How do you know when you're ready for freelancing?

  • (2 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2

28 Replies - 4131 Views - Last Post: 19 February 2010 - 11:00 AM

#1 NeoTifa  Icon User is offline

  • Whorediot
  • member icon





Reputation: 2651
  • View blog
  • Posts: 15,673
  • Joined: 24-September 08

How do you know when you're ready for freelancing?

Post icon  Posted 31 July 2009 - 10:08 AM

So I've been wanting to do this kind of thing for a while now, but I'm not confident enough to. I'm not sure if I have all the skills necessary, or the background info I should know, before jumping into this sort of thing. What kind of skill should one have before starting, programming-wise?
Is This A Good Question/Topic? 0
  • +

Replies To: How do you know when you're ready for freelancing?

#2 kewlkreator  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Lover
  • member icon

Reputation: 38
  • View blog
  • Posts: 1,065
  • Joined: 25-March 09

Re: How do you know when you're ready for freelancing?

Posted 31 July 2009 - 10:38 AM

Screw that! Just do it!
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#3 Core  Icon User is offline

  • using System.Linq;
  • member icon

Reputation: 774
  • View blog
  • Posts: 5,097
  • Joined: 08-December 08

Re: How do you know when you're ready for freelancing?

Posted 31 July 2009 - 10:44 AM

You have to analyze your own skills and abilities. Visit a freelancing site or two and look for some tasks in your domain of expertise (for example, for Java jobs). Then, try analyzing how many tasks you can do. If you find lots of those that seem plausible for you to implement and support then you have the needed skill set to take on various freelancing jobs. If you see that there are only 1-2 jobs that you can actually implement then you need more experience and probably have to work some more to gain the needed knowledge.

However, knowledge and experience come with practice, so if you find even a few jobs you can do, try bidding on them. You'll see that with time you will become more and more proficient in various requirements and techniques.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#4 no2pencil  Icon User is online

  • Toubabo Koomi
  • member icon

Reputation: 5247
  • View blog
  • Posts: 27,069
  • Joined: 10-May 07

Re: How do you know when you're ready for freelancing?

Posted 31 July 2009 - 10:45 AM

Some people will quietly borrow (or steal) contacts from their current employer. That is, if they are going to freelance into the same profession that they currently work in.

But I don't know if anyone is ever really ready for freelancing. Most of the times you hear that someone got fired, the company shut down, layoffs, or any other situation where one suddenly finds them self collecting checks from the state. In the downtime, they find out "hey, I can do this for myself!"

The important thing to remember, is your the entire package. If you want to stay with freelancing as a full time thing, you'll need to file the correct paper work to pay your city, state, & federal taxes, as well as income tax. So while it might make for nice "filler", keeping it as a full time gig may not be everyone's thing.

Just a side note, but you may want to check to make sure that your current employer does allow for freelancing, otherwise you might find it as your full time thing :)
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#5 Stovek  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 3
  • View blog
  • Posts: 16
  • Joined: 20-March 09

Re: How do you know when you're ready for freelancing?

Posted 31 July 2009 - 10:53 AM

I would argue that so long as you have the drive to do a project and see it through AND feel confident that you know enough to get going that you should do it. In fact, personal projects should be encouraged, as they allow you to continually advance in your skills when nothing else is going on -- no sense in letting yours skills atrophy, right? If you happen to run into some rough spots, the internet is a great source to discover how to learn new things that you'd otherwise not known.

It really depends on your current situation, too. For instance, I have been in the market for a job for the past couple of months, but it seems to be difficult to get one's foot in the door for entry-level work, so I came up with an idea and am attempting to see it through on the side. Whether I ultimately succeed or fail isn't too terribly important, since I'm still trying to get a job.

One of the important things to note that I have heard from other programmers is that you learn more from actually programming on-the-job than through a classroom -- hands-on experience being the key to development. Even if you're not 100% confident with your skills, even attempting to do some personal projects could help to build your confidence.

If you have an idea in mind, I think you should go for it. Don't let how you currently perceive your own experience get in the way of what you want to do -- there's no problem with learning as you go.

This post has been edited by Stovek: 31 July 2009 - 10:54 AM

Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

#6 ayman_mastermind  Icon User is offline

  • human.setType("geek");
  • member icon

Reputation: 126
  • View blog
  • Posts: 1,860
  • Joined: 12-December 08

Re: How do you know when you're ready for freelancing?

