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How to Get Your Start in Freelance Coding (+ 17 Job Sites to Find Work)

freelance coding
Table of ContentsUpdated Oct 15, 2020

Did you know that a coder can typically earn over $40 per hour doing freelance coding? Very experienced coders can bring in even more.

If you know how to code, you can find lots of freelance coding work on the internet these days. While there are applications and various CMS available, many business owners aim for more customization.

Many entrepreneurs also had to adopt a remote environment for the continuity of their businesses because of the ongoing pandemic.

These conditions contribute to the significant growth of freelance coder hiring. Therefore, whether you have experience or are just starting out, this is a great time to build up your career.

In this post, you will find information about freelance coding, starting a career even with little experience, and top sites to find freelance coding work.

The Basics of Freelance Coding

Necessary Skills

Coding is writing source code using a language or scripts. This is what makes an application or website work. Coders translate human instructions into a language that computers or web servers can understand.

Therefore, freelance coding is the job of writing the code that makes an application or website come out according to what the human wanted.

To land at this kind of work, both soft skills and technical skills are necessary. You must master at least one coding language or script. You must also have communication, negotiation, work management, and time management skills.

These soft skills will not only help you get work, but also help you retain long-term or repeat work. Negotiation skills, for example, are required to get good pay as you develop your technical and professional skills.

Freelance Coding Rates

Freelancers are paid either hourly or on a project basis. The rate for this work differs depending on the complexity of the task. Your experience, expertise, and location can also factor into your rate.

On average, freelance coding work can bring in $40,000 per year. This can increase depending on your performance or level of experience.

If you can maintain a great working relationship with your clients, you will also increase your chances of receiving a rate increase for long-term work. For short-term work, this can lead to referrals.

How to Become a Freelance Coder

If coding is one of your hobbies, you can turn it into a money-making solution. However, becoming a freelance coder can be harder than other types of freelance work.

Many business owners only hire freelancers with experience. Some, however, are ready to give newbies a chance to show their talent for lower rates. Either way, you need to put in effort and make a good impression to build trust.

To help you, here are some powerful tips to start your career.

Focus on One Niche

Picking a specialization will enable you to market yourself properly. In turn, this will help you get the kind of work that you can do well and that you enjoy.

Some clients will have complex projects that need a variety of scripts and languages to complete. As you develop your career, you can choose to master additional ones.

You can also network to collaborate with other coders who have mastery in them. This is what makes freelancing work without stretching you too thin.

freelance coding

Create a Portfolio

A portfolio is a way to land clients by showing them your amazing capabilities. Some people would advise you to start by creating samples similar to what your clients want. The best way to create a client converting portfolio, however, is to stay focused on your niche.

Get permission from clients to share the work that you’ve done for them. Then build up your portfolio with these samples. As you land more freelance coding work, you can leave in the best ones and remove the less impressive ones, or move them lower down on the page.

Your portfolio itself can also be a great sample of your coding know-how if you are niched down in website coding!

You can also create applications for your portfolio site where it makes sense, and make sure that visitors know that you created them. This allows them to actually see how they work by using them rather than relying on images or videos.

Whichever way you go with this, the key is to create the impression that you know how to implement even if you don’t have a lot of experience.

Build Your Digital Presence

Join a community of developers, designers, and entrepreneurs. This can be a social media group or a forum.

Engage in conversations with other members and write articles to provide value to the community. Through your posts, you can show your expertise in a way that is helpful instead of pushy. This gets you exposure while building up your reputation as a valuable asset.

Occasionally, you may find postings in there that you can apply to. You can also get some great advice from the more experienced coders and observe what types of work are often needed.

Prepare Your Payment Options

Payment options are the method and channel where you will receive your pay. The most common options are bank transfer, PayPal, and Payoneer.

Depending on where you’re located, you may have more or less options to choose from. What’s important is that you provide convenient options for your clients.

Having one payment option is acceptable if it’s common enough. However, it is best if you have at least a few, especially if you want to work with clients outside of freelancing platforms to avoid additional fees.

Sign Up on Freelancing Sites

Freelancing sites are the best places to find freelance coding work. Companies and individual business owners go there when they are looking for freelancers in particular.

As a member freelancer, you can apply for postings, submit proposals, and bid for projects, for instance, depending on how the platform works.

On FreeUp, for example, you can select a project based on the rate range that a client indicated. Then you will be introduced to the client if your profile fits the ticket, and the client may set up an interview to get to know you and your skills better.

Since freelance coding is one of the most in-demand types of work, almost all of those websites have opportunities for coders.

You can also find freelance work from other sources like email lists and social media networks, so consider checking these out as well. Freelance sites will be your best bet as a beginner, however, until you build up your network.

Know Your Worth

You can offer free services to get started, but this can harm your reputation and motivation in the long run. Especially when a project is too heavy, you should not accept low rates, either.

The best strategy to build your reputation and create the impression of being a professional is to charge what your services are really worth.

Use your communication and negotiation skills to catch the attention of clients. If you really know what you’re doing and are confident about it, clients will feel comfortable hiring you. Don’t start work until they close the deal with you.

17 Sites to Find Freelance Coding Work

Here are the top sites to find freelance coding work. You can sign up on multiple platforms simultaneously for more opportunities.

1. FreeUp

FreeUp is where businesses go to hire pre-vetted freelancers so they can get work done faster. The platform recruits, interviews, and vets thousands of freelancers each week for their skills, communication, and attitude. They accept the top 1% of applicants.

If you’re at the top of your game, you can get access to coding work for the rates that you want. FreeUp is known for pairing freelancers with clients within 24 hours, so you can land projects faster than ever before.

