1) Work for one large client and essentially become an employee (consider this. a lot of startups pay good money for remote employees)
2) Work for multiple clients
Focusing on #2 here
Core rule: You want to be paid premium for quality and service.
Avoid marketplaces - it's very hard to compete on quality here.
Niche - the more focused you are on a (profitable) niche the better you can charge premium for domain competence
As thibaut_barrere mentioned - Build a brand - i would even go further - create an agency like brand. At the point is stopped saying "I" but said "we" i was able to charge more.
Dont charge by the hour but by the value - most developers charge their time - you want to charge the value you provide to the client. Read up on "willingness to pay"
Most important: Deliver as promised and always try to over-deliver in service, quality, etc. Eg try to understand why the client asks for features and not only what features she/he asks for - you might be able to come up with better solutions or anticipate future requests. Any successful project should usually lead to improved reputation and more projects and clients.
Have an upvote. I don't work in software, but I am a grant writing consultant, and I've never met a successful consultant of any kind who relied on or even used marketplaces.
A huge part of many consultants's lives consists of marketing and pitching. I know that we've found email marketing to be our biggest strength in this regard. Consultants who can't get deal flow or close deals won't survive.
I also learned a lot about assertiveness and saying no by being a consultant: http://jakeseliger.com/2014/04/07/how-i-learned-about-assert....
You have now. I started on PeoplePerHour. Once I had a few good reviews on my profile, I could get jobs more easily; eventually got some big clients off them, which pushed me to PPH's top 5 and I was able to get whichever job I would bid on from then on; I'd always seek the large ones that would last a few months.
At the time of course, PPH was a fairly newish marketplace. It's very different now; polluted with low grade jobs and low grade bidders that promise the world for $100.
But to me, this tells that the problem isn't "the marketplace" but the target audience.
In any case, big +1 to GP post. To reiterate two of their points:
1. Do avoid most marketplaces, unless you can find one where you can easily compete on quality (and if you do find one, tell me about it, heh).
2. Charge fixed price by the value. This means choose your jobs and clients carefully. If you pick a bad client, or a job where you need more time than you anticipated to complete it, you might end up underpaid - Roll with it and learn from it, don't make the same mistake twice.
These things are easier said than done. Could you share a bit about what you've learned in the way of avoiding bad clients and estimating your work?
a) Its easy for clients to blurt stuff out over the phone without a second thought. It's impossible for me to take accurate notes on this, only to get an impression of what they're after.
b) A written brief tells a lot about someone's communication capabilities. When a written brief is poor then I have a better idea on how to deal with a client like this, i.e. I have to do a lot more hand holding and depending on my existing workload I can either decide to let them go or not.
Also, watch out for clients who bring carrot danglers, i.e. they will suggest that you should do this project either for cheap or free because they have a lot of other projects coming up in the near future (they don't). In this scenario simply reply that you have to charge 100% for this project but that you might be able to give a discount on a future project, you won't hear from them again since they want cheap or free.
Also, never lower your hourly rate but give a discount instead. This means that clients still see what you'd normally charge and if they come back in the future you actually can charge them your normal rate.
Bad clients will always have red flags early on. If you talk to them for 30 minutes and the job is already twice the size you initially thought it was, you might be with someone who will want to ask for more along the way.
If there is any doubt:
- Ask for a small % in advance or a larger % in escrow. Clients that can't handle that are unlikely to be easy to deal with come time of the bill.
- If the project is unclear, ask for sketches/photoshops before signing the final contract. You can also do those yourself and ask if this is what they have in mind.
- Make sure to have a written transcription of exactly what you will do, alongside the contract. Emails, transcribed/recorded calls, etc.
If you're a core part of your client's product, they will more than likely be willing to hire you for more work, or as an employee for continued maintenance.
And don't be afraid of saying no to shitty contracts. One really good client can easily bring you a year's worth of work.
