5 reasons you should go freelance as a web developer

Mar 11, 2015

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.

So you’ve learned how to code -- congratulations! We all know how hard it can be, but the rewards, both personal and professional are manifold. So what do you do now? Apply for a job with Google, start an internship with Apple, or see what’s going on in the startup scene near you? All of these are valid options, but have you considered going freelance?

More and more talented coders are taking advantage of what freelancing can offer them in terms of lifestyle, wages and career advancement. With your new in-demand skills, it’s an option you simply can’t afford to ignore. So, let’s take a look at the many benefits of going freelance as a web developer:

1. Better work/life balance

As a freelancer your work/life balance is immediately improved. By choosing your own working hours, you can increase your leisure time and work when you are at your most productive (even if that’s the middle of the night). You can spend more time with your children, friends, or the dog and steal moments to relax and do the things you love. No more traffic jams on the way to work, no more queuing up in the mornings for a train ticket.

2. Be your own boss

As a freelancer you’ll be making all the decisions, big and small, and reaping all the rewards yourself. You’ll no longer have to bow down to your boss or compromise your ideas to meet someone else’s expectations. You can choose who you want to work with and the types of projects on which you work, particularly if you have an excess of clients. If you find you have too much to do you can drop high maintenance or slow-paying clients or turn down less interesting projects at will. As a freelancer, you are also physically more free. No more being chained to a desk in an office on the 5th floor – you can work wherever you like: in a coffee shop, in the park, or even your bed!

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3. Autonomy over hours and pay

The great thing about going freelance is choosing not only the hours you work, but how much you charge. You can say a polite “no thank you” to that miserable client, and his criminally low budget, too. The more experience you acquire, the more confident you’ll be to charge your worth. Speak to other freelancers about their rate of pay and see if it matches your own salary expectations. You’ll be surprised by how much you can make when there is no middleman to take a cut of your fee. If you want to charge more, you can do it. If you feel you’re not making enough per hour, change your hourly rate, or charge per project. No more asking your boss for a raise. Also, with no travel costs, smart work clothes or daily bought lunches, you save a lot of money too.

4. Variety in your work

As a freelance developer you will experience a much greater variety in your work than a standard 9-5, as your clients and workload will change all the time. From creative projects to corporate contracts, you never know what each week will hold or which new client you’ll be adding to your network.

5. You learn every aspect of running a business

Being a freelancer will help you learn how to manage money and also keep up with your financial paperwork. You will be the salesperson, administrator, bookkeeper and project manager on top of the work you’re actually being paid to do - web development. Learning these skills may be hard work, but they will be a great addition to your portfolio.

Do you have any more advice for people launching their careers as freelance web developers? We’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

Rosie Allabarton is Content Manager at CareerFoundry, Europe’s leading online school for courses in Web Development and UX Design. Through CareerFoundry’s mentor-centric, outcome-orientated approach, the company takes absolute beginners and brings them up to employable standards in tech.