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How to get started in IT Freelancing

How to get started in IT Freelancing

Opinions are of course my own.

Jecelyn Yeen

May 01, 2020

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  1. Freelance comes in many flavours 1. Someone wants to build

    a software (website / apps) from scratch 2. Someone wants to add features to existing software 3. Engage you as part of the tech team ◦ Company has no headcount for permanent ◦ Software house sub out some project works 4. Consulting, usually hour base 5. Training, usually hour base Project vs Hour base, Long vs Short term Biz communication skill is essential for almost all cases, if you do this alone.
  2. How to build your profile / attract clients? • Social

    media marketing / SEO / SEM ◦ Share useful contents periodically • Building online / offline presence ◦ website ◦ create tech content: blog / podcast / youtube ◦ testimonials ◦ past projects or create some - provide urls or screenshots, if possible ◦ Sharing in community events / conferences (train your comms skill and maybe potential opportunities) • Word of mouths, always try to end your project in good terms • Anything that can show off what you know and make you look legit ◦ E.g. Find NGO to help them rebuild their website (as part of building portfolio and expanding network also)
  3. How much I should charge? (minimum hourly rate) Need money

    urgently? Current salary / 20 days / 8 hours = your hourly rate Expected salary / 20 days / 8 hours = your hourly rate Example: Cik Kiah Current salary = 4000 Hourly rate = 25 Expected salary = 8000 Hourly rate = 50 Above should be the MINIMUM but usually you go HIGHER by at least - 1.5, 2x, 3x, 4x, Nx... because:- • No EPF, SOSCO, Employee benefits • It’s short term / cost of hiring and maintenance employee cost higher • Check also the local market rate for foreign projects (Go local job site survey, charge higher if their local rate is higher) • Charge higher easier to nego down*
  4. How much I should charge? (project rate) Above should be

    the MINIMUM but usually you go HIGHER by at least - 1.5, 2x, 3x, 4x, Nx…, because :- • Buffer in about 10-40% for “surprises”. Usually 30%. • Time is money: travel, training, meeting, admin misc... • Warranty period (1-3 months) • Maintenance contract (could be part of it or offer it as extra service separately) Your hour rate * total project estimation hours (study, dev, testing, etc) = minimum project rate
  5. Am I charging too high? • Compare to who -

    the market? Think about Proton Saga, Toyota Vios, and BMW. Each got its own market. • Find ways to lower down your cost, shorten dev, testing, setup. (e.g. CI/CD, use template, buy plugins, reuse previous code, outsource, etc) • Offer extra services rather than cut your price, if possible. (e.g. extended warranty period, free project analysis, etc.) • Pick project that has the highest value for you, if you have a choice. (e.g. too competitive in building static website? Specialize in those custom web app dev) Know your value, charge accordingly. Price war never end!
  6. Protect yourself by • Split the project by phases •

    Understand the project expectation (timeline, requirements) before commit / quote / invoice. • Asking for progressive payment (30%, 50%, 80%, ...) • If you are selling source code, do not offer source code before payment milestone reach (e.g. 90%) • Put expiry date in software. (Invoice overdue date * 1-3 months) - Use with caution ya • Frequent communications to avoid misunderstanding and time wasting, black and white comms • Don’t undercharge* • Take care of your health / burnout