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Hackernoon logoCalling yourself a freelancer makes you a commodity. by@feargswalsh

Calling yourself a freelancer makes you a commodity.

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@feargswalshFeargal Walsh

If you’re like me you’ve probably spent the majority of your professional career bouncing around various jobs where people slap a blanket label of “developer” or “software engineer” on you and leave you in a corner to do something nobody understands. Then, these TV Series were created.

Silicon Valley is about five programmers working on a multi-million-dollar company out of a suburban house and Mr. Robot where the entire global financial system is brought down by hackers. Ironically they are the most accurate representation of programmers in the media to date.

My point is that the problem with calling yourself something like a “freelance web developer” or even worse “software engineer” on your various profiles is: you are assuming a lot of knowledge on the part of the person hiring you. If you are coming from a traditional work environment you may not see this as the kiss of death that it is, because in a traditional work environment you have time to grow into a role and make it your own to the point where your title is irrelevant. However, when you are trying to get a freelance job, it is your clients’ very first impression of what value you can create for their business.

Put yourself in their shoes, they probably know very little about what they want to build, and why should they? It’s your profession, not theirs. Imagine a car salesman droning on about his entire knowledge of cars rather than just the pieces of information relevant to that car and how it benefits you, would you buy that car? The only thing that they are guaranteed to know is why they need to hire you i.e. what problem they want you to solve for them. They may not be forthright with that information but I assure you they know, they are not talking to you for no reason. If you can extract that problem and build a solution for it you will be worth your weight in gold, it’s that simple.

This is all very fine and dandy you may think but sites like Upwork and Freelance.com are full of people who can supposedly do the same work as me but for less money an hour than your rent is costing you an hour.I agree that’s a problem. Enter Toptal, Toptal solves this problem and more for freelancers and clients alike by vetting their freelancers extensively and making sure that they can add value to their client. Toptal understands that there is a sincere and consistent need for quality development work.The companies they work with have standards that are too high and time that is too limited shoddy work. This is why I want to be a part of the Toptal React Native Developers Community, if they’ll have me, and so should you.

Having a strong descriptive title or description of what you do is an efficient and worthwhile means of getting your message across to anybody who may be interested. It will save you a huge amount of time and that, my friend, is the only thing that is finite in this world.

Miscellaneous Resource I’ve found useful in my work.

BeFocused

Annoying that they charge separately for each platform but worth the money.

Pomodone

Looks like they cloned BeFocused and made it better (I wish I bought this instead).

Prospero

Promising, have used multiple times, they are a little rough around the edges as regards their pricing model but design is great.

Bidsketch

I’ve heard this is better than Prospero but I’ve never actually used.

Turbotax

Makes one of Shakespeare’s two certianties in this world a breeze.

Pomello

Used for a while good idea, good but weird execution of the user interface, stopped using it because it threw off my flow too many times.

IndieHackers

Having a community egging you on is priceless.

Don’t Call Yourself A Programmer, And Other Career Advice

The thinly disguised inspiration for this article. @patio11 many thanks.

Double your freelancing

Does what it says on the tin.

Freedom

You have no self control, and there’s no boss around now to police you. Don’t feel bad, nobody does.

RescueTime

They’re selling me on the benefits of upgrading to premium one day at a time, I’ll break soon.

But this is all you really need to get started, Photo by Émile Perron on Unsplash
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdCYMvaUcrA

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