer with a smart look, and an accountant.
  • No experience working with colleagues. I honestly tried to find a colleague, because it’s cool, you can do a lot of work together. The first times are cool, and then the diseases of all freelancers begin, the cat got sick, turned off the Internet and the like.
  • It’s hard to get started.
  • If you work at home, be prepared that everyone will constantly need something from you.

It seems that working in an office or somewhere else is boring. Sometimes so, but I believe that it is necessary to work somewhere in a serious organization or a few five or ten years. This greatly develops a lot of skills – responsibility, communication, the ability to act in various conditions, including critical ones. For example, I have experience in raising the bank from 0 to working condition on Saturday and Sunday. On freelancing, such a project is clearly not to be obtained 😊.

Now let’s move on to the tips, how to make sure that everyone is happy? After all, everyone knows that freelancing is not sitting with a MacBook on the beach or in the pool, as it seems to most beginners and there are a lot of pitfalls here.

Tips for a freelancer:

  • First and foremost. Don’t be lost!! Even if it’s midnight on the clock, and some strange people write to you – answer them, you took the time to read the message. It will be enough to write – yes, okay, tomorrow I will look. And look. They can become regular great customers seeing that a person tries to be in touch (but don’t overdo it)
  • Work well! If you can not do something – do not make crutches, write to the customer that you do not know how to do this, he will see that you are an adequate person and will give another job
  • Get the job done on time! If you do not have time – write, I do not have time, here is a discount. Don’t be silent, don’t call unrealistic deadlines
  • Try to take on a difficult job, you will learn a lot. But warn that the part will have to be mastered in the course of the case, usually the customer is ready for this.
  • Never! Hear me, never! Don’t write boilerplate answers. This only suggests that the person has not even read what the customer needs. You can see for yourself how many reviews such people have (and this is the most important measure in this market and your reputation) and what projects they performed. Usually none
  • If you don’t like something, immediately refuse this work, right now
  • If you took a project for one amount, but something went wrong – do it at any cost, it happened that for 200 UAH I had to sit for three days, the puzzle was not as simple as it was seen. Don’t ask for extra payment for this, just say that you underestimated yourself a little. The customer will appreciate it.
  • Write competently, politely and restrainedly. If you can’t, use verification services. No one will scold you for extra commas, but if you write that you are a professional, it is unlikely that this project will be yours. If the customer is excellent, the conversation will then turn to “you”
  • Try to interest the customer in something, try to stand out from the crowd. It doesn’t matter what.
  • Never ask for 100% prepayment or use a safe deposit box
  • Once again. Meet deadlines!
  • Write honest reviews about customers
  • Do not be afraid of negative reviews. We’re all human. Of course, if the customer has 5 reviews that he did not pay for the work – for sure this is not the right option
  • Try to develop all the interesting skills smoothly and evenly, but highlight one that will be the best, and the rest are auxiliary
  • Read and learn a lot. I recommend habr
  • Learn English
  • Do not be afraid of difficulties
  • Don’t work for food
  • Plan your time
  • Do not give away the phone number, you will be called in six months on the weekend that the site fell, and you only changed the logo there
  • Be cool!
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That’s basic, it’s enough to be a good freelancer. The rest you will see for yourself in the process, it’s interesting.

Tips for customers:

  • The first tip is the same. Don’t go missing. Be in touch, there are a lot of projects where everything seems to be clear and everything has been agreed, but a person throws access after 2 days on Saturday evening, and on Monday at 6 am he writes – well, how is it? Are you ready? I’m already waiting for 2 days!
  • Pay on time. Use the safe if you don’t trust. If you really liked the work – pay a little extra, this will express your gratitude to the freelancer, he will be pleased.
  • Write honest reviews about freelancers you’ve worked with.
  • Express the essence of the project as accurately as possible, reset the TK or a clear explanation directly into the project.
  • If the edits are visual – take a screenshot, mark with arrows what you need. This will protect yourself from misunderstandings.
  • Don’t fool people.
  • Do not delay payment without good reason.
  • Do not mistake freelancers for slaves and / or schoolchildren, communicate politely.
  • Do not ask for additional edits that were not in the task without payment
  • Have a conscience 😊.

Written by Shubham

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