Posted 31 July 2009 - 11:01 AM

@neotifa, thank you for posting this topic, now i found almost all the answers for the questions I was asking myself before starting freelancing. :)

I am considering starting freelancing too but still not much confident although I have a decent experience through personal projects and I have contributed code to other projects too.

This post has been edited by ayman_mastermind: 31 July 2009 - 11:02 AM

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#7 PsychoCoder  Icon User is offline

  • Google.Sucks.Init(true);
  • member icon

Reputation: 1639
  • View blog
  • Posts: 19,853
  • Joined: 26-July 07

Re: How do you know when you're ready for freelancing?

Posted 31 July 2009 - 11:11 AM

For the record, making this your sole source of income when first starting to freelance is a bad idea, you'll starve to death fast (Not trying to deter anyone from freelancing, just wanted to let you know that little tidbit.

Some good tips have been mentioned here, a lot of it falls into how do you feel about your skills? If you dont feel comfortable with your skills then it's probably too early to start freelancing. If you cant convince yourself that you can do it then how do you expect to convince a client that you can do it.

Quote

Screw that! Just do it!


Bad idea, this kind of attitude can kill your freelancing before it even starts, all it takes is one unhappy customer when you're first starting to end it all (word of mouth advertising is very important in this line of business).
Was This Post Helpful? 2

#8 janne_panne  Icon User is offline

  • WinRT Dev
  • member icon

Reputation: 429
  • View blog
  • Posts: 1,047
  • Joined: 09-June 09

Re: How do you know when you're ready for freelancing?

Posted 31 July 2009 - 11:29 AM

I'm currently studying IT and I started my studies two years ago. Two months ago I began my work practice and I though it would have been luminous experience which would have taught me how to program but it wasn't. I programmed quite a bit during my free time already so it was easy to move to "real" programming instead of doing my casual applications. Of course some things are different: security actually matters and all errors must be caught instead of just thinking "I know how to use this program, it won't crash on this part of code".

I don't have any freelancing experience so I can't say for sure when someone is ready but if you are capable of doing working applications with some sort of GUI and decent architecture, I'd say you are ready. And since most of the freelancing jobs are quite small applications (like some voting system which uses proxies), they aren't that hard to do. Just spend couple of hours googling about proxies and you can do it.

If you hesitate, check project list (which is on java forum if I'm correct) and do few applications there before starting freelancing.

Or of course, you can always choose not to start freelancing and try open source projects first. They might give you much more experience than one application to some random guy who uses it for spamming emails.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#9 Smurphy  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Regular
  • member icon

Reputation: 35
  • View blog
  • Posts: 367
  • Joined: 07-July 08

Re: How do you know when you're ready for freelancing?

Posted 31 July 2009 - 12:02 PM

Actually it really depends on who, and what you already know. I can say I have freelanced. The company I currently work for's web designer needed someone to do a javascript calculator on the gestation period of a cow. Guess what? 50 bucks in my pocket. I am not by any means a great programmer yet. Though it seems as if I am still able to freelance. I would follow Core's advice get yourself out there and start small. :) Anyhow Good luck Neo I hope it all works out for you.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#10 NeoTifa  Icon User is offline

  • Whorediot
  • member icon





Reputation: 2651
  • View blog
  • Posts: 15,673
  • Joined: 24-September 08

Re: How do you know when you're ready for freelancing?

Posted 31 July 2009 - 12:53 PM

Thanks everyone. I've had an account on rentacoder.com and browse the projects pretty frequently, but I feel like their expectations are too high. "I want to make a myspace clone" "blah blah blah" like that. *le sigh* I'm still learning database stuff, I don't know anything about proxies or macros (which I should because I'm supposed to be doing something for work I guess startign next week ).

Really, since I'm just a student, I feel that nobody will take me up. I'm way advanced imho for the class I am in, as I learned everything on my own. I am just now really starting to dive into GUI. LOL I avoided it like the plague (I still avoid applets :hehe:) but I've really dove in and have basic knowledge of almost every prospect of the swing api and such. Of course I am going to work on more personal projects first before I attempt freelancing, but I'm just afraid that I'm not gonna meet their expectations. Seeing as how the "normal" people think, they're expecting a freaking M$ quality, blah blah program and such for like no money, and quick. If there is something I don't know how to do, would you think they would mind if I spent time to look it up?

