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Ask HN: How do I get freelance developer jobs?
433 points by jamesmp98 on Dec 18, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 108 comments
Sure there are sites like Upwork or Freelancer, but they limit the amount of jobs that you can bid for. I'm not sure if I could successfully get jobs there, so I don't want to waste any bids. People jump on any good projects like crazy. Aside from that, I've been told to scout out local business, but for the moment lets just say that one's a no. How can I get freelancing jobs as a developer?

Go to google, type in "web agencies [yourLocalCity]", make a list of the agencies, go on linkedin and try to find their technical director or lead developer or even the head honcho if they're small and get their name. Phone the main number, ask for that person, when you're on the phone with them, introduce yourself, say you're a new freelance dev with XYZ skills and ask if they would have any need for some extra resource. Try to get a meeting in person as you'll stick in their head more. Be ready to send a CV and/or body of work.

This works really well if you dont want to deal with end clients. You should also phone them every 3 months to remind them who you are, send them christmas cards, show them something you've done recently, etc. You can also replace "web" with "marketing", "advertising", "development", "design" etc in the initial google query.

If you're not an idiot and you're reliable and cost effective, this is a VERY good way to get regular, long term work.

> if you're not an idiot ...

I lol'd, but to clarify this very accurate point:

* Be reliable (never, ever go dark)

* Be a nice person (polite and upbeat, even if the client isn't exactly deserving)

* Do quality work, regardless of the circumstances (even if you're over budget)

If you hit those three points, you will perform far better, revenue-wise, than the average contractor - I did it for years while I was getting my product business off the ground.

> Be reliable (never, ever go dark)

+1 to this point. At a previous agency job I found this to be the biggest pain when hiring/dealing with contractors.

As long as they gave decent notice on days off I never complained about their availability.

Dumb question .. so you aren't asking for a job at the agency? a Rather asking to be a subcontractor when they get a gig? A bit confused here.

I've done this professionally for the last 18 months or so and basically how it works is the agency will get in a project, perhaps it's short or long. My contracts range from 3 weeks to 6 months. The agency doesn't want to hire someone on just for this project because maybe they only get a project like this once every 2 years. You get a desk, sometimes a computer, credentials and are basically an employee. You rock up 9-5 like everyone else. At the end of the contract you'll either get extended if they have more work or you'll be onto the next thing. You should be getting paid a bit more for this than if you were an employee because you're often foregoing benefits like sick/annual leave and general job security.

Interestingly, this has some legal complications where I am from (South Australia). If you tick all the boxes of being an employee then you must be hired as one. To be a contractor you have to prove autonomy separate from the business, eg your own equipment, set your own hours, and not rely solely on the one client.

It is an attempt to stop employers dodging benefits entitlements by hiring their employees as contractors.

This is also true in the United States. In particular, there was a major class action suit brought against Microsoft in 1996 on behalf of thousands of workers who were classified as contractors for years at a time. [0] As a result, almost all companies now have strict limits on the max contract term, which is often one or two years.

0: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permatemp#Vizcaino_v._Microsof...

Similar thing in Victoria too. Larger companies will be a bit more careful and hire you as a casual employee in case they get audited. Some of the smaller companies and agencies don't really care. Sometimes they'll require me to bring in my own tools, which is fine it's all tax deductible. There's probably not a ton of work like this in SA. Maybe some people at Majoran and Hub would need someone short term but I think having so many head offices and dev centres on the east coast a lot of the work would be centered over there.

Definitely, from my experience companies here are more interested in full timers. Also I didn't expect to see Majoran mentioned in a HN comment!

We have almost the exact same legislation here in the UK, by the name of IR35.

In essence it means that you can't take paid leave or sick days, otherwise it counts as "disguised employment". Another interesting requirement is that you must have at lest one other person in your company who can reasonably stand in for you and perform your work, if needs be.

If caught on the wrong side of the law then you must return the tax you've saved along with paying a fine. Not nice.