Without that job board, I would not have been able to make the switch from programming into translation.
I basically did everything more or less the way you described. Which is something absolutely hard to do. As a result, in Aug 2014 we were 2 but today, as I write this, we are 14 and growing.
Company is profitable, has no VC money and is fully self-funded (initially, by my computer and...a decent internet connection).
The main way clients came to us is through our website, Dribbble, Behance but also through referrals - people that worked with us in the past, and that recommend our work to a friend. This latter is the oldest but definitely the best marketing you can get!
Me: I see you're looking to fill a position involving a lot of graphics work. We could help you out.
Them: Please send the resume.
Me: I'm not offering the services of just a single developer. We have a variety of services we offer. Please see our web site at <http://www.example.com/>.
Me: I'm unclear what resume you want me to send. I'm not offering you a single person, but a full-service solution.
I'm sure I could have spent time coming up with some response for these people, but it wasn't worth it. I ended up only working with clients I could deal with directly as it was much easier to have a conversation with them.
So just be aware that you'll have to deal with this type of nonsense from time-to-time.
I think you just described what 'sales' is.
Which is another way of saying, the general problem isn't a good billing model. It's good clients. Unfortunately, most contractors/freelancers starting out and looking for advice won't have good clients (even when they have clients at all) and will have trouble distinguishing good clients from people who look like good clients until the invoice arrives.
1. Don't take the work at any price.
2. Do it for free.
Again, if a person has experience and great clients, the choice of pricing model is a problem. If a person lacks experience to judge what the value is in the client's domain and/or the client isn't proven to be good, pricing model doesn't matter as much.
The value model price isn't based on what the work is worth, it's based on what the freelancer believes the client believes the work is worth. Under the value based pricing model, if the client is deluded it's reasonable to fleece them...and deluded clients who pay well are good clients.
This sounds like a recipe for disaster to me without a lot more explanation. Time is the main cost to a provider, so it's very natural that time would also be the driver for billing. "Charging for value" sounds like you're trying to say "fixed price" without actually saying it. I have many, many issues with trying to do fixed price projects of any appreciable size (say, more than 20-40 hours).
What do you mean, precisely, by "charge by the value"?
Say you're really good with Postgres, instead of just hanging out a shingle for "any Postgres stuff?" you offer something like a one time $2500 "Postgres Performance Audit".
You get really good at this one thing, have a set bunch of scripts, very deep knowledge, predone report template, etc. and providing a bunch of value. So at the end of the day who cares that it only took you 5 hours (effectively making $500/hr).
Bunch of examples: http://www.christophengelhardt.com/ultimate-badass-list-of-p...
That being said, if the client is unable to commit to tight specs and project plans, you need to revert to invoicing on a time & materials basis. But even if you do that, you should really charge a daily rate, rather than an hourly rate.
That's really going to depend on the type of work you do and the type of clients you can find. In my experience, it's difficult to get contracts with larger businesses unless you know someone already or have some sort of "in" with them. And smaller business tend to be poorly run and are barely making any money on their products and services, so they have very thin margins or are even losing money.
Practically I've had success recently by charging weekly. I keep this rate deliberately lower (about half my old full time consulting rate). Then I send them a weekly report along with the invoice every week. They get to see exactly what they got for the money. It usually takes me 15-20 hours to deliver enough value for the weekly rate.
So there are lots of things to try. Small changes in billing can have a large impact on your relationship with your client.
That mentality is similar to charge by value.
Domain experience and expertise are also key. I have a rare blend of experience and technical capability that align perfectly with my primary contract. This limits some of the risk that is associated with relying so much financially on a single entity since they'd have a really hard time ending things with me and swapping in another programmer. I'll also go above and beyond for this client as it's needed. It's a two way street.
Anyways, best wishes on finding a good source of contract work but I'd recommend investigating any major/long term contract. They can simplify your life and be extremely rewarding.
