I want to become a full time freelancer, how do I start?

Hi guys, my name is Dallin 24 years old these are my skills:
Frontend : HTML5 / CSS3 / jQuery / EmberJs / Bootstrap
Backend : Laravel / PHP / Emberbase
Database: MySql / PostgreSQL / Sqlite
Guys, please tell me how to get started, I try Odesk, peopleperhour but I couldn’t find a client, anyone here have experience please share me, I’m really appreciate it

Well do you have a website about yourself and your business? do you have some portfolio pieces to show?
Join local live website/coding/social groups.
I went to a local wordpress meetup group where before they start the meeting people who have jobs and are looking for someone give the details to the group.
And people who area looking for job stand up and say what they are looking for and what their skills are.
Make friends in the same field and advertise yourself. and it might be good if instead of going 100% freelance you even find a part time job doing web for the experience and connections.
It might take a bit of patience as well.
sometimes i watch this guy, mike locke, he talks about breaking in the business of web design.

best wishes and it looks like you have a lot of nice skills.

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Hi, thanks for your reply, I’m really appreciate it
I have two profiles

I really don’t know how to start, how much should I bid and how to compete with other developers

Start local. People are more prone to trust if they can see yoru face and talk to you.

The problem with oDesk and sites like that is that you compete against the rest of the world… and the rest of the world don’t use the same rates as you do because their expenses are sensibly lower (either because they live in a country where everything is cheaper than in your country or because it is a company that specializes in low price staff, relying more on cuantity to get their revenue)

So how can you compete with something: with quality and reputation

Obviously, if you don’t have jobs, there’s no way that you can build a reputation and show your quality. So, start local and get some customers and something to show (starting for your own webpage) and then start using this type of tools.

I used to work for company, I have skills, I can go back if I want to but I want to work as a freelancer, I can do job online no problem, I can take less than other developers, what the problem? if they don’t trust me with a whole project, why don’t let me be in a team so they can see what I can do.
The reason I want to work as a freelancer is because I want a little more freedom, work with project that I want, not what my boss tell me to do, sometime boss give me some boring tasks that I don’t want to do so freelancer is the best solution, I can develop myself the way I want. In the future I will open a company so working as a freelancer help me build some relationship with my clients.

You may be able to take less than other developers but the thing is that if you want to compete in price, you should charge as Indians or Philippines do.

Depending on where you live, that may be an option or not. If you live in India or Indonesia or somewhere in Asia or Africa where live is really cheap, you may be able to compete in price.

Starting local doesn’t make you less than a freelancer. You still can work at home (even with your old boss, if he accept you as one).

Regarding being your own boss, let me tell you that you will have multiple of those: your customers. And they have their own ideas of how something should be done and developed so you’re not always going to get your way.

If you insist on using oDesk or elancer, the way you present yourself has a lot to do with obtaining a first job. Once you get a few, things are easier. But competition is fierce and it takes time and effort to get there.

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You should build a website first where you can showcase what you can do. Having a decent website will help people to trust you :slight_smile:


I think so, thanks for your time Molona, I really appriciate it :sunny:

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What everyone said.
Starting locally is a great idea, you would be starting to develop your own customer base & they would lead to other contracts, and having a profile is not the same as having your own site w/sample and info…I did hire a dev off odesk years ago, great working w/him, great communications skills and dev skill. Very professional. I paid a bit more than I would have paid someone in india or the phillipines but felt confident about his skills.
But i went and checked his site as well so i could see what type of work he did for his other clients.
And also until you do establish your business considering working at a regular job and doing your freelancing in the the off hours seems like a good idea.