And looking through rent-a-coder, they are very vague about what they want. They always say "will give more details after hire" or something of the sort. Well, how will I know if the project is in my range of abilities if I don't know what the project is? *le sigh*
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#11 no2pencil  Icon User is online

  • Toubabo Koomi
  • member icon

Reputation: 5247
  • View blog
  • Posts: 27,069
  • Joined: 10-May 07

Re: How do you know when you're ready for freelancing?

Posted 31 July 2009 - 01:26 PM

You gave 2 examples of clients that no one wants.

If they want a myspace clone for $20, then you can be safely assured that they also won't be happy with it once it's done.

Also, when they want to provide "more information" after the bidding, this means "bid low please". The way to fight this is the Rent A Coder 24 hour grace period in which you can reject or cancel your job after winning the bid.

My only bad rating on Rent A Coder came from a guy whom that posted a job for some PayPal API work to be done. I completed it within 3 hours & it took him 3 weeks to mark the work as completed. However just before he accepted the work, he sent me a request for an admin panel, & some email system. Keep in mind I bid $35 on the job, because I knew I would have it done right away. I told him to fly a kite, that I completed the job as it was posted & he knew he was stuck. So he gave me a rating of 1 stating that I was trying to fish him for more money & that I took forever to complete the work.

Never take less than you are worth, & never sign your name to a blank agreement.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#12 ayman_mastermind  Icon User is offline

  • human.setType("geek");
  • member icon

Reputation: 126
  • View blog
  • Posts: 1,860
  • Joined: 12-December 08

Re: How do you know when you're ready for freelancing?

Posted 31 July 2009 - 02:00 PM

Another problem is that there is tough competition with other freelancers. Some freelancers may put very low bids on projects that deserve much more money as they would involve some hard work, and they end up getting the job.

For example the buyer puts a project and puts the budget 100$. Then the freelancers start to bid, one puts 80$, one puts 100$, another puts 70$ for example,yet one freelancer comes and puts like 20$ bid for the project, according to what I have noticed most of the time such a freelancer ends up winning the job. :(

Anyways I will keep trying my best, but at the same time I would never accept to get below what I would deserve from getting a job done just for the sake of winning the job.

This post has been edited by ayman_mastermind: 31 July 2009 - 02:02 PM

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#13 sparkart  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Addict
  • member icon

Reputation: 113
  • View blog
  • Posts: 688
  • Joined: 16-February 09

Re: How do you know when you're ready for freelancing?

Posted 01 August 2009 - 12:53 AM

Like others have said, you usually know when you're ready by testing the waters and seeing how comfortable you are.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#14 Ace26  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 40
  • View blog
  • Posts: 183
  • Joined: 10-August 08

Re: How do you know when you're ready for freelancing?

Posted 01 August 2009 - 05:44 AM

If you wait for the best time to do something, you might never get to do it. Rate your skill&ability on a scale of 10 - 100 and if you fall within 69 and above then I think you are ready to take on the fresh challenge. Remember nobody gets better by "staying safe" in their comfort zone so go out there and be an Antaeus who got stronger everytime he fell to the ground.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#15 sujayg  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 0
  • View blog
  • Posts: 15
  • Joined: 10-March 09

Re: How do you know when you're ready for freelancing?

Posted 01 August 2009 - 08:27 AM

View PostNeoTifa, on 31 Jul, 2009 - 09:08 AM, said:

So I've been wanting to do this kind of thing for a while now, but I'm not confident enough to. I'm not sure if I have all the skills necessary, or the background info I should know, before jumping into this sort of thing. What kind of skill should one have before starting, programming-wise?


My few cents on freelancing

1) You should be proficient in the language you accept the job , I dont mean that you need to know the language in the level , the compiler sees it ( in fact its good to know that ) ; what I mean you should be at least thorough .

2) Freelancing is not you regular kind of job, where you get help from your office people, - so all the stuff , is rolled onto you . So there can be jobs, which require a challenge, and you need to find how to solve it . You can not ask anyone on that to solve that for you.

3) You need to understand the customers pulse .
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

  • (2 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2