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4 Tips to Sustain a Career in Freelance Software Development


Freelance software development jobs are highly competitive, and employers are outsourcing work to keep costs down. That's great news for you if you're thinking of ways to work from home, and if you're a software developer. Despite the competition, there are jobs to get hired for. The key is to learn how to sustain a career in freelance software development, and that often means viewing yourself as an entrepreneur.

1. Surprise Your Clients

Never complete a project giving clients just what they asked for. Go one step beyond the initial specifications, as a surprise to your clients. Maybe they can't afford to pay you for that extra step, or didn't think about it on their own. They'll be ecstatic about what you did, and consider you first for future work. They'll also spread the word to their peers that you're the best freelance software developer to hire for a job, which means you'll get more work. It will require more of your time, so plan for it in the beginning in order to deliver the product on time. You don't want to delay the project for the sake of the surprise, because that would harm your reputation, not improve it.

2. Add Value

Any development work you do has to add value to clients, or you won't sustain your career. You may not even get paid for the work you deliver if it's poor in quality. Any product you create or improvement you make lacks quality if it doesn't add value. The only way you can add value is to ask key questions before you start any project. Find out from clients the needs, problems, challenges and reasons for hiring a freelance software developer. You'll be able to add value by solving their problems.

3. Don't Stop Applying for Work

Many freelance software developers make the mistake of slowing down the application process, or they stop looking for work altogether when they get hired. You can breathe a sigh of relief when you finally get hired after you've applied for so many jobs, but you shouldn't stop looking for more jobs. The well does run dry eventually, and you'll only lengthen the time in between jobs. To sustain your career, the application and hiring process needs to be ongoing. Having too much work is not a problem, because there are many qualified freelance software developers to outsource to. Having too little work is a problem, because you won't have enough money to pay your bills.

4. Become an Industry Expert

When you're known as an industry expert, you'll establish your credibility faster, and getting hired becomes that much easier. There are many ways to do this, such as:

  • Blog on trends and issues related to software development
  • Launch a podcast for consumers or business owners
  • Write articles, white papers and ebooks on software development (or hire a freelance writer to do it for you)
  • Give lectures, host workshops and sit on conference panels

You'll stand out from your competitors if you're an industry expert.

These 4 tips are proven ways to sustain a career in freelance software development. It's why some of your competitors continue to land the jobs that you're not getting.

Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.

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