If you like the idea of picking and choosing projects that interest you, working from home on your own schedule and making good money without ever leaving the comfort of your home, then a career as a freelance programmer doing work from home might be just the opportunity that you're looking for. Do you know the ins and outs of ASP, PHP, Java or CSS? Do you love writing code? Then you have a very marketable skill that can help you earn money.
You'll need persistence, great communication skills, organizational skills and accountability to finish your work and deliver on time. If you're willing to put in the time and effort to hunt down jobs, stay on top of them, and work even when you don't feel like working, read on to find out how to work from home as a freelance programmer in easy baby steps. Like any other business that you work at home, the key is in the work that you're willing to put in.
Know your market
As of this writing, it's PHP, ASP and .NET programming, but that could well change next week. Do some research so that you know which skills you can use to make the most money.
Your own web page is your best advertisement for your skills. Take the time to go over it with a fine tooth comb to be sure that it's professional, attractive and flawless. Include a portfolio of your work, with working samples, if possible. Coded games and net utilities are easy to include, but don't forget screen shots and information on scripts and desktop applications. Be sure to include contact information and links to any projects that you worked on. When you work from home, you need to be your own publicist, and a good home page is the first step. Keep in mind these things:
- Do Some Freebies
- Join Freelance Job Bidding Boards
- Be Professional
If anything, you need to be far more organized than the guy with the full support staff. Be organized enough to deliver your work on time, and keep track of work that you accept. Work from home doesn't mean work sloppy. Record every payment you receive, and don't forget to deduct fees. There's no sales department, no accounting department - it's all you. Learn to communicate professionally from your opening bid to the thank you letter when you receive payment.
While there are some people who will hire you as a work from home freelancer for a job that takes several weeks to several months, most of your work will be on shorter term projects. How long does it take you to upload a script to a server and tweak the settings? Twenty minutes? Half an hour? There are people out there willing to pay you around $35-$50 to do that for them. Those are what I call 'bread-and-butter' jobs. They keep the money coming in on a steady basis between the big jobs. Check the job and help wanted boards every day to pick up a few of those. It brings in the money, and keeps your name active enough to show up when buyers search for a programmer.
The art of work from home freelancing isn't difficult to learn. Those are the basics. Using them, you'll find that your earnings are only limited by how well you market yourself and how hard you're willing to work.