Do this. Get familiar with contract law and make sure your customers execute one that's favorable to you getting paid. Also, ensure you assign at least a license to the client paying you to avoid any problems down the road if you intend to reuse code.
If you intend to tackle big projects you usually need to deal with net terms. Find an invoice factoring company to help you cashflow those deals. They base interest on the loans on your clients.
I came into Syracuse knowing nobody and nothing.
I had never done any app making as of January 2015. I had done some wordpress stuff, but just the basics.
And I had (and have) no CS degree.
I now make a living on contract work. I did it by going to local meetups and introducing myself as a freelance web developer. Nevermind that I hadn't done freelance web development ever. I kept going to meetups for month and still attend a monthly hacker meetup. I participated in hackathons without really knowing how to program.
But all along the way I met people more experienced than I am and picked up two clients along the way. I think one thing that I do differently to most is that I charge a high rate (I always quote $150/hr). I am willing to negotiate lower than that but its a starting point. I have been paid that in the past for less complicated work like hiring developers and being a project manager.
What am I saying? Your questions is what sites to use? Just one: meetup.com
I find that meetups can sometimes become circle-jerks for people in a similar field to just get together and talk/humblebrag. Which is fine, but if that's not your goal you need to look at different meetups which serve that goal.
Some meetups I went to were the exact circle-jerk/humblebragfests you're talking about.
The one I consistently go to (shameless plug [OpenHack Syracuse](http://www.openhacksyr.com) is a monthly meetup for developers to talk about what projects they're working on and to spend time together working on projects, ideas, and sharing info. It's really just an organized hangout/hack session. And it's these types of meetups which are best for getting contract work (because contract work isn't the goal)
Since then, I start with an estimate of $150/hr when I'm calculating price. I've had one person balk and say thats crazy. one.
Everyone else has either came back and said that they can't afford that, that they'd like to pay $XXX instead. Or they've said yes to $150/hr.
What happens if you encounter projects you are unable to solve, is it a fake it until you make it sort of thing?
With just about every project I do I don't know exactly how I'll solve it to begin with. Before I start billing I always have a research phase, either a day or a week, but never more than that, to figure out how I'll do it. I don't bill for hours that I study, just hours that I work on their project.
I hope this is helpful, but essentially, I deal fairly with all clients. As long as terms are understood upfront I find everyone is happy.
Typical projects are 4-6 months I'd say.
Just start quoting double. It's a negotiation.
Remote OK - https://remoteok.io/
Stack Overflow - https://careers.stackoverflow.com/jobs?allowsremote=True
LiquidTalent - http://www.liquidtalent.com/
Working Not Working - http://workingnotworking.com
Hired - https://hired.com/contract-jobs
Gigster - https://gigster.com/
Mirror - http://mirrorplacement.com/
Metova - http://metova.com/
Mokriya - http://mokriya.com/
HappyFunCorp - http://happyfuncorp.com
Savvy Apps - http://savvyapps.com/
Clevertech - http://www.clevertech.biz/
Workstate - http://www.workstate.com/
AngelList - https://angel.co/jobs
I know you're just asking for sites and not approaches to finding contract work, but getting in with a very promising early stage company through contract-to-hire [that allows remote] is probably the most sustainable way to go.
Doing one contract project after another at an hourly rate just doesn't scale well financially and finding a next decent client can be like pulling teeth.
Sites /can/ work (I know people who make a good living off certain sites), but nothing will beat self-managed marketing on the long run.
Feel free to email me (see profile) if you have specific questions.
In short, to answer your question, I never used any sites to find contract work. I got all my leads through face-to-face interaction with real humans in the real world, and a good deal of it came from word-of-mouth because of exceeding my clients' expectations.
Contracting sites marginalize developers and the type of clients who troll them are typically the kind who will try to squeeze as much work out of developers for as little money as they can. On top of that, developers are generally a pretty introverted crowd, so the number of introverted and talented developers who troll those sites looking for work is far greater than the number of outgoing, personable developers in your local area. Which group do you want to compete against?
