If you’re a .NET developer and want to break into freelancing, you have many options. However, .NET freelancing requires time and intention to become lucrative.
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Most freelancers will tell you to start on the side. You can pick up freelancing jobs while still staying in your current form of employment until you build a steady client base. The goal is to make consistent money over a period of a few months before diving right into life as a full-time freelancer.
Freelancers have a lot of responsibilities that normal employees do not have, including:
Thankfully, .NET’s framework is used in applications worldwide, so you’ll be able to develop for small and large businesses alike. Use these tips to get ready for this next step in your career.
Experience and Portfolio
Developers are unlike other freelancers because you can’t share your source code with others. This can make creating your portfolio a challenge. Though you can show a prospective client your examples of software, websites, apps and other projects you have created, showing the source code allows the client to steal the code. Also, If you worked for someone else at the time of development, chances are good that they own the code.
You can, however, say that you used .NET to:
- Develop X website (providing an example) and were responsible for connecting to banks, databases and other third-party sites via API calls
- Develop an app that allowed for financial institutes to manage clients on the cloud
You must provide samples to show clients. Consider building a website with live examples of your work for potential employers to test. When listing projects that you worked on, make sure to mention your contributions and key responsibilities when working on the project.
If you have no experience, you may want to work with Redwerk or another .NET development company to learn the ropes of .NET development.
Develop your portfolio using open source project contributions. Many companies respect open-source projects and will view your contributions to these projects in the same way they would view your experience working with a development firm.
Finding Clients as a Freelancer
Once you have a portfolio ready to show prospective clients, it’s time to go out and find clients. It takes a lot of work and effort to find clients to fill up your schedule. It’s not uncommon for freelancers to charge more per hour of work than a development firm pays its developers. This is because freelancers carry a lot more responsibilities. However, employers save money by avoiding the cost of benefits packages. So, price your hourly rate accordingly.
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You’ll find that finding clients requires you to:
- be persistent,
- be patient,
- communicate well,
- become detail-oriented,
- and be willing to learn.
You will also need to be able to properly assess projects and offer realistic timelines.
Be persistent. Be willing to be rejected. A lot of people are vying for the same job and a lot of people may be willing to work for less than you charge. It’s up to you to be able to create a proposal that allows you to stand out from the competition.
Here are a few key methods to help jumpstart life as a freelancer:
- Look for jobs on Upwork
- Look for jobs on Freelancer
- Email companies to pitch your services
- Search job boards for freelance positions
Connections are everything, so try and find a .NET forum where people are asking for help. If you can demonstrate your expertise and help others, you’ll find that a lot of these connections can lead to work, too.
Specify Your .NET Freelancing Niche
Your success depends on the right clients with projects you are perfect for finding you. In order to help this process, be clear about the projects you have experience working on. For instance, say you work particularly well with startups and have helped them keep development costs low. Provide examples of your work that feature a startup and provide the cost savings analysis.
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Use your network, social media and other avenues to source projects.Once you land your first gig, treat every opportunity as a learning process and continue marketing yourself. Slowly, you’ll build up your portfolio and reputation. You can also try working with recruitment agencies that can help you land your first few freelancing gigs to get started.
The key to freelancing is persistence and marketing. If you continually market yourself and aren’t afraid of rejection, you’ll eventually land gigs. Good luck!