Are you a young graduate or a skilled programmer that wants to become an independent worker or just wants to get some money from a side job ? Then Freelancing is the thing for you !
Where to start ?
Before working as a freelance programmer, you have to know what your main capabilities are and what you could offer (the goal being to maximize your earnings with the minimum work possible). Are you a PHP programmer with special knowledge in a special field like oAuth or framework development? then promote these special skills !
The main question before starting at all is thus: What will I sell ? Will you simply charge clients your work per hour ? Will you accept large orders (+50 hours of work) or focus on helping clients fix bugs (<2 hours of work)?
Large Orders or Small Orders ?
You will have to decide whether you’d rather work for many clients with small orders or for a few clients with large orders. In the beginning, it will always hard to promote your skills or your work, as you will barely have anything to show to your prospects. You will therefore probably have to accept numerous small orders like “fixing a worpress bug” or “revising some lines of code that won’t work”. These orders won’t make you rich but they will help you get reviews of your good work (remember to do more than expected for the first orders, so as to be sure that the customer is happy and gives you the best ratings. Otherwise, you won’t last long on the platform which may be crowded with sellers).
Accepting large order can also be tricky. If the client pays you per hour, the problem won’t appear, but if you charge a fixed amount for a large order ($200+), you’d better make sure that this price will cover enough hours of work. Remember that you will always have unexpected work or unexpected problems in you freelance work, and deeply underestimating the amount of work for a large order can put you in a very unpleasant situation.
Delivering many low-value orders can be very interesting if you can finish the work very fast. For example, experts in wordpress (it’s not exactly programming, but I’ll use wordpress as an example) can offer for example a service where they will “place a google analytics code in wordpress”. Even if they charge $10 for this work, they will get some good bucks for a minimal work: if you are used to it, it can take 5 minutes only.
Learn new technologies
Having a broad knowledge of the technologies and staying up to date will help you get more orders, as it will give you a competitive advantage over the other freelancers for specific and tailored orders.
Decide the paltforms on which you will work
Many platforms help connect clients and IT freelancers. Some platforms like Fiverr or Upwork work with freelancers from all horizons and specializations in various fields like audio recording, painting, or even flyers design. Some platforms like fivequidexpert.com have recently opened up and help you sell your gigs in a very friendly interface.