It's interesting that the other thread was 364 days ago, which would have been exactly this same Monday last year (ie: the beginning of the third week of Jan.)
Instead, I browse job boards and when I find an interesting role I contact the company. If they are interested in my background and the fit is right, I sell them on setting up a contract relationship instead of full-time employee. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't. The important part is being honest that you are looking to work as a contractor, not an employee.
Job boards to consider: AngelList, WeWorkRemotely etc. If you're looking for a list of job boards (http://nodesk.co has lots and so does this article by teleport http://teleport.org/2015/03/best-sites-for-remote-jobs/)
These are informal "Can I take you out to coffee?" talks with people in your industry to see what they are working on, what is happening with them, what is going on in the industry. Every job I have ever gotten is through informal meetings with people I have met through my network (whether its your old job, your friends, parents, relatives, or other).
At the end of every one I ask: "Is there anyone else you think I should talk to?" and "Do you currently have any opportunities at your company for me?". Rinse repeat.
I guarantee that after investing in 30 informational interviews you will find work.
I suspect the secret to contract work success lies in having really good networking skills and a Rolodex of contacts from having worked in a given industry and having a reputation as someone who delivers. If you don't have that then you would probably have better luck finding reasonable work by going to meetups or similar industry events to build a network of professional contacts. The only way I know of to do this online is to become a notable contributor to prominent open source projects and then use that to leverage paid work.
Neither my contractors nor I would want to move to any other platform because no other platform provides that kind of honesty and confidence between Contractor and Employee.
As an employer I can totally see why you would love it, it's an effective way to pay bottom dollar for simplistic computer tasks.
From the stand point of someone looking to get into software engineer contract work it's lame. The guaranteed payment thing you are talking about is only for projects that are billed hourly. If you bid on a flat rate project there is no such guarantee. The hourly pay rate guarantee also requires you to install a spyware app on your computer to monitor your work.
Examples of work that I use it for are simple html/css stuff that just needs to get knocked out prior to integration into an app. I'll pay between $300-500 from some straight forward design to html/css conversion. I want it to be worth their while.
Also, I've use it frequently for GIS work. I'm just not proficient in it and would rather pay someone that is. I managed to find an incredible person on upwork and give him the specs for each project before I quote my customers. He sets the price for the GIS components and I routinely encourage him to charge more.
So to be clear, I don't use upwork to find a deal on the project (no doubt a ton of people do). I use it because it is a platform that can keep talented people busy and available for the next time I need to rely on them. I'd hire a full time GIS expert if I had steady work for the, but I don't so going with a subcontract makes a lot more sense.
1) "Image Viewer - Python: In search of a python developer to build an application which cleanly display and organizes many images (200+) as thumbnails on one interface. The interface will display approx 6 data fields contained in two tables."
Budget: $50 (This client has previously hired 7 other people and spent $477 in total on Upwork)
2) "Python Help: I am looking for help in my python code, searching feature and fixing. Its a assignment if you can do this quickly let me know. Coding is almost completed, you need to correct logic and searching features. Hardly 35-50 line code, small assignment."
Budget: $10 (This client has previously hired 9 people and spent $284 in total on Upwork)
3) "Parse Fields from HTML file: Parse fields from HTML document Required language: Python (Python package BeautifulSoup is allowed/preferred.) Input: Python function that accepts file name (2 HTML files) Output: Python dictionary. All listed fields should be a separate key. Addresses should also be a dictionary so that city, state, and zip are separate Fields to pull out: First Name, Last Name, City, State, ETC ETC roughly 20 fields between two different HTML document types/formats."
Budget: $60 (This client has previously hired 23 people and spent $3,791 on Upwork, they pay an average of $10.10 per hour)
So based on those I don't think it has improved at all.
That's because there are so many low-bar employers.
