By Newly Rich Guy
Published on Mar 11, 2024 in Business Innovation

Taught Programmer to Successful Freelancer: A Journey of Persistence and Learning

Taught Programmer to Successful Freelancer: A Journey of Persistence and Learning Explore the transformative journey of a self-taught programmer turned successful freelancer, detailing challenges, adaptability, and key skills for the future.

In 2009, I took a leap of faith, leaving my traditional job to dive into the world of freelancing and programming. Little did I know that this decision would set me on a transformative journey of self-discovery, learning, and ultimately, success. This blog aims to share my experience, the challenges faced, and the lessons learned throughout the years.

Chapter 1: The Early Days

The initial years were marked by a relentless pursuit of knowledge. Learning the basics of programming was just the beginning. I immersed myself in the world of web development, design, database management, server deployment, and more. Juggling small freelance jobs, some successful and some canceled, became a crucial part of my daily routine. The journey was tough, but my determination kept me going.

In my quest for opportunities, I explored various freelance platforms, leaving no stone unturned. Platforms like,,,, and many others became not just tools for finding work but arenas for honing my skills and expanding my network. Each platform offered a unique set of challenges and opportunities, exposing me to diverse projects and clients from around the globe. The experience of navigating different platforms added a layer of adaptability to my skill set, preparing me for the dynamic nature of the freelancing landscape.

Chapter 2: 17 to 18 Hours a Day - The Grind

For five years, I committed myself to long hours of learning and working. The path to proficiency in programming and web development was not a sprint but a marathon. I faced challenges, encountered setbacks, and even had projects canceled due to various reasons. However, I refused to quit and remained in a continuous learning and working mode.

My journey on multiple freelance platforms not only enhanced my technical skills but also provided invaluable insights into client expectations, effective communication, and project management. Working across diverse platforms meant adapting to different work cultures and understanding the unique dynamics of each space. This adaptability became a key asset as I navigated through the challenges of freelancing on a global scale.

As I embraced the grind, the amalgamation of learning from various platforms and working relentlessly laid the foundation for the broader skill set that would later contribute to the success of my freelancing career.

Chapter 3: The Evolution of Skills

As the years went by, my skills evolved beyond programming. I delved into business, marketing, sales, branding, management, psychology, and philosophy. The diverse range of knowledge broadened my perspective and equipped me with a holistic understanding of not just the technical aspects but the business side of freelancing.

Chapter 4: Creating Products and Finding Opportunities

The culmination of my efforts resulted in the creation of software products. Although unplanned, these products became the cornerstone of my success. The journey involved overcoming challenges, adapting to changes, and seizing unexpected opportunities. I found a balance between pursuing my passion for programming and building a sustainable business model.

Chapter 5: The Changing Landscape of Freelancing

Reflecting on my journey, I observe the shift in the freelancing landscape. What was once a platform abundant with opportunities is now a competitive space where freelancers are sought after as professionals. In the early years, platforms like,, and were burgeoning with potential for freelancers. These platforms were novel, providing a space for individuals to connect and collaborate across borders.

However, as the gig economy gained momentum, the landscape transformed into a highly competitive marketplace., initially known for its diverse range of gigs at affordable prices, saw an influx of freelancers offering specialized skills, creating a more competitive environment., which started as a platform connecting employers with freelancers globally, evolved into a hub where professionals showcased their expertise, making it imperative for freelancers to stand out in a sea of talent. which began as oDesk and Elance before merging, revolutionized the way companies hired freelancers. While it opened up opportunities for global collaboration, it also intensified competition. As these platforms matured, companies recognized the benefits of hiring freelancers over maintaining a full-time staff, leading to a surge in demand for skilled individuals who could deliver high-quality work efficiently.

The shift in these platforms from fledgling opportunities to competitive spaces mirrors the broader evolution of the freelancing industry. As the demand for freelancers grew, so did the need for specialization and excellence. Freelancers are no longer just enthusiasts seeking projects; they are professionals offering specialized services in a competitive marketplace, transforming the freelancing platforms into hubs where businesses actively seek expertise and efficiency.

Chapter 6: Advice for Aspiring Freelancers

In a world where freelancing is both competitive and in high demand, I often find myself unable to provide a straightforward answer to those seeking advice. The landscape has changed, and the challenges are different. However, the essence of my journey lies in persistence, continuous learning, and adaptability. Here are a few key takeaways for aspiring freelancers:

  • Embrace a learning mindset:
    The industry evolves rapidly, and staying updated is crucial.
  • Diversify your skills:
    Beyond technical expertise, understanding business, marketing, and communication is vital.
  • Be adaptable:
    The ability to pivot and adapt to changing circumstances is a valuable asset.
  • Pursue your passions:
    Find joy in what you do, and success will follow.

Chapter 7: Embracing the Future - 10 Essential Skills for the Upcoming Freelancer

As the freelancing landscape evolves, the demand for a diverse skill set becomes increasingly crucial. Here are 10 skills that are not only relevant today but are also anticipated to be in high demand worldwide in the coming years:

  1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning:
    Learn through online courses on platforms like Coursera, edX, or specialized AI/ML courses on Udemy.
  2. Data Science and Analytics: Gain expertise with courses from platforms like DataