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The simplest way to find your next freelance project

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What you will learn:

  • The advantages and challenges of freelancing as a tech professional
  • The 5 steps to becoming a freelancer
  • How to find your first clients and manage your time and workload
  • Expert tips for standing out from the competition


If you're considering becoming a freelancer but don't know where to start, you're in the right place. More and more tech professionals are considering freelancing to gain freedom, flexibility, and potentially higher pay.

To explore this topic, we spoke with freelance developers who have made the transition from full-time employment to freelancing. With their help, we've created this article that provides a step-by-step guide to successfully make the transition.

Our guests

1. Becoming a freelancer: a step towards freedom?

What motivates an employee who is comfortably settled in their job to risk quitting and becoming independent?

This is one of the questions we asked Samuel. For him, the goal of the transition was clear: to have the opportunity to work 100% remotely and spend as much time as possible with his children. And at that time, only the freelance status allowed him to do so.

Above all else, he was looking for freedom above. The freedom to organise his days (e.g. work when his children are sleeping), and to be autonomous in his daily work. As a freelancer, you choose the projects you want to work on, and you can of course decide to diversify them, in order to broaden your skills to the fullest.

Another advantage, according to Samuel, is compensation: "At an equivalent position, I am convinced that a freelancer earns much more than in a full-time position. I earned 4x more as a freelancer than in a full-time position". But obviously, to get there, you must be able to overcome some of the challenges that come with the freelance status. Let's discuss them right away 👇

2. Becoming a freelancer means changing your mindset

By becoming a freelancer, you are no longer "just" a developer, but also and above all the boss of your own business. The transition from full-time employment to freelancing requires that you prepare yourself to take on more responsibilities.

You may have difficulty finding clients at first, or struggle with managing your workload and the instability of your income. This is normal! You will gradually learn to manage the ups and downs of your new activity, and to master the necessary skills: prospecting, negotiating with clients, managing a project from A to Z, taking responsibility for your decisions and your potential mistakes.

It's important to keep in mind that it's not always easy to move from the comfort of a salaried job to the freelance status. However, it's possible to transition smoothly: you can start by taking on a first mission on which you work in the evening and/or on weekends. If you enjoy it, repeat the experience. These first attempts will allow you to project yourself and evaluate whether a 100% freelance professional life would suit you.

3. Five key steps to successfully launch your freelance business

Step 1: Take time to consider your motivations and career objectives

"Before becoming a freelancer, you need to ask yourself the right questions about your expectations, your ambitions, and what you are willing to sacrifice to achieve them."
- Samuel

Before you start freelancing, it's important to reflect on your motivations. "Ask yourself the right questions about your expectations, your ambitions, and what you are willing to sacrifice to achieve them," advises Samuel.

Is it a desire for freedom and autonomy, a better earning potential, or the opportunity to live abroad? Then, evaluate if these motivations are strong enough to outweigh the sacrifices you will have to make (less stability, having to seek out clients, potentially having a greater workload).

If that's the case, you've already taken an important first step towards becoming a freelancer! It's crucial not to overlook this step, as it will help you ensure that you're not embarking on this path for the wrong reasons. Taking the time for introspection might reveal that your current job no longer satisfies you, but that being an employee is nonetheless still suitable for your current aspirations. In such a situation, changing companies may be a better solution for you.

Step 2: Define your primary skill set

When considering a career as a freelancer, you may have a range of skills and expertise to offer. However, it's essential to identify your main area of focus as clients who hire freelancers usually have specific requirements and look for specialised skills.

You should identify:

  1. What you prefer doing: list all the skills you have and rank them based on your preference.
  2. What you can offer that others cannot: identify your unique and rare skills that set you apart from other freelancers (we look at this more in detail further down)

By defining your primary skill set, potential clients will be able to understand your value and what you can offer them simply by looking at your title.

Step 3: Financial Preparation

Transitioning from employee to a freelancer may allow you to earn a better living. However, it's crucial to prepare for the changes that come with it, particularly the most significant one: a non-recurring income.

"It's important to save money to cope with the downturns and uncertainties,"
- Emmanuel.

Being a freelancer means accepting uneven income from one month to the next and being ready to deal with it. If you plan to become a full-time freelancer, make sure you have a safety net in place that will enable you to manage periods of low income. Managing your income becomes even more important than when you are in a permanent position: you will no longer think in terms of salary but rather in terms of revenue.

The trap is that at first glance, it may seem like the same thing: money that falls into your bank account. However, as a freelancer, you will have to pay taxes that depend on your legal structure.

Step 4: Build your business legal structure

Depending on the country you’re based in, you have different options.