Many of whom are also hanging out places like HN, complaining that there are no good developers while praising anything which drives down wages.
To know why there are few good developers, look no further than the market price. It doesn't justify top effort. I could sweat blood competing on price and throughput with people who have a cost of living that is a small fraction of mine, hoping against reason that someone will spontaneously give me a raise out of the goodness of their hearts. Or... not.
Most of the people who would eat your projects for breakfast don't want to be worked like pizza delivery drivers, delivering as cheap and fast as possible and hoping for tips. So they aren't on these sites. These sites are where careers go to die.
It has its place and I do my part to make sure that the qualified people that I hire on it are well compensated with clear expectations and no need to hope for tips. Maybe I'm doing them a disservice by offering a glimpse of sunlight on a platform that otherwise stacks the cards against them. You have me wondering.
I 100% agree with you that it's mostly a crap shoot of competing with people that have a cost of living that is so utterly different that ours that it's impossible to make a living. But I do think there are some niche skills where this is not the case and people with a high cost of living can still thrive on the platform.
The majority of projects advertised seemed to be things like web scraping, homework cheating, people who wanted computer software to pick a magic lottery number, etc...
When I first had a look I got quite pessimistic about my chances of finding work and money through it but decided nonetheless to give it a fair go.
I passed a few tests that gave me an initial edge as a newcomer, and decided to follow most freelancing advice I found on the internet: don't down-value yourself with a bad hourly rate, and apply to jobs professionally. It took me a few weeks to get a first contract, and after a month or so I was working 60h per week. I also read "The Freelance Pricing Guidebook" by Glenn Stovall which is a simple pdf of a dozen of pages which really gave me a good think of how to approach being independent and potential pricing strategies.
I also try to get out of the platform once I built the relationship with the client but it is not without risk if they run out of money, you don't have that nice guarantee that the platform offers. It happened to me that a client owed me 5 digits amounts and I regretted for a while having gone directly to him (he ended up paying, he had just ran out of cash).
If you find an USA client and you are not in the USA, with the strong USD it can be really advantageous for both parties. If you are in the USA I'd still say you can do well (I think Australia is more expensive than USA).
Maybe I really got lucky, or necessity forced me to succeed since my girlfriend got sent to a rural area with no work for me. Now days my work is so much more interesting, better paid and I met some amazing people thanks to that platform.
For Germany, Gulp (www.gulp.de) is a very good site where you can actually find clients that are willing to pay a reasonable hourly rate (they even have a rate calculator on their site).
I started registering on TopTal, but then got too lazy jumping through their hoops and not knowing what the upside is.
which is pretty middle-of-the road as far as rates go there. rarely takes me more than 2 weeks to find a new job on there. and that includes rejecting jobs I dont think i'd like.
the biggest benefits IMO are that they screen their clients very well (they know they're getting top-tier quality and arent afraid to pay top-tier rates) and negotiate to get you the rate you want. Also, they handle the billing very well, so even if the client is acting janky, you'll get paid.
As a freelancer it's of course always better to get gigs through your own network, but I think sites like these are a good way to get started before having this kind of connections.
If you're in the UK...
I've been contracting about 3 years now and started it the simple (and probably dumb) way - stick a resume up on jobsite.co.uk, wait for agents to call. Lots will. Be nice to them on the phone but be firm about what rates and locations you're willing to work. You'll get lots of useless ones who haven't even bothered to read it, but no matter, you'll learn to filter them out pretty quickly. Remember the good ones. Rinse, repeat.
I've had two contracts now through reputation, which is quite nice, but getting contracts from previous workmates isn't a panacea. One of them was the most boring thing I've ever done in my life (worse than shelf-stacking in a warehouse) and I quit after three weeks because I was literally unable to complete the work it was so dull. I told the client that I was poor value for money and a recent graduate would be a better choice. The other one was good though!