Just want to clarify a point - you don't have to employ the person who stands in for you, you just need to be contractually allowed to do so. Otherwise, your client is paying for _you_, not the service you're providing (e.g. [technology] developer).

Generally it's just a matter of how the contract is worded. You need to reserve the sort of rights a business would reserve.

Ah, I didn't realise this. Thank you!

This is true in the United States as well, exactly as you describe it.

in that case you probably also get even more money as a contractor, and you can deduct the cost of your equipment as a business expense.

What's your specialty? I can't imagine an agency passing along generic web dev work. It would have to be something they don't have the expertise on hand to deal with, right?

Personally I've done work like this for agencies who focused on design and front-end that needed some complicated back-end functionality implemented for a client and didn't want to hire their own person internally to handle it.

This would really depend on the sort of agency and the type of work they're comfortable doing. Many agencies specialise more in "strategic" work, and have in-house resources for that, but when it comes to actual digital "production" work, this is something they might well farm out to contractors.

I focus mostly on front-end work with the ability to work on iOS, PHP, Rails and Phoenix projects. A lot of the places I work at get a lot of front-end work in and need an extra developer for a month or two then they like me and keep me around for a bit longer.

You'd be surprised. Many agencies don't have any web developers in-house, or have mostly front-end people and are understaffed for significant application-like work.

Can you clarify what you mean by "even if you are over budget" ?

What if you estimated all of the features, built them, and then the client comes back with a bunch of new features and changes that would require a new contract. Do you do them for free?

What about ongoing support? My contracts give the client one week to test any features, and once that week has elapsed without any issues, the contract is considered "complete" and they have to pay the other 50%. Would you be for or against that practice?

I guess I am wondering where the balance lies between protecting yourself and protecting your reputation.

Unfortunately, clients (just like all human beings) are squishy and forgetful. Your reputation can get damaged through no fault of your own. When do you decide to let someone go because their expectations don't match the contract they signed? Is the penalty to your reputation so high that it's never worth the time you would save by doing this?

I am genuinely curious to see how other contractors manage this.

If the client is coming back with clearly unscoped changes, it's generally out of the question. Be polite at first and let them know that it's "out of scope" and that you could estimate the time required to do it.

When I said "clearly over budget," I meant in terms of your own estimate. Sometimes feature X takes longer to build out, and there's the inclination to cut corners to get things done so you don't drive your effective hourly/day rate down, assuming that the poor estimate was yours and you'll eat the cost.

But expanding on that, do quality work regardless of the scenario, such as:

* The codebase is already a pile of s* left behind by someone else * They're miserable, complaining, sons a' biches no matter what you do for them A fix could be sloppy and take 1 line of code, or quality and take 10

That kinda stuff.

Wow, you just described my side work as a freelance musician.

I make about 10% of my income from playing gigs once or twice a week, and I make maybe 10% of my income doing web dev for small agencies.

The businesses have always seemed very similar to me, with the exception that it's easier to find remote computer work and the budgets with the computer stuff are uniformly more sustainable.

Mostly this, but don't phone and don't phone again three months later. Might get a bit of attention, but many people hate needless interruptions like that. Send very brief emails, link to a portfolio (no Word or PDFs - link to your site). Don't send a bland Christmas card, but do send an email that's a bit more personal/casual. e,g, "Thanks for working with me this year. Hope you have some time off planned? I'm taking a break between x and y, but if you need a hand after that on any projects, please let me know. I've been working on a couple of interesting things recently (URLs) but I'm available in the new year."

Good idea, but then follow up with a stage II remote round, where you just start finding agencies through the country & beyond. People in your city you should use the more personal touch, but these folks you'll prolly just want to email.

DO visit each of their sites & see what they actually sell/market

DO make 6-8 version of your cover letter to fit different niches, and tweak each one to be a bit more personal before sending out

DO get a decent way to track them like they are customers (ie, a CRM or some good tool) so you remember to stay in touch.