In France, your best option will likely be the “Micro-Entrepreneur” status. This is a simplified status that allows you to start a small business or provide services as a freelancer with lower taxes and social security contributions. This status is suitable for those whose income does not exceed a certain threshold (€72,500 for sales or €176,200 for services in 2022).

In Germany, there is a special status for freelancers: “Freelance Profession" (Freiberufler).

This is a special legal status for certain professions that are considered to be "freelance" in nature, such as doctors, lawyers, and engineers. Freelancers are subject to lower taxes and have fewer reporting requirements than other business forms. To qualify, you must have a university degree or similar qualification in your field.

In the Netherlands, your best option is likely to be the ZZP (zelfstandige zonder personeel) status. This is the most common type of freelance status in the Netherlands. It translates to "self-employed without personnel" and is similar to the French auto-entrepreneur or German freelancer status. ZZP'ers are responsible for their own administration, taxes, and social security contributions.

Step 5: Finding your first clients

Finding your first clients as a freelancer can be daunting, but "one of the most effective ways to land contracts is to rely on your existing professional network (former colleague, friend, contacts, etc)," shares Samuel. It is very likely that someone you know needs your skills. Getting your hands on a small project for someone you know can help you realise what you are capable of doing!

Our advice: talk about your desire to do freelance work around you, opportunities are often closer than you think!

"Being present online is just as important. Creating a professional portfolio, being active on freelance platforms and professional social networks are the keys to a freelancer's success," emphasises Sara. But building a YouTube channel or a LinkedIn profile with 10,000 subscribers is not that simple. You can therefore sign up for freelance platforms like, which connects you with companies according to your needs. You will be more easily accessible to clients who need your skills.

Actively prospecting should also be part of your strategy. "Participating in local events, conferences related to your area of expertise, trade shows, etc. can help you create new relationships and find many potential clients," adds Emmanuel. He also strongly advises us to "ask for recommendations from satisfied clients to increase our credibility, as a positive review is more valuable than any description or portfolio."

4. Three expert tips to stand out from the competition

Work on your personal branding and online visibility

To stand out from the competition, it's essential to work on your personal branding and ensure that you have good online visibility. "It's important to develop a strong online presence, whether it's on professional social networks or by creating a blog to share your achievements and skills," emphasizes Samuel. As a developer, you can also contribute to open-source projects. So choose what you prefer (blog, videos, open-source projects) and start creating online content to increase your visibility.

"It's important to develop a strong online presence, whether it's on professional social networks or by creating a blog to share your achievements and skills."
- Samuel

But don't panic! You don't need to become the next popular YouTuber. "Your goal is simply to bring your skills to people who are looking to solve a problem," says Samuel. If you want to help startups create their first mobile application, you can create content explaining how to choose the right tools or how to create a beautiful application, for example. "It's up to you to think about the problem you want to solve and provide an answer to that problem in your content. This way, you'll naturally attract clients automatically," according to Emmanuel.

Keep learning continuously to remain competitive in the market

"Never forget that you must continuously train yourself, improve yourself throughout your career to remain competitive and offer quality services to your clients."
- Sara

Technologies evolve so quickly that you must constantly train yourself. "Technological monitoring is very important," Sara tells us. "You must keep up to date with the latest trends in the industry and be able to quickly adapt your skills to meet your clients' needs." For this, nothing is better than books, conferences, blog articles, etc. "Documenting your learning through a blog, tweets or videos can also be a great trick to create content and learn at the same time," says Samuel.

Find your niche

To stand out, you can also specialise. "You can choose a preferred field or combine two subfields to position yourself as an expert," advises Emmanuel. "By specialising in a niche, you will be able to demonstrate your expertise and attract clients who are specifically looking for your skills, not someone else's."

"By offering complementary services related to your area of expertise (such as training, consulting, etc.), you can also differentiate yourself," says Sara. "One of the best ways to find ideas for additional and complementary services is to follow your passions." Do you love a particular sport? Target companies or associations related to that sport. Are you passionate about video? Offer to create videos for your client so they can publish them on their website.

"By specialising in a niche, you will be able to demonstrate your expertise and attract clients who are specifically looking for your skills, not someone else's."
- Emmanuel

5. Being a freelancer also means knowing how to say no

Time and project management is a crucial aspect of succeeding as a freelance developer. "You absolutely must plan your schedule well and learn to juggle between different projects to stay productive and pay attention to details," warns Samuel. Even though it is entirely possible to have multiple clients at the same time (which will happen faster than you think), you must be careful not to let yourself become overwhelmed with work. "Especially in the world of code, we often underestimate the time needed to develop a feature," Emmanuel points out.

You must learn to say no to projects that do not match your skills and could compromise the quality of your work. It is tempting to want to accept everything and anything, but "it is better to accept one project for a month that you are capable of completing, rather than four projects for a week on which you do not feel legitimate," advises Sara.

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