Kavun UA is not an average freelance platform. While being open for registration we maintain a high standard for verification. I wanted Kavun UA to be a place where people come to hire developers for their startups and this requires specific knowledge. During the past 2 years, I helped dozen of startups to create MVPs and my hourly rate grew from $10 to $100. In this article, I will share with you my personal approach to freelancing and how to rapidly grow your hourly rate.
Create an amazing experience for your client
Startup founders very often are not technical and need assistance on every step of their journey. Our goal is to help them understand how the technical side works and teach them how to work with technical people. It is important to get a mindset that every person is not ideal and it is highly probable that your knowledge in tech topics is much higher than your co-founder or client.
I doubt every word I get from my clients. One of my clients wanted to build a platform using Django + React. I asked him why he chose Django and he said that some of his friends suggested it. After diving deeper we came up with a solution to replace Django with WordPress Headless. This single question and single decision saved us thousands of dollars. Your hourly rate will grow together with the amount of value you give to a client.
The biggest partnerships I had in my life started from a trial. I have to Harvard degree nor have I even finished my bachelor’s degree. Despite that, I charge ridiculously great fees, which a few clients are ready to pay straight away by just looking at my profile. I like my actions to speak for myself. I never ask for payment upfront and I always start working for free at the beginning. After working with me and seeing my skills a few people can say “no” to the hourly rate I propose.
There are millions of people with great resumes, and a few of them are actually smart. If you show that you are smart – you got the deal. The best way to show that you are smart is to ask great questions, give great answers and find not-obvious solutions for problems. It requires another level of mental preparation where instead of replaying what is on your mind you first examine the thought and try to find a better way to answer. Sometimes being straightforward means being fired, you have to show that you can think on a level deeper than anyone else.
- Start a partnership with a free trial, giving first
- Always have notifications on and reply to messages of clients instantaneously, the quicker the better
- Provide weekly and daily updates, make sure he understands what is going on and why
- Ask deep questions about how every feature has to work in details
- Don’t allow misunderstanding and unmet expectations, clarify every step and every agreement
- Think of his fears and address them with messages or calls
I would never lose an engineer who is loyal to me, even if he is a bad engineer. To generate loyalty you have to generate trust. To generate trust you have to not lie and be dedicated to the project. If the project is not meeting the deadline you gonna can stay longer to show that you care. If a startup proposes to lower its salary before the next investment round, you should consider taking shares. Asking for shares in the company is the biggest sign of loyalty you could make. It means you believe in the company vision and you are ready to sacrifice your present for a bright future for the company.
Never cheat on working hours. People will see it and it will ruin the whole trust you was building all these years. Better take an official day off and just rest instead of skipping working hours. If you feel bad, just take a sick leave. Try to be as productive as possible during your working hours. you have to make sure you sleep well, you are not getting distracted during work and your nutrition is balanced.
As an engineer your single decision could cost the company millions of dollars, they pay you for decisions, not for the working hours. So don’t just mindfully follow what is going on around you, show loyalty and try to propose some improvements.
- Don’t cheat, if you are working, your 100% of attention has to be on work
- Don’t hesitate to work longer than expected for the first weeks, it will pay off
- Don’t be too greedy over money, and don’t be afraid to lower your rate on the agreement to increase the rate after raising money
- Consider taking shares, just make sure that the price is frozen and you don’t have to pay to exercise options
Usually, the more proactive you are the better career you will have. If you are proactive people will see a leader in you and leaders are rare. Every project needs a tech leader which is why they are expensive. To quickly grow your hourly rate – become a leader.
You don’t necessarily have to lead the whole team, just start from leading yourself and the things you are working on. The difference between proactive and reactive people can be easily tracked in how they complete tasks. A reactive person requires the whole spec to be written and if you didn’t write something down – this person won’t do it. Even if it is something obvious like error handling or login screen.
A proactive person can execute complete tasks with a few requirements. He will think from the perspective of an end user and will try to make sure that this feature is complete and user-friendly. He will add error handling for all edge cases and he will even add some animations.
- Be honest about the product, code, and client itself. Provide feedback and your opinion from time to time.
- Propose new features to the client
- Think from the business perspective and ask questions about how the business will earn money and how this whole product will be useful
- Add additional things like animations, error handling, and edge case handling even without the client asking for it
- Be self-managed and come up with / prioritize tasks for yourself even if the client did not approve of it
Create an amazing experience for your client, be loyal, and be proactive. That is the mantra you have to learn to be a successful freelancer on Kavun UA and in life in general. Your hourly rate will grow, you will have a queue of people who wanna work with you and your job will feel like a vacation.