Don't send anything that reads like a mass-mailed spam! Something as simple as "I see you are all in Boulder. My Dad went to UC" may sound a little corny but they need to see they aren't getting a form letter, and they need a way to remember you out of the crowd.

It is a lot of work, but over time it pays off.

This is really good advice. A lot of Agency hire freelancers when they get an overflow of projects. It is easier for them vs. having to hire captive employees and then potentially have to let them go if the projects don't last long-term.

Main downside is you will generally make less going through an Agency, but it is a great for new freelancers who are trying to fill up their pipeline.

And, we re-hire freelancers who delivered in the past, as well as recommending you to our friends when we want to look useful to them.

> Go to google, type in "web agencies [yourLocalCity]"

Beware that if you type that you might end up finding web dev work though. It could be an unpleasant surprise :)

In addition, sometimes agencies aren't interested in taking smaller clients/projects. You can offer them a commission (e.g. 10%) to refer those to you.

Specializing is the best thing you can do to get higher rate work. Read https://philipmorganconsulting.com/the-positioning-manual-fo... for a lot of great advice on this.

Do fixed fee if you can -- this gives you an incentive to invest in becoming more efficient and gives your clients predictability. Jonathan Stark has some good material on moving away from hourly: https://expensiveproblem.com/

The thing that's been a huge success for my freelancing business and helped me avoid feast or famine is having ongoing, hands-off sales processes that keep going no matter how busy I am with client work.

I hired a VA and originally had her email relevant leads from lead newsletters like LetsMakeApps or Workshop, and now am shifting towards cold email towards relevant leads. Use a CRM (close.io is my personal favorite) and a drip email service like prospect.io for automatic followups -- persistence boosts conversion rates massively for this sort of sales. Block off a day or two a week to take sales meetings and use Calendly to schedule -- meetings popping up whenever is huge impediment to flow, but keeping up sales regardless of how busy you are. If you get overwhelmed, raise your prices to reduce the amount of work you are selling.

Happy to talk about building a freelancing business -- email in profile.

What does VA stand for? Voice Actor, Virtual Assistant?

In this case I do believe it's a Virtual Assistant :)

the latter would be my guess

Does The Positioning Manual go into details about how someone might go about picking a speciality/niche?

## Short Term

- https://www.pipelinedaily.com/ for $49/mo, James will send you really good leads on Mondays.

- http://letsworkshop.com/ for $597 every quarter, Robert will send you leads daily.

- Get back to your LinkedIn connection and let your friends/connections know that you're looking for freelance work. I had always had LinkedIn friends/connections who gave me enough work, while I freelance in-between my Startups.

- As for the other advice about working for Agencies. You can try that too. I used to lead a 50+ team of designers and front-end engineers. I had a spreadsheet of my outside contacts (freelancers/contractors) who supplement my team, and for those special requirements.

## Long Term

- Maintain an updated Github (or Bitbucket, Gitlab) public profile, with few public repositories that a potential client can see and gauge your talent.

- Write a blog. You can go technical, or just updates about the works/projects you do.

### Plug

I run a remote-first design + front-end services firm, show me your work (Github, portfolio or otherwise), we might have something for you - https://alarisprime.com/

Here is what I did: I applied to 10 jobs at UpWork everyday. After 2 weeks or so, I thought it is impossible to get a job with empty profile. (Even though I had LinkedIn with 8 years of Java experience, I think it does not matter when your UpWork profile is empty). At last I got some job from a student, and earned $50, after that I got some more small jobs for $100-$1000 fixed price, finally I got hourly job at $35/h. I think it took less than a month, but you need to be dedicated. After you have some jobs in your profile everything is MUCH easier. It is 1.5 years since I'm on UpWork and I earned around $200K so far.

>I think it does not matter when your UpWork profile is empty

I would be tempted to find a local client and offer to do something small, but real, for free...provided I fronted them the fee to pay me via UpWork. Just to bootstrap the reputation/experience on the platform.

