6 Big Benefits of Freelancing for Software and Web Developers in 2021

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updated May 29, 2021

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So you’re thinking about starting a side hustle and using your tech skills to make some money?

If that’s the case, then congratulations!

It has never been easier to start a freelancing career than right now.

The COVID pandemic has changed the job market for good, and working from home is a great option to make the most of the current remote work opportunities.

But if you have never tried freelancing before, I know it can feel daunting to take those first steps.

I know how you feel. I remember exactly how scared I was to quit my office job back in 2017 to pursue freelancing full-time.

But the risk paid off, and I’ve never been happier with my job.

I can choose when I work, spend more time with family and friends, and make more money while working less hours.

Sound good?

Then you ought to look into freelancing and at least try it out.

To help you find your motivation and kick-start your tech side hustle, Ashley Wilson is going to walk you through 6 big benefits of freelancing as a web or software developer.

While I was reviewing Ashley’s article and making suggestions, I felt like it was 2017 again and I was just getting started with freelancing. The perks and benefits she covers below are 100% on point!

So, which freelancing benefit is going to give you the nudge to try it out?

Take it away, Ashley!

Just a few related articles you may want to read, too:

Over the past decade, freelancing has been on the rise.

In 2019, around 57 million Americans, or around 35 percent of the US workforce, worked freelance.

This rise was reflected in the concurrent explosion of coworking spaces that have capitalized on the gig economy.

Moreover, when the COVID pandemic hit and forced people to stay at home, this only led to a marked rise in the number of people who turned to freelancing to make money to feed their families. 

In fact, a 2020 report by Upwork found that during the pandemic, freelance workers contributed a whopping $1.2 trillion to the American economy. This represented a 22 percent increase compared to 2019.

What’s more, the report identified a few key freelancing trends over the past year:

  1. Most people who were new to remote work ended up finding it a viable alternative to an office job and were considering it as a long-term solution.
  2. Almost half of the freelancers surveyed for the report said that they thought of freelancing as a long-term career.
  3. 58 percent of non-freelancers who turned to freelancing have stated that they would consider freelancing in the future. 
  4. Companies were also happy with this arrangement, as many of them hired freelancers regularly.
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So although the pandemic has had tons of negative effects on the economy, freelancing is clearly becoming a more lucrative career option.

If you are wondering whether freelancing is the right choice for you, you are in the right place. 

In this post, I will cover some of the biggest benefits of freelancing as a software or web developer.

By the end of this article, you will have a clear idea of why you should give freelancing a go. 

And even if you may not be ready to become a full-time freelancer, you can easily set up a profitable side hustle as a part-time freelance developer.

The 6 Biggest Benefits of Freelance Work

Software and web development are among the most popular jobs to freelance

This should come as no surprise when you consider that coders, in general, don’t need much to get to work: just their laptop and a stable internet connection. 

Also, of all the possible freelance jobs, skilled programmers tend to make the most money. For instance, a site like Upwork can earn them around $150 per hour.

The long and short of it is that not only is freelance work here to stay, but more software and web developers are also bound to flock to it in the future. 

This should seem all the more obvious when you consider all the benefits developers enjoy when working remotely.

Let me walk you through a few ways freelancing helps developers grow.

1: Personal Growth

Freelancing forces developers to improve themselves to survive. 

While an employed worker has the comfy cushion of stability and can afford to be a bit flaky every now and then, freelancers are hired on a per-project basis.

If you fail to bring your A-game every single time, you won’t be asked back again.

Moreover, freelance developers have to work on their soft skills, whereas an employed coder wouldn’t necessarily lose sleep over their negotiation skills. 

Becoming a successful freelance developer means you are essentially representing your own brand. That’s why you need to learn how to sell yourself.

You have to be able to convince your client that you are a good fit and know how to deal with different customers, some of whom may be demanding. 

learn to code online and become a freelance developer

Most importantly, you have to work on your communication skills as a freelance developer. 

When you freelance, you don’t have the luxury of a boss telling you the required specs of the code you are writing. 

Hence, you have to take the time to fully understand exactly what the client wants and how they envision the final product.

Furthermore, freelance developers always have to remember that they are more than just programmers; they are effectively businessmen responsible for handling their own marketing, branding, and finances.

2: Career Growth

Next, let’s consider what you need to do to stay up-to-date with your career skills.

Whether we like it or not, we have an innate tendency to take the easy way, the path of least resistance. 

Hence, more often than not, an employed developer working for a company will neither work on their technical skills nor learn new programming languages unless asked to do so. 

Moreover, very few will feel compelled to learn about new, emerging technologies.

Freelance developers don’t have this luxury. 

When you interact with different clients, they all have their own demands and expectations. Therefore, you need to expand your technical base and add new skills to your arsenal.

