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How to Survive as a Python Freelancer

So, you’ve learned Python and want to make your living as a freelance Python programmer. Good for you! But there are some things you should know before getting started on the freelance life.

“The world is a jungle and you must fight to survive!”

Do you often hear such words from the lips of online coaches and pseudo-motivational speakers? Well ... It annoys me too, but unfortunately there is some truth to this saying. I'm not saying you have to memorize Sun Tzu's Art of War, but you need to know how to handle today’s job market – especially if you know Python and have decided to become a freelancer. Don't worry; it's a very good decision. However, you need to think about a few things. In this article, we’ll go over them so that you can be sure you’ve made the right choice.

Python is a programming language that can give you your ticket to professional success. It’s worth studying; just see all that Python is used for. Knowing Python gives you a lot of possibilities. It doesn't matter if you want to write advanced programs, web apps, or work with databases as a data scientist – Python will help you get there.

What if you’ve never written a single line of code and are a complete Python beginner? Then I recommend you start with our Python Basics track. It’s logically arranged so that you acquire foundational Python and programming knowledge as you complete the exercises. If you already know the basics of Python, choose from our more advanced courses like Built-in Algorithms in Python. And for a short time, all LearnPython.com courses are free. Sign up and have fun!

Is Freelancing a Good Career Path?

I could just say ”yes” and end this paragraph. Unfortunately, like everything in life, the answer is not that simple. What does it mean to be a freelancer? In essence, you’re self-employed – with all the consequences.

Python Freelancer

Unlike people who are employed by companies and can count on a regular income, a freelancer’s earnings are not always steady. The amount you bring home will depend on how much you work and the effort you spend.

So, is freelancing about constant financial uncertainty? It depends on how you approach it. If you don't take care of your customers and keep growing professionally, you won’t succeed. You need to awaken your entrepreneurial spirit. Eventually, as a freelancer, you will become a one-person company.

Pros and Cons of Being a Python Freelancer

Now let’s consider the issues that you should take into account before you start freelancing. Don't be afraid; it's nothing terrible. These are just some things to be aware of when making your future career plan.

1. Is There a Demand for Python Programming?

Python was created in the early 1990s by the Dutch programmer Guido van Rossum. From the beginning, Python was created as an intuitive and syntactically simple programming language that could be used for many tasks. Today, you’ll find it in data science, web applications, process automation, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and more. Python is logical and easy to learn, but it also comes with many possibilities.

My colleague Rebecca wrote a great article on whether you should learn Python in 2021. In it, she talks about some Stack Overflow research showing that Python is in the forefront of the most popular programming languages and that most professional developers want to add it to their repertoire. People who know Python are sought after by employers. What does it mean? If you know Python, you won't complain about a lack of work – and that can go for freelancers as well.

There are reasons why professionals turn to Python. If you need more reasons to start learning Python, check out this introduction to the world's favorite programming language.

2. What Will Your Future Office Be Like?

Python Freelancer

It may seem trivial, but not everyone thinks about exactly where and how they will do their freelance work. Most Python freelancers work from home. In the COVID-19 era, we got used to the home office. But for most freelancers, working from home is a permanent situation, not a temporary anomaly.

What do you need to know about working from home? First of all, you need to create the right work environment. In the long run, I do not recommend sitting with a laptop at the kitchen table – although I did it myself for the first few months of lockdown. Why? Because not only does your creativity suffer, so does your spine. You need an ergonomic armchair and a good desk. Your desk should be able to accommodate, say, your laptop or desktop, a second screen, a larger keyboard, papers/books, etc.

Working from home also reduces social contact. You no longer have coffee breaks where you can chat with colleagues about yesterday's match. If you live alone, you will regulate your breaks and spend them yourself. If you live with someone, try to turn off your ‘work brain’ and talk with them for a while. It will be good for your productivity.

Working from home also has some advantages. First, you don't have to go anywhere. This saves many hours a month in travel, traffic jams, etc. You have time to run more or sleep longer.

Secondly, you won't spend your money on taxis and other commute-related expenses. You may even spend less on food because you can prepare your own breakfasts and lunches. It's healthier, cheaper, and better. A few months of remote work can be the key to staying slim. But be careful – it's also easy to start stuffing yourself with Doritos when no one is watching!

3. Where Will You Find Clients?

There are several paths here. You can search for companies that you want to have as clients, but this is time-consuming. Instead of writing code, you’ll spend most of your time, especially at the beginning, on marketing. On the plus side, once you have your first few customers and everything goes to plan, they will most likely recommend you to others. This will gain you new customers and develop your business.

The second option is to use job-search platforms and websites. If you are just starting out in the job market, this is a very common choice. Personally, I recommend trying Upwork, Freelancer.com, Indeed, or Monster.

Freelance jobs will help you build your portfolio. In addition, freelance platforms like Upwork handle most of the paperwork and formalities related to contracts, copyrights, and payments for you. It makes bookkeeping simpler for both the freelancer and the client

A while ago, I wrote an article about Where to Find a Python Job. Check it out for more details.

4. How Much Can You Earn As a Python Freelancer?

Python Freelancer

This question can be difficult to answer. Part of your earning power depends on how well you know Python – the projects you will be able to complete will depend on your level of advancement.

In my article on Python jobs, I described some potential earnings for each position. On average, a Python expert earns anywhere from $60,000 to $150,000. As a Python freelancer, you could certainly bring in similar figures, but only as long as you apply the previous point about marketing yourself and finding clients.

You will certainly earn much less at the beginning of your freelancing career. After you’ve completed some contracts and gained some recognition for your skills, your prices can increase.

Yes, it's possible to be a freelance Python developer and live pretty comfortably. As long as you put effort into really mastering Python, you won't complain about a lack of work. For more tips, see this article on becoming a successful Python freelancer.

Is a Career as a Python Freelancer for You?

I hope this article has given you an idea of what being a Python freelancer is like. Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Freelancing has a lot of other facets – you have to take care of your own taxes, equipment, etc. If your computer breaks down, you won't be able to go complain to your buddy in the IT department; you’ll have to figure it out yourself or pay to have it done.

On the other hand, freelancing can give you professional freedom. Everything will depend on you: your motivation, your commitment, your willingness to develop. Let me just say that it pays off. The freelance Python life can be really cool.

If you feel that your company is too tight for you, your boss annoys you, you’re tired of dealing with stupid emails from the HR department – well, maybe starting your own business and becoming a freelancer is for you. Remember, you can always return to work full time in the office. But something tells me that if you put your effort into learning Python, you'll be successful!

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