From the perspective of someone on the other side (a hirer of freelancers) I do hire people with empty profiles provided you show me you know what you are doing. Read the proposal carefully and put in some time and effort into showing you can do the job well on time and budget.

> finally I got hourly job at $35/h ... It is 1.5 years since I'm on UpWork and I earned around $200K so far.

You're averaging roughly double that $35/h, consistently for a full working week, every week, solely via UpWork?!

Interesting. I didn't know you could make so much on UpWork:

"John Shipp, a senior web developer in Brule, Nebraska, who charges $166.67 per hour on the platform, joined it in 2011, before it changed its name to Upwork. About 80% of his business came through Upwork in the first quarter of 2016, he says."


Yes, solely via UpWork. I got a bit better hourly rate since then, and I usually work around 60h per week.

Well, kudos for making it work so well!

this guy knows what's up. War of attrition and work ethic and time combo always win.

No shortcuts in creative work.

i did the same thing in upwork, at first i propose to job posts everyday until i got my first job, then finding on the next job is much faster. But until now i didn't get $35/h. So far my biggest rate per hr is only $13.

Meet Ups are a great place to go. There are often people trying to find developers.

Other ways are through LinkedIn groups or small business groups that you can find in your area.

At the end of the day it comes down to networking. Say yes to every meeting and say yes to meeting people. Even if they aren't wanting to hire you, they know your name and will pass it on.

I've freelanced for the last 10 years on and off. I've never needed to advertise, I just make a post on LinkedIn and say I'm freelancing or go to a Meet Up and contracts start coming through.

What kind of Meetups would you recommend going to (Tech vs Career/Bussiness Networking)? I started doing this last week and have had few leads but nothing concrete yet

Business, industry-specific, etc.

You're looking for people with costly problems who need a developer to solve it. Meeting up with developers is pretty much the opposite of that.

Also: It can take a long time (months, years!) before the inflow of work has any sort of steadiness. And it will be steady only due to how good you are at turning back the bad contracts. Don't fret about a week.

Thanks for the great advice, already making changes to my Meetups schedule!

I'm just going to write down some things that went wrong/right with my own freelancer experiences about getting and keeping jobs, hopefully it's somewhat useful to someone.

First, there is a drastic oversupply of programmers, as you noticed, and everybody knows it. You're competing with people earning $5/h or less, or are straight-up working for "equity" or "portfolio". Public opinion of programmer skills and value is exceedingly low ("we just need some coder to make it all work!"), and programming shops that do value developer time are usually religiously keyed to one specific toolset and methodology, only recruiting from that specific pool.

By and large, there is only one in: getting referred by people who already like your work. That's why so many freelancers fall into the working-for-free-to-get-referrals trap, by the way, never do that. But what you can do is start small. Look up local companies working in your field, and comb through your address book for anyone who could possibly have use for your services.

After getting any contact, your most important job is to cultivate the good customers and get rid of the bad. I cannot count the number of times I failed at either of these, it's my number one regret from when I started freelancing. There were two instances in my freelancer career where I let people down very badly that still haunt me - don't be that guy. Sometimes you get lucky and you hit upon a successful relationship by chance, keep such relationships alive at all costs.

Finally, as a mostly-ex web developer I think working for web stuff is poison. Often, people looking for skilled allrounders will actually think less of your skills if they include web work. Also, web development is by far the most overcrowded field in software development. And web shops themselves are getting utterly ridiculous in their use of overblown tools and bloated frameworks. If there is any way you can get into low level programming, graphics programming, maybe game development, framework development, and so on: I'd suggest you do that.

Game development has historically been very toxic. Long hours, average pay, and very high stress. Why do you recommend it?

> Long hours, average pay, and very high stress

There are many shops in various fields that work like that. Certainly game dev is notorious, especially if you're a salaried worker at a big studio. However, someone starting out with their freelancer career, that's not the same thing. You're going to contract with smaller studios and tools developers. I don't think they're especially toxic as compared to other software shops, and certainly being a freelancer protects you from some of the general traps that befall salaried workers, at the expense of financial security.