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but you guys have any idea to start local? freelancer is very rare in my country, I never see any contract or job online from my cout[quote=“pdxSherpa, post:9, topic:100615”]
great idea, you would be starting to develop your own customer base & they would lead to other contracts, and having a profile is not the same as having your own site w/sample and info…I did hire a dev off odesk years ago, great working w/him, great communications skills and dev skill. Very professional. I paid a bit more than I would have paid someone in india or the phillipines but felt confident about his skills.But i went and checked his site as
I just check some local freelance jobs and they pay very low rate, it hurt my pride, I used to work for a company in Denmark and they pay me 6500$ a month, I can’t believe this happening to me :smile:

You would be starting local by approaching local business. Restaurants, mechanics, local industries etc…in person even.
Also you don’t say were you are at. But talk to other local web designers see how they approached the problem and promoted themselves.
Starting out your finances might not match your expectations. Which is why we suggested you get back into a company doing the work you are experienced w/ and then in the offtimes, evenings, whatever pursue your own clientele.

hmm, First thing’s first, man; Beef up your savings!

Calculate how much you’d need to survive for a year, double it, and have at least that before you take the plunge because you’re going to lose money like crazy for a long time.

Second, echoing what lots of others have already said, try aiming for persons in your own area, whom you can visit in person. The thing about making a website is it’s confusing to many people, especially older folks (who are also more likely to be the business owners anyway). Being able to meet with them in person to re-assure and help walk them through the process is a huge deal for them!

Cold-calling is one way to go, but truthfully I’ve rarely cold-called and never even advertised. All of my work, ALL, has come through referrals. As such, I suggest you work on your networking skills (real-world, not online) and start telling persons around you (family, friends) what you do. If you tell enough people, consistently, for long enough, you’ll eventually break through with that first client.

Here’s the important part: When you do, be sure to hit the job out of the stadium! The client needs to love you by the time the job is done. Then, be sure to ask them for referrals! Business owners tend to know other business owners (their suppliers, their clientele, even their family and friends). Don’t be pushy, just a simple, “It was wonderful working together! Ring me up if you need anything. Also, please keep me in mind if anyone you know is looking for a website! Thanks!”

If the phone doesn’t ring after a few months, it’s perfectly acceptable to check in. You can phrase it as just following up on the website, making sure everything’s working fine. That’s good customer service anyway, but really you’re reminding them that you’re alive. Many times that’s enough too. Again, not pushy; Just positive, friendly and helpful.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.


I have 0 background as freelance but why not apply for a job? Seems you have adequate skills at monstersjob.com? You can always do freelance on a side and have a job as a safety net.


I just read this on SitePoint’s main site. Might be useful: 5 Steps to a Smooth and Successful Freelance Career

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nice share :slight_smile: thanks

I just skimmed the other answers, so forgive any repeats:

  • A nice portfolio & services site of your own. The appearance of that site is JUST as important as the actual portfolio pieces. If you don’t have any, spice it up some with more content of other types.
  • Local work > Online work - most of the time. Primarily because people can find outsourcers online far cheaper than locally, even if you live somewhere with low web development rates. That said, you should never have “down” time where you have nothing to do. Nothing to do? Get on Odesk and Elance. On Elance, use custom filters - filter for countries for which you speak the native language well - that chops results down. Filter for your job skills, and filter for income ranges.
  • It’s OK to take cheap work to help you fill out your portfolio, but you need to find what price range YOU need to make to live on, and stick with that or higher. Don’t take cheap, horribly priced jobs JUST to fill the time - if you do, you’re wasting time you could’ve spent cold-calling or searching online for work that would meet your standards.
  • Don’t try to do everything at once. Identify the types of jobs and clients you really want and aggressively pursue them. That’s not to say you can’t do other work - just don’t spend half your time hunting for client type B if you really wanted client type A.

many thank Jeffreylees, very helpful :slight_smile:

for the start is hard. you need work hard to win the reputation 1st.

“win the reputation 1st” what do you mean?

I assume what @enous means to say is that starting out is hard because you have no reputation, so you won’t have any word of mouth spreading about your work, no one will know about you, etc.

Expanding on that idea - You’ll also have stiff competition from businesses or individuals with good reviews and well known services. Also, another benefit to having a good, well developed reputation is that in some cases, clients stop “shopping” - they’d rather work again another time with a developer they know, trust, and are familiar with - regardless of whether you have the cheapest rate for the job or not.

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