Working as a Freelancer

I have been working as a freelance software developer for 3 months now. Before that, I worked 5 years on a couple of companies in Turkey, one of them was a place everyone in my profession in Turkey wants to work for. I worked there for 2 years. It was my last full time job.

Working for a corporate company has its ups and downs. I was paid well, had a lot of perks. I had cool coworkers, now I have the people I meet in Starbucks. I make less money now. But I’m happier. I choose what I do, how I do it. I don’t have to work many hours on a project knowing it will fail. I take projects I believe in and enjoy every minute of it. I don’t have to use outdated tools like ClearCase, QC. I don’t have to spend hours and hours in meetings.

A close friend of mine started his own company 3 years ago and he was a big inspiration for me to start working on my own. We have to do a mandatory military service in Turkey, and if you quit your job to do your service, you get a severance package. So I decided I would get it over with, got my severance package and quit. It sucked my life away for 6 months, but that’s another story.

I finished my service on January, and immediately started working. First month, I coded apps for myself to find out what’s new in Android and iOS world, only one of them ended up being published.

Okay, I decided I wasn’t rusty anymore, I needed to find clients. But how?

Well, my first paid freelance work was from a friend for an iOS PhoneGap plugin. It was a lot of fun to do. Then a couple of more small jobs from other people I know. My latest job was again through a friend while having beers. It is an iPad app for a huge company in Turkey. I can’t get into details because I am not allowed to tell people about it for now. But I will be allowed in a month and it should look good in my portfolio. They are happy with my work and we are already talking about future projects.

I had some free time this week and I decided this week that I would start using freelancer websites. I tried to sign up to freelancer.com and I found out I already had an account. Probably because I had an account on rentacoder.com years ago.

Anyway, I tried bidding. Wow, there are a lot of bidders who would work for much less then I do. I tried taking English test, sponsoring my bids, but didn’t get a lot of replies on my first week.

Then I got a phone call for a job offer from a local company. They found my resume online and  they were looking for an experienced Java developer. After telling them I didn’t want a full time job, they asked if I coded iOS apps. Apparently, they were also looking for someone to help update their app. Lucky me. I may have found another project.

If you are thinking about working as a freelancer, make sure you have a good personal network. Online freelancer websites will only help if you are willing to work for really cheap. That is for new users. If you do a couple of cheap projects, you may end up getting better ones once your clients are happy about your work. But if you have a good network, you will start getting paid well immediately.

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