Also, make sure you're prepared for some time off between contracts, it's pretty much going to happen.
I worked permanently for various companies in and around London for about 10 years, then got sick of London, moved to Australia, did a couple more years permanent work there, then decided to move back to the UK. At that point I was sick of being an employee and had a vague offer from a friend to help bootstrap a startup, which fell through. So in lieu of having an idea to start up a company myself I decided I was going to be a contractor, set myself up a limited company and started throwing my CV at anyone that asked. I have got most of my contracts through agencies that called me, not through contacts.
Making the leap can be tricky - if you have a notice period longer than one month you may have to quit your current job and then look for contracts afterwards. A lot of people want contractors to start now. You may not find one for a month or more, I've had dry patches lasting a couple of months before, and it might be another month after you start before you can invoice, and it could be another month again before you get paid, so you need a financial cushion.
As soon as you get your first contract you'll need an accountant. These come in at about £100 per month. I use Nixon Williams, this is not necessarily a recommendation, they deal with hundreds of contractors, the service is streamlined but pretty basic and if you need anything out of the ordinary they probably won't do it.
Errr.... time of year may have an effect, like a lot of things it seems to be easier to find work in the first few months of the year, though I have had two start in November/December.
Anything else you want to know?
The work varies. I've been brought in as a 'resource' little different to an employee by a few places, tinkering at the edges of long-established products and having to take technical direction from senior staff, with little to no input to designs myself.
OTOH in other places I have been brought in during the very early phases of product development, and even more or less taken ownership of direction for entire products. These companies also tended to treat me more like the consultant I'm trying to portray myself as. You can probably guess I prefer these ones :)
Contracts have varied from 1 year (with no exit clause, regretting signing that one but it's over next week!) down to 2-months, but then that was renewed on a monthly basis several times. Mostly due to hysterically over-optimistic delivery estimates by the guy running the project...
I've made some connection with the employees pretty much everywhere, and have been in contact with a few since the end of contract, sometimes they've even been enquiring whether I'm free for a stint at some new place they've moved on to.
some side projects I have done:
Have done more complex stuff but requires user to login.
(I've been contracting for about 3 years now, some in London)
I've been consulting over a year (US-based, near NYC) and I've found plenty of very good clients (small and large) through freelancing websites.
Few loose guidelines I've used to help me with applying to gigs:
1) Evaluate if you think the person understands the value of the work, and only reply if you can somewhat-confidently answer "yes."
2) Reply to gigs that say "$5" or some other crazy low number, as long as they seem competent at explaining their project.
3) ALWAYS follow up with your past clients! Ask them for new work regularly.
First, you obviously cannot work for $5 unless you're located in a low-income country. They are putting it up for $5, because they don't know how much it costs. However, you have to be careful to make sure they are competent so you're not ending up with a client who does not value your time.
Second, getting a job for $1,000 (when maybe it's really a $1,500 job) with the possibility of future work is better than not getting that job at all, in most circumstances.
I found that it wasn't the first degree connections that led to work but the second degree connections. Get your immediate network to introduce you to others and drum up work from them.
> in less than 5 minutes the project was fully spec'd and underway.
Honest question: why would I need a top '1% developer' for a project that can be fully spec'd in less than 5 minutes?
I understand there are growing pains, but not one of my emails have been responded to regarding this issue.
If I'm looking for more cutting edge, interesting work I'll go out and find either a company, industry or project I'm interested in and try and insert myself into it somehow. Usually through meetups, over coffee or in one case just showing up (probably wouldn't recommend that, depends on the people - in my case it was 4.30PM on a Friday and I brought beer).
Usually I'll either do it gratis (if it's non-profit or public domain) or cut my rates if I'm learning on-the-job.
When I started pretty much all of my job offers and contracts came by word of mouth. I only had to kick down doors a few times before I had developed a reputation as a good worker. This involved cold-emailing, calling and meeting people at various industry events.