Billing is secure and the marketplace provides free 24-hour support. Joining and applying for projects is free, too!

2. Upwork

Upwork is one of the biggest freelancing sites offering work internationally. After you create an account, wait for their approval. You may be denied, but you can edit and resubmit your profile until you make it.

You can start sending proposals after the approval of your profile. You only have 25 connections. If you run out of connections, you cannot apply anymore unless you purchase some.

Connect costs $0.15 each. However, Upwork sells them in bundles of 10, 20, 40, 60, and 80. The site also asks the following percentage of your revenue from each of your clients.

• 20% for the first $500 billed with the client

• 10% for lifetime billings with the client between $500.01 and $10,000

• 5% for lifetime billings with the client that exceed $10,000

3. SolidGigs

One of the downfalls to finding work as a freelancer is, well, finding work. The amount of time it takes, drudging through websites and applying is extremely tedious. With SolidGigs — they do the work for you! They find the best freelance jobs on the web, and send them to your email inbox every day.

Not only that, SolidGigs strives to help you become a better freelancer — so they have a library full of resources for you to indulge in from expert freelancers.

4. Freelancer

Almost as many projects are available to freelancers here as on Upwork. Unlike Upwork, however, you can start looking for work as soon as you create an account.

To get a project, make a bid first. The client will then look at all the bids and choose a freelancer they think fits the best.

5. Fiverr

Unlike most freelancing sites, Fiverr is a place where you can sell your services with your rates. However, be creative in making gigs because of the top competition from elite users.

If you decide on creating a gig, Fiverr will ask you to create three packages, namely Basic, Standard, and Premium. Any client interested in any of your services or packages shall contact you and make an order.

The minimum price you can set for a gig is $5. Twenty percent of your earnings will go to Fiverr. Along with the three packages, you can also add extra gigs with additional charges.

6. PeoplePerHour

Do not be deceived by the site’s name. The site allows project-based as well as hourly based work.

Like Upwork, you need to go with the verification process before you can apply. However, verification in PeoplePerHour does not take too long.

PeoplePerHour allows you to send 15 proposals per month. If you want any additional, you must purchase credits on their site.

7. Guru

Guru is like any usual freelancing sites wherein you browse for work and send your proposal. It has unique plans, but the free plan includes only 10 quotes per month. If you want to send more bids, you can upgrade your account to any of these plans.

•Basic+ – $8.95 per month billed annually, or $11.95 bill monthly.

•Professional – $15.95 per month billed annually, or $21.95 bill monthly.

•Business – $24.95 per month billed annually, or $33.95 bill monthly.

•Executive – $39.95 per month billed annually, or $49.95 bill monthly.

8. Coding Ninjas

As the name implies, Coding Ninjas is specifically for programmers and coders. The company conducts interviews before matching you with projects. Its purpose is to evaluate your coding and English skills.

9. FlexJobs

FlexJobs is a site that offers full-time, part-time, contractual, and freelance projects. The good thing about Flexjobs is the research that they do before posting an offer. However, there is a monthly membership fee to access the whole database.

10. Codeable

Most projects you will find in Codeable are related to web and WordPress. To be a freelancer, you have to go through their 6-step vetting process.

After passing all the stages, you can directly start finding work. Afterward, continue delivering high-quality work to get a chance of having long-term work with your client and start building up your portfolio.

11. Hireable

Hireable is like other popular freelancing sites. After account creation, you can directly browse for work. The site will also send you recommendation based on the skills you show.

12. Outsourcely

Outsourcery is one of the most popular sites for developers, software engineers, and coders. Most projects pay hourly at a lower rate. If you are just starting, this is the best place for you.

13. TopCoder

As the name suggests, it is one of the best leading platforms for tech-savvy and coders. The projects are 100% remote, so you can work from anywhere.

Most clients on the website look for those specializing in one niche. If you are sure of your specialization, this is the best site for you.

14. WPHIired

If your specialty is coding WordPress themes and plugins, WPHIired is the best option. When browsing for projects, you can filter by type, position, and location. If you feel you are not ready for freelancing, an internship is also available.

15. Localancers

Localancers is a site where you can find work based on your location. You can filter search results by skills, price, time zone, and countries. However, signing up for Localancers costs €17.

16. Authentic Jobs

If you specialize in coding web apps and sites, Authentic Jobs is a suitable match. Browse for projects and direct contact with clients. Through the website, you can work with big companies such as The New York Times, Facebook, and Tesla.

17. Envato Studio

If you are an expert in two or more areas of coding, Envato Studio is a good fit. All you need to do is to apply as a service provider and decide your rate. You can also take part in their meet-ups and forums to develop your skills.

Final Thoughts

Many businesses have to switch into online and remote setup. This is the time to build up your career as a freelance coder.

While having little experience is challenging, you can land a long-term gig as long as you have your skills. Many freelancing sites and job boards are available for you to work. Some of them are paid, but many are free.

These free platforms only ask for a little commission from your profit, which you have to consider when deciding your rate.

Know your specialized niche and build your portfolio. You can also cater wide-range of expertise if you know multiple scripts or languages. Though it may take a while, your salary will eventually increase as long as you are continuously doing high-quality work.

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Written by Matt Harrison

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Matt Harrison is the VP of Strategy of FreeUp, the preeminent freelance marketplace for hiring high quality, vetted talent. He has hired freelancers from around the world and built teams to service multinational brands resulting from over $100 million in web hosting company acquisitions. He currently lives in St. Petersburg, FL.

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Reviewed & edited by Adam Wright, Editor at Millo.

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