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Making 3k€ in 7 days after only 3 months of Freelance

11 hours ago2 min read

Last April, I decided to go down the freelance path while studying in college. Nothing really happened until August when I got my first real project. About 3 months later I:

  • made a total of 12K€
  • just signed a 7-day project at 3K€
  • get recurrent calls for new projects
  • worked with a famous cosmetic luxury brand and a big university (Paris)

Let's see how it all happened.

🚀 Explosive start

I had an amazing first step in my freelance journey. I started off with a huge project for Éstée Lauder and an ambitious deadline: 1 month to build a vritual event platform. I had to integrate Zoom into the platform, create the onboarding (signup/login, email verification), setup CI/CD, configure Linux servers, and a ton of other things. To be honest, 70% of the things I did was learnt doing it 😁.

This project went awesome and gave me a huge boost in confidence. Plus many people were involved in the project and they loved my work which got me a ton of credibility (and also recurrent offers).

😖 Impostor Syndrom

After this project, I took a handful of smaller projects. But I never realised what my work was worth. I would price ridiculously low because I felt like it wasn't big asks. I almost felt bad to ask money for something I love doing.

To give you an example, one previous client was using a tool that would retrieve their job offers from Linkedin and post them on their website. The Linkedin API evolved and broke this automation. They asked me to find a solution and after browsing the API I concluded it wasn't possible to find a quick fix. But then I thought of hacking together a solution by building a chrome extension and a custom API, which end up working great. I prototyped it in less than 10 hours without telling them. When I told them about the solution (but not that I already have a working prototype) they liked it and asked for a price. As I already had 80% of the job done, I only asked for 300€. Looking back, I should have asked for at least 3 times that amount. The tool they were using costs 50€/month so I'm saving them 600€/year (and time because the tool wasn't perfectly fitted to their workflow and needed additional tweaks).

🤑 Decomplexing about money & experimenting new pricing strategies

After a ton of other bad project pricing, I took the time to rethink my methodology. I knew from the beginning about value-based pricing, but it requires a lot of experience and confidence. However, I wasn't even pricing based on the time spent. I would just give a price I thought would make everybody happy. So I decided to at least define my daily rate and estimate the time I would spend before pricing, i.e having a defined pricing strategy.

At the same time, I had a last minute call to build a platform for finals using Zoom... in 7 days! It seemed like an insane ask, so I reckon I could do the same and ask for 10k 😅 Unfortunately my colleague got cold feet and told me he couldn't justfy such daily rate. Even though I think it was reasonable given the work and short deadline, I still managed to negociate 3k for the job 😎 (and it ended up being quite easy 🤫)

⚖ Finding balance

As a college student it's hard to find the right balance. A part of me wants to go all in and approach bigger clients and take bigger responsibilities. It would mean more exciting projects, more value-based pricing, more engagement. But I can't assume too much responsibilities because I might stop my activity at any time for an internship for example. For this reason I want to take a month or two off to look at the bigger picture. After all, I also want to become a prolific maker and a great machine learning engineer/researcher.

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