> Why do you recommend it?

Several reasons. Being an old programmer, I lived through several bubbles and hypes. I can recommend games or game tool development because it's challenging work with a somewhat stable demand, and it's an industry with enough funding in general. It's also an opportunity to create things that will be part of our culture for a long time, as opposed to most other software that's being written.

> First, there is a drastic oversupply of programmers, as you noticed, and everybody knows it.

I have read this lot lately. Is it really true? Where I am from there is a huge shortage of people with a Computer Science or Software Engineer background. Where are you from?

I think there are both sides. There seem to be many self-taught programmers who want to do web development, but lack profound knowledge due to no education in that field.

AFAIK, there's a strong undersaturation of devs with a CS degree, which in turn makes companies hire carreer changers, making it more attractive to get into the field as original non-programmer.

Assuming you're already past the meetup stage, and you already know some developers, this is what worked for me:

Identify and find a more experienced developer (it doesn't necessarily have to be a "senior developer", just somebody more experienced than you) who has far too many plates spinning and is getting bogged down in lower-level tasks, and offer to take care of that work as a contractor. Be great at unsexy things nobody else wants to do. Make sure these are the kinds of jobs where you can fill out your GitHub and get a few recommendations from the person or team you're contracting for.

Use this experience to get more jobs. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Specialize, I made 25k on upwork doing exclusively Go development. The first jobs were tiny, $50 total. After building reputation I upped to $45/hr.

And after that, get one bad review and you will be kicked out, no questions. Upwork is a race to the bottom, avoid freelancer marketplaces.

It might be time to up your rate again. You've been doing this ~14 weeks full time to make $25k at 45/hr. That's a lot of experience.

You might lose a couple of jobs upping your rate to $100/hr but you'll need half the work to keep your pay the same.

How much time did it take?

20hrs/wk over 9 months.

Damn. I work like 60 hours/week and I barely make a thousand a month when is a good project. I have to get first-world projects.

Maybe perceived value has something to do with it. I believe I listed my hourly rate at $25 thinking I'd be competitive for some side $$.

I made some money but it seemed most things tagged JavaScript or PHP were either design work or WordPress plugins.

This thread inspired me to sign back up and raise my rate to something more realistic IRL ~ $30-35/hr.

> This thread inspired me to sign back up and raise my rate to something more realistic IRL ~ $30-35/hr.

Double that.

For real? Lol maybe I'll try $50 and see where it gets me.

How much would an employer pay you? Generally speaking, your employer has to make between 1.5 and 2.5x the salary you're paid to be in the black.

Now consider that you are your employer.

Good way to look at it. Double that it is!

> I made some money but it seemed most things tagged JavaScript or PHP were either design work or WordPress plugins.

Indeed. Most work has to do with something pre-built, e.g CMS wordpress, joomla, etc. What projects do you work on?

I'm primarily a JavaScript developer (jQuery, React, Angular, et. al + Node) as that's my first choice and greatest depth of knowledge.

I'm also very knowledgeable about PHP but prefer to use classic OOP patterns with it hence my reprehension for WordPress.

I use ASP.Net and JavaEE at work. Kinda more circumstantial than anything, ie working with third party software. I actively choose not to seek further work with these tools because I don't enjoy using them.

I wouldn't mind building web services with .Net or Java, though. I imagine those jobs are probably not very prevalent but I was only on Upwork for a short time.

I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned yet but post in the monthly Ask HN: Who wants to be hired? and Ask HN: Freelancer? Seeking freelancer? threads. I've had some success and it costs you very little.

I've never actually seen one of these threads, and I tent to visit HN on a daily basis. Is there a system around these posts that I should be aware of?

regularly posted by https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=whoishiring (at 11 AM Eastern time on the first weekday of every month), together with the Who is hiring? threads.

