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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Becoming a Freelance Software Developer


You are probably great at your freelance software developer job. After all, you wouldn't have gone out on your own if you hadn't been skilled at it. However, there are still some mistakes that even the most skilled person can make, and these mistakes could cost you your freelance job. Read on to find out how to avoid 5 common mistakes when becoming a freelance software developer.

1. Underestimating the Amount of Time that It Will Take

Even the best freelance software developer can do this. Make sure that when you agree to take a project, and you estimate how long it will take, you give yourself some leeway. You don't know what can go wrong...your computer can crash, you might get sick, etc. You will have a mighty angry client on your hand if you get things in too late, so it is better to overestimate than to underestimate.

2. Not Completely Understanding the Buyer's Needs

It is important to have, in writing, everything that the buyer wants out of the project. That means that you have to know down to a "T" what is expected before you turn it into the client. This could be poor communication on the client's part, or it could be poor communication on your part. Either way, you will probably be the one to pay.

3. Not Testing the Software Repeatedly

Practice makes perfect. Ensure that you test the product out repeatedly when you are creating something new. You want to know every nuance of it, to make certain that it runs smoothly and without a hitch.

4. Not Having a Clear Contract

You should spell out everything in your contract, including price, number of revisions that you will do and delivery date. Your payment schedule should also be included in your price. It is generally acceptable to ask for around 10% upfront when you are dealing with a large project. If a client is not willing to go along with this, evaluate how long it will take you to get it done, and whether or not you will be able to work on any other smaller projects during that time. If not, then you might have to turn it down. After all, you need to eat, and essentially it is "good faith" money (since you might find yourself wondering if you will ever really get paid at all).

5. Not Planning

Sometimes, you jump right into a project without giving yourself ample planning time. The planning is very important--one of the most important aspects. Take the time to sit down and map out everything that you are going to do. Get your research completed, make a schedule, and get anything else that you need before you get started. This will help ensure that the project runs more smoothly. It will also help you have a better understanding of how long it is going to take, in case you need to give the buyer a new estimated time frame.

Avoid making these 5 mistakes to ensure success as a freelance software developer!

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