I’ve been doing freelance Web Development work since quitting my full-time job in 2010 (after 10+ years)… so far the road has been fairly smooth.
You are probably reading this post hoping to find conclusive information that will inspire you to take the freelance leap and become a Freelance Web Developer or at least to make the best, logical decision about your career, be that to stick with your current job or to go solo.
Making decisions that affects your income is never easy, especially if you have family to support. Hopefully the below pointers will help you make the right decision, to go freelance or not!
Let’s get real:
- Do you have funds to support yourself and/or your family during the initial months of freelancing?
Surviving the first few months without initial clients and/or funds to carry you will be virtually impossible, also keep in mind that most web development projects can take weeks or even months to complete before you receive payment, the upside is that you can ask for a deposit before commencing work, and you should!
- Do you have a Business Plan?
You absolutely have to know what you are going to do and how you are going to accomplish it, i.e. web development work for clients, systems SLA’s or perhaps your own software products… Who, What, Why, When, Where, How, How Much?
- Do you have adequate skills and experience to supply your clients with a professional service or to build your own products?
Richard Branson once said “… fake it till you make it..” – you can take this route and it can definitely pay off if you are willing to burn midnight oil, grafting and learning, however, during the first 6 months of your freelance career it will be easier and safer for you to stick with your strongest skill sets and industry experience.
- Do you have what it takes to run your own business, thinking about finances, marketing, sales, operations etc.?
Specific business skills are vital if you want to survive in the long run, i.e. if you don’t know how to market or cost your services and products effectively then you will not make it… There is a plethora of free online information on small business finance and marketing… Google and Youtube are your friends.
- Do you have what it takes to motivate yourself?
Most freelancers and especially the single ones might find it increasingly difficult to operate on their own, it will get lonely and you will feel demotivated at times… consider working from a shared office space at least once a week and attend events to network and/or just to mingle with other people.
- Will you be able to handle stressful, critical situations by yourself without the help of others?
As a freelancer you will have to take full ownership of your work and with this comes the duty of handling difficult clients; crisis management is required by you since you are directly responsible for your work.
The positive side:
- As a freelancer you can determine your income.
At this point in time we are very fortunate, there is a huge demand for PHP Web Developers and other trending technologies and I’m positive that if you market yourself correctly you will get more work than you can handle.
- Time is yours and you can plan it anyway you like.
Wouldn’t it be nice to plan a long weekend every now and then or to just be able to spend more time with your loved ones when you choose to.
- You mostly have authority on how things gets done.
If you currently have a dislike in how things are done at your employer, then freelancing is your opportunity to do it differently.