I would recommend finding a group of freelancer friends so you can build a community and share projects between each other. This is a fun group my friends and I started http://www.raptorsaur.com/ it's been fun. If you don't know people in your area yet, go to some meet ups and ask people how you can help with their projects. Good luck!

Your raptorsaur logo is pretty cool and the name is catchy. Are you actively doing anything with the site? I doesn't look like there is a lot of activity on it.

Thanks! The website itself is not really active, we put it up just for fun. But the community is active. We have a slack channel where we chat, share work, ideas, and support. And we plan happy hours and events. If anyone is interested in working with us feel free to send portfolios. Here's our linkedIn project page, though only a few of us connected our accounts to it so far. https://www.behance.net/Raptorsaur/members

The logo, of course, is based off the "Philosoraptor" image meme:


Yup, totally is! My friend James who is a fantastic illustrator inked that one for us.

Are you accepting virtual / non-US community members?

In what way do you mean "freelancer". There are multiple types of freelance jobs.

"Freelance" can mean:

1) Working remotely as a contractor though a 3rd party agency.

2) Working remotely hourly or per gig for yourself.

3) Doing end-to-end project work. Start with designs, code, test, and submit as a package deal.

All have different ways of finding clients. However, they tend to follow a career progression in that same order. My career path did.

I advise you to think about freelancing, not as a developer, but a business owner. Consider the following:

* What sort of business entity are you going to have? All have trade offs, and specific obligations from a pure business perspective. One piece of advice that my accountant gave me: Just because you create an LLC with your state govt doesn't make you an LLC. From a court's perspective you have to act like it. In my state that requires Articles of Organization, an Operation Agreement and at least yearly documented meetings with the stakeholders.

* Learn how to protect yourself legally. This means find a lawyer and get a standard contract. Have an attorney review any contract before you sign it. Figure out a strategy for when someone doesn't pay, and how this strategy may change if they are local or remote. It is much harder to take someone out of state to court. I have turned down gigs because we couldn't come to agreement on contract language. One contract asked me to pay all court fees in the event the software led to any issues for their clients. (It was for a medical device.)

* Think about how you are going to charge. Hourly/by the project. Clients may ask for fixed prices and not-to-exceeds. There are a lot of opinions about this. Make an informed decision about how you are going to approach this.

* How are you going to sell yourself. Most of my work comes through word-of-mouth. Figure out your pitch, and how you differentiate yourself from competition. Reputation counts for a lot. Think about setting networking/sales goals. Expect the engagement process to take a long time, and not all of it to pan out. I've spend many hours trying to engage a new client, only to have them change their mind at the last minute. Account for this in your pricing.

* Expect feast or famine. Sometimes you may be sweating bullets because you don't have enough work and bills are coming due. Sometimes you're sweating bullets because several clients are wanting things all at once. Sometimes you may be working nights and weekends.

* As a small guy, you are the product. It pays to be a high quality product.

Network, put yourself out there, let people know you are in business, do good work, and reach out to help others. The leads will eventually come, and some of them will even pan-out!

Work boards only make sense if you're in some developing country where dollars will go further. In a developed country, they're a waste of time.

Yeah, I just don't know how to do that. I recently moved to a small city in South Carolina, and only get out at night to go to my job lol.

Meetups, chamber of commerce, rotary/kiwanis, swingers club, church, nerd convention, or whatever happens to float your boat.

You've got to press the flesh.

I second this! My wife and I have been doing freelance web design for about a year now and we've been completely shocked at how quickly some people will hire you while only knowing that you are 1) a generally respectable person and 2) a web designer. Our number of clients seems to correlate directly with how many people we meet rather than any particular strategy.

Several people have mentioned Upwork positively in this thread (first I'd heard of it). Why don't you recommend it?

- because they take 20% of fees

- they treat freelancers badly

- there're also a lof of other kinds of downsides about working there. google "why upwork sucks". or "odesk sucks".

how do they treat freelancers badly?

Disclaimer: I have used it three times, made requirements clear, and paid workers fairly, and had no problems.. but I am interested to hear about others' experiences.

