Becoming a full-time freelancer: 3 tips for web developers

Make the leap

So you do web development projects in your spare time to expand your skills and make some extra money. Good for you! At some point you may decide that being a full-time freelancer is a viable option. Where do you start? You’ve come to the right place.

Related: Why freelancing will only get bigger in 2019

Don’t let your day job hold you back

If you’re frustrated with your current working situation, you’re in good company. The sad truth is, countless people hate their day jobs — even the literary great Franz Kafka, hated his full-time job in insurance and just wanted to write books.

It’s not that unusual to see your 9-to-5 job as wasted time and to long for a more meaningful way to apply yourself and evolve your skills. If your current career isn’t your passion, it can feel as though you’re living someone else’s dream, rather than your own.

But it can be tough to parlay your part-time or hobbyist development projects into a full-time money-making opportunity if your job is making you miserable. You might feel too emotionally drained to do anything other than watch Netflix at the end of every day. Even Stephen King talks about this problem in his book, “On Writing.”

Nobody can blame you for feeling a bit discouraged about the situation. But there’s no better time to change things than now, and we can help.

Related: How to use side jobs to become a freelance web professional

3 tips for making the leap from hobbyist to full-time freelancer

If you’re looking to transition from part- to full-time freelance developer, you’re going to have to do some legwork up front. Here are three things to do before becoming your own boss:

  1. Fill up that emergency fund.

  2. Choose your part-time gigs wisely.

  3. Keep on coding.

Now, let’s work on transforming you from occasional hobbyist to full-time freelancer.

Related: Quiz — Do you have what it takes to be your own boss?

1. Fill up that emergency fund

Full-Time Freelancer Bank

Biggie Smalls may have claimed “mo’ money mo’ problems”, but in your case, money is what will eradicate your problems.

Financial concerns will most likely shape your entire time frame for becoming a full-time freelancer.

 

If at all possible, save up six months’ worth of living expenses as a buffer against any mishaps. You might find full-time gigs hard to come by at first, which means money might be tight.

Related: 8 freelance financial mistakes that many new solopreneurs make

2. Choose your part-time gigs wisely

Your part-time work can help prepare you to become a full-time freelancer.

Be selective in the part-time work you choose to take on. For instance, you might be eyeing a future in theme development. If that’s the case, you could forgo part-time work relating to general site maintenance and concentrate on design-related projects.

As a result, you’ll be actively working towards your goal bit by bit, getting the necessary experience while charging for the privilege. At the same time, you’ll be gaining a reputation as a theme expert — a reputation that can help you attract clients later.

Related: How to start a WordPress maintenance business

Full-Time Freelancer Coffeehouse

3. Keep on coding

If you’re a fan of goal-setting, you might have come across the term “deliberate practice,” which basically means, “do the thing you want to do, often and purposefully.”

In a nutshell, code a lot.

 

Follow this maxim to the letter, every day. This means focusing on the specific coding areas that will benefit you most going forward and putting in the work required regardless of the payoff (or lack thereof). As a result, you’ll get better at your craft, and earn valuable “coding miles.” This is the only way you’ll evolve and eventually succeed at earning a living as a full-time freelancer.

Related: Learn to code with these resources

Start prepping for life as a full-time freelancer today

If you have daydreams about taking your side hustle full time, it’s time to start working towards that goal now.

You’ll need to plan well in advance to give yourself the best shot possible. However, the most important thing you can do is keep doing what you’re good at — lots and lots of coding.