Otherwise, you risk losing your competitive edge in the market to a more nimble competitor. 

Additionally, you should always stay on the cutting edge of your field if you want your clients to view you as an expert.

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Freelance developers have the added benefit of interacting with different experts and learning from their experience.

For instance, you can find software development agencies that prefer to work with freelance developers rather than hiring full-time in-house staff. 

As a result, you could be working with a certain team during a project, then collaborate with another team on a different project, all the while learning from the experience of both teams. 

This is not to mention the kind of experience and education you could get when you work with a startup team, helping them develop proprietary software.

3: Room for Expansion

Some freelance developers can be so successful that they end up pulling in more work than they can handle. 

If that happens, you want to consider bringing in other freelancers to work for you. 

Also, you can hire freelancers with complementary skills to add to your range of services.

For example, let’s say you want to offer full-service website packages to your clients. That includes both the design and the development.

If you are not comfortable with graphic design, you can find a reliable freelance designer to help you out. 

That way, you can manage the entire project together with your freelance partner, and your client doesn’t have to worry about finding a designer of their own.

Similarly, if you really think you can pull it off, you might want to consider starting your own web development or software development agency.

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4: Improved Work-Life Balance

Unlike employees who have to work in a cubicle, freelancers have plenty of control over their work environment, allowing them to increase productivity

You can set it up however you see fit, making sure that it is perfectly suited to your individual needs.

An office setting can be noisy and filled with distractions, but a freelancer working from home can have all the quiet and peace necessary to focus on the job and to produce quality code. 

In fact, a survey by Flexjobs found that more than three-quarters of employees try to stay clear of the office when working on important tasks.

Another point to take into consideration is that freelancers have full control of their schedule, whereas employees don’t. 

This might seem like an irrelevant point when it comes to work quality, yet it matters because different people are productive during different hours of the day. 

Some like getting up in the morning, so a 9 to 5 schedule suits them. 

However, others are night owls, doing their best work when everybody else is asleep, and forcing these people to work on a morning schedule can do more harm than good.

learning to code online and freelancing

5: Better Quality of Life

Freelancing allows web developers to strike a better work-life balance. 

After all, when you can set up your own schedule and decide how much work to take on, you can also devote more time to family and friends.

You will never have to miss big occasions in your children’s lives because work kept you from it.

In addition to all of this, when you can choose the projects you want to work on, you will see massive psychological benefits.

It makes you feel you have more control over your life, and it ensures that you will only work on projects that you enjoy. This will help you maintain your passion for the job for years to come. 

What’s more, Field Nation published a study that found that two of the main three motivators behind picking the life of a freelancer were:

  1. “The ability to choose work” and
  2. “Control over one’s own destiny”

Sound good? Then freelancing might just be your thing!

Working remotely as a freelance web developer

6: Better Pay

Some freelance developers make more than twice or even three times the amount of money they would have made had they been employees. 

Freelancers save plenty of time and expenses by cutting their commute, avoiding office hours, and working in a productive environment of their choosing.

With that in mind, you can make the same money a full-time employee makes.

But while the employee has to put in 40-hour workweeks, a freelancer can get by with much less time for the same amount of money. 

However, this doesn’t mean that freelancing would be a get-rich-quick scheme. You need to put in plenty of hard work to become a successful freelance web developer. 

But once you get the ball rolling, things can ramp up quickly. 

If your clients are happy, they will recommend you to their contacts, and you will soon see a snowball effect with potential clients getting in touch with you.

Summing it up: Considering the Bigger Picture

Even though there are several advantages to working as a freelance web developer, it is just as important to take into consideration the drawbacks. 

For example, freelancers have little job security or stability. It is up to you to find your clients, convince them with your portfolio, and land the job.

Also, some freelancers may get stiffed by a client refusing to pay for the work done, which is just part of the risk that comes with the job. However, you can easily avoid this problem by asking for a 50% payment upfront, for example.

Being an employee has its own benefits, including health insurance and contributions to a retirement fund, so you have to weigh the pros and cons of each option.

In short, it is worth considering the bigger picture and knowing all the facts before committing to a decision to go freelance, but it is definitely rewarding.

If you are ready to start your freelancing journey right now, head over to Mikke’s step-by-step guide on how to become a freelance web developer.

And if you are already freelancing, please share your thoughts in the comments below!


About the Author

Ashley Wilson is a content creator, writing about business and tech. She has been known to reference movies in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.

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About Mikke

Hi! I’m the creator of MikkeGoes.com, a platform where I help beginners learn how to code. I’m here to share my favorite tools, resources, and strategies to help you learn the right tech skills faster. When I’m not blogging, you will find me sipping strong coffee and biking around town in Berlin. Learn how I taught myself tech skills and became a web dev entrepreneur here. And come join me on Pinterest and Twitter!

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