I've used it for a few years.

they've introduced job success, now those who know how it works more or less or newbies with an empty job history -- are the top freelancers, whereas those who have been there for a long time, for years -- at the bottom. Needless to say, upwork doesn't disclose the exact formula used to calculate your job success.

more over: upwork claims it's guaranteed 100% you get your money if a job is hourly paid. No. they still can take your money and return it to a client.

they're many good freelancers who have been banned for no wise reason, among them are the top ones.

there're many other insights.

That's a nice list, but are there actual reviews of the services ?

Maybe not full reviews, but a short summary of why you do/don't recommend them would be very informative.

Join Gigster: https://gigster.com/

It's way easier than constantly hustling for new jobs. Don't waste your time on Upwork—you'll make peanuts.

Just checked out the Gigster's onboarding form. The last 2 questions are about the applicant's gender and ethnicity. Is asking stuff like that legal?

And how is that even relevant, given that gigster is about remote work?

Depends on the country. I had an U.S. manager flip out when I mentioned my age during a remote interview, totally different to here (Uruguay) where it's a normal requirement in the C.V. (along with a photo). I've been told both are huge no-nos in the U.S.

Isn't it invite only?

Where did you find that? Last time I looked at their website, I couldn't find anything remotely like that.

It's right there in the footer.

I don't know if that link wasn't there last time or if I was just blind. Cheers.

It didn't used to be. I'm not sure when they moved to invite only. I'm guessing they needed to compete with Toptal in a different way.

>Sure there are sites like Upwork or Freelancer, but they limit the amount of jobs that you can bid for.

Yes, bid limits are there but you can pay a (very) small amount to get a (much) higher number of bids. At Freelancer.com, it is something like <$10/mo. for 300 bids. I have also found PeoplePerHour.com [1] to be a good market place. Over there, after the free bids, it is more expensive to buy additional bids but I've found the overall quality/mix of buyers to be at least somewhat better comparatively.

[1] http://www.peopleperhour.com

I guess it depends on what kind of software you want or can develop. I just started freelancing as web and hybrid app developer this year and what works for me is going to meetups, especially startup/entrepreneurship meetups. There are always founders there looking for developers. For me, this is the place to collect leads. And it's pretty easy, too, because developers are rare. If you tell them your a developer, the founders who are looking for one will probably approach you.

A number of startups have begun hiring freelancers on Hired.com (which is, in full disclosure, my employer) - developers can choose to go on our platform as contract only. https://hired.com/freelance

A few other platforms with a focus on contractors you might want to check out are Toptal and Gigster.

Spitshine your LinkedIn to a high polish. Focus on projects without jargon and their benefits to the client/employer. Dollars saved or earned go further than the latest buzzwords. When I moved to NYC, all my gigs came from LinkedIn.

My apologies about possibly deflecting this thread... If you're a remote only (nomadic developer, can develop anywhere I have a 'net connection), are the methods to find work the same?

It also depends on the timezone you are in. For me when being in South East Asia I found it hard to get clients from USA because of ~12h time difference. I go mostly contracts as referrals from other freelancer friends. Stay in touch with them and let them know that you are currently looking for a project.

Contacting agencies my be a good bet - but so far I found still a lot of them don't want to work with remote/nomadic developers.

As for me, when I don't have contract I keep working on my own apps and put them on shelf when a new client deal is finalized. Most of the time finalizing a deal takes time.

I don't see why not. Many agencies will be happy not to have to provide a desk, hardware, etc. If you are a painless option, that will appeal to many.

Do you have a github account with projects that can help get your name out there?

Commenting to read later.

Quick advice: You can simply upvote the article. If you look in your profile, there is a history of articles you voted on, and you don't contribute to comment spam

You could also favorite this article. Your favorites are probably less crowded than your upvotes.

I use pocket and there's a subtle "save to pocket" option after comments number on the main page. Does well enough for me.

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