I didn't bid to low quality jobs and once I finish my job I offer them an maintenance contract outside upwork.
Few years ago, this worked quite well, but now there are some idiots that charge a high price for low quality work just to try to take advantage of people like me. So, now it takes some more time to filter through, but still works pretty well.
Depending on your living situation and time available I’d recommend trying to establish your own identity so you don’t have to go through a marketplace for contract work. Instead you’ll have the contract work come to you and not filtered through a middleman that would take a cut out of your work. I would never recommend someone go through fiverr, Upwork or these other marketplaces unless they were just moonlighting.
update: I post my pitch in the freelancer thread and potential clients contact me, for example https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9998249
Unfortunately I'm not sure that anybody else is much better! I still get most of my work through interpersonal connections and the occasional email from Hacker News readers.
Edit: I mean on HN similar to the first of month feature not a site (I know these are out there obviously).
The gist of it is, as many here are saying: Don't use marketplace sites. Instead show off your knowledge in a way that gets attention of potential customers, then they'll come to you.
I would recommend http://AngJobs.com
disclaimer: I run AngJobs, https://github.com/victorantos/AngJobs
I send a LinkedIn message to some of my contacts I'd like to work with, telling them it's been a while and that I'd like to get in touch, and offer them to take a cup of coffee with them this week.
During the meeting, tell them about your freelance status and that you're looking for work.
Here's my list of resources that I would be looking at if
I needed to start looking for a contract immediately:
- Authentic Jobs: http://www.authenticjobs.com/
- StackOverflow Careers: http://careers.stackoverflow.com/jobs?type=contract&allowsre...
- We Work Remotely: https://weworkremotely.com/jobs/search?term=contract
- Angelist: https://angel.co/jobs
- Github Jobs: https://jobs.github.com/
- Hired: https://hired.com/contract-jobs
- Toptal: https://www.toptal.com/ (I'm a member of Toptal's network)
- Gigster: https://www.trygigster.com/ (haven't used it yet)
- Crew: https://crew.co/ (haven't used it yet)
- Approach companies at Meetups
- Meetups, meetups, meetups
- Pitch on forums
- Work with contract agencies
- Become a subcontractor
It also helps to work on branding yourself, blogging, and integrating into communities (like HN!). Generally, just becoming an authority on a topic and allowing people get to know you before they work with you helps a lot. Kind of like patio11 has done for himself around here. Then people start coming to you instead of the other way around.
I would also highly recommend looking at DevChat TV's Freelance podcasts for ideas, they're really great: https://devchat.tv/freelancers
I also maintain a big snippets file, filled with HTML, CSS, JS, and command-line snippets and tricks so I can grab them from anywhere.
I dont know how any freelancer or contractor doesnt have a bag of tricks like this.
Most of the other plugins and things are included in https://github.com/tomhodgins/template-factory
My HTML/CSS/JS/CLI snippets file is located here: https://gist.github.com/tomhodgins/27c29ecb4aceaefe5cdf
My responsive testing tool is located at: https://github.com/tomhodgins/speedtest You can use your keyboard keys 1-0 to test a variety of widths quickly, or use the buttons on mobile to test widths your phone or tablet can't physically emulate
If you're looking for a 'view source' tool for mobile, check out https://github.com/tomhodgins/sourceror It's a simple PHP proxy that loads the requested site and displays it as content on the page. For example, I have it hosted at http://staticresource.com/inspect so I can append a URL after a '?' and see the code formatted nicely. Like http://staticresource.com/inspect/?http://staticresource.com...
You can also check out my CodePen profile, here's my collection of 'Front-end snippets', but I've got plenty more on there you can feel free to use or expand on: http://codepen.io/collection/nNqyvZ/
Hope that sets you off to a good start :)
I think logo designers, web developers and translators get a lot more traffic. I just recently was upgraded to 1st level seller after 3 months, so I think it's relatively fast.