Freelancing advice

Hello all,

I was wondering if anyone would be willing to share they’re experiences freelancing? I am a junior developer (front end mainly, still learning tho :grinning:) and I was looking into freelancing through Upwork or another site…but I was curious how many of you have tried it and if it has been successful for you? I live in a rural community and would love to work remotely as there is not a lot of job opportunities here otherwise.

If any of you all would be willing to share your story here - that would be wonderful! Thanks I’m advance!

Just another note - I’ve applied for numerous junior developer jobs out there…and I haven’t even had one interview! I don’t fit the typical mold and I don’t have a university degree in CS or some related field. It’s honestly been really difficult for me not to find work in the job I love!

Hi CandiW, 19+ years freelancing/running my own webdev business (and other online ventures). I’ve shared my experiences here and there here on FCC. Just look into my post archive.

I’ve never done Upwork. I think they’re a race to the bottom in terms of pricing. But if cost of living in your country is low, and you’re getting Western/European clients, you can make a good living charging customers U.S. Dollar$. Otherwise, it would be hard to make a living wage. There are some exceptions, but most will not.

Instead of trying to get a “job”, maybe try creating your own “job”, web design business in your area/town/county… approach businesses in your area, offer to design their website for a low price ($300-$600 for a good 5-10 static page website, just offering basic info, contact form, map, services, products page)… and even make some recurring income by offering to host the same website for them (you’ll be a reseller of hosting services, adding your own markup), so they don’t have to worry about anything… a single point of contact - YOU. And you charge them $20/mo to $25/mo per website hosting (that’s an easy $240-$300 a year, per client). So you’ll design their website, plus host it… so 1st year, a business will just pay you a flat fee of say $600–$800… then on the second year, they pay you $240 for hosting fees… and if sometime during the next 12 months, they’ll want additional pages on their new spanking website (believe me, they will), they’ll call on you to do the work, and you can charge them another $25-$75 per HOUR of work… and we’re just talking about (1) client here.

Now, imagine you have 50 to 100, or 200 of these design+hosting clients in your town. That’s reasonable, doable… each paying you for hosting and web design services. — you may change your mind about wanting a job as an employee! Just do the math.

Approach realtors, criminal lawyers, insurance agents, stores, bakeries, cake shops, retail businesses, service businesses, churches, childcare services, etc. You get the idea… And if you provide good service, they’ll come back to you again and again, and also refer you to their friends and associates.

** ps. this is how I personally started in this web dev business. I used to just do this as a hobby at night after coming home from my day job. Pretty soon, making more than my day job and I’m calling in sick every week just so I can finish my own project deadlines.

*** ps2: and you don’t need a CS degree to do this kind of thing. Don’t have any “graphics/fine art” skills? Then use Upwork to find someone to design the logo for you… and you pay them what $5-20 for that task, and charge your client $50-100 for that extra task.

***ps3 It’s not easy, running your own business is hard, some months you’ll have plenty, some months you have famine, some months you’re overflowing. But you can also see the potential (and limitless) upside to this. You’re not limited to a fixed salary per year. It’s all up to you, on how much or little you want to work.


Thanks so much for taking the time to respond! I appreciate you sharing your story. A lot to consider here for me in deciding what to do. Funny you’d mention graphics, because I do have some graphic design experience under my belt, mainly creating social media graphics but also some logos.

I should’ve mentioned too that I do live here in the US, just an area where there’s not a whole lot of work. People hold on to their jobs for years and unless you’re in the military (the base is about 45 minutes away), it’s hard to get work otherwise.

I will look into your past post archive as well… thanks so much for your response!

Yeah, depending on what country you live, you may not need much $$$ to get by.
I’ve watched some Youtube developers and between their YT ad income and some remote work jobs on Fiverr or Upwork, they just need $300+ to rent a nice 2BR condominium in their city. Crazy cheap!!!

Which leads me to another topic… you can make money online. A few hundreds, here and there, from many sources and they can add up pretty quickly.

Example: Start a blog site, review website, or some topic/hobby website… run Google Adsense ads, link to products to Amazon for affiliate commissions, same with eBay commissions, and others. Build traffic on your site, run ads… profit. May not be much at the beginning, but it will eventually grow.

Google Adsense Ads… on the low end, possible to make $3 to $5 a day… is what? $100-$150/mo extra income. Some sites make $50-$100 a day depending on their traffic volume! Multiple that by 30 days… that’s not chump change.

Same with Amazon-- review products, compare, give pros and cons, then link to the products for your blog/website visitors with your recommendation… make 3% to 8% commission for every sale. During Christmas and other holidays (like Mother’s day, Fathers day, Labor day, Back tot School, etc) you’ll see spike in sales. I used to run an Amazon affiliate site, where I just dump/display home appliance, utensils, kitchen stuff, electronics, flat screen TVs, DVD players, home and garden stuff, etc all linking back to Amazon… and it’s a couple hundred dollars a month, free money in commissions.

Check out for inspiration-- lots of people, running their own online business (some without even coding knowledge). Some publish newsletters on a chosen topic (whatever, health, vegan recipes, software tools, news, etc) and accept sponsored posts in their newsletters, some make $3K/month. Some, even more…

I mean, you don’t need CS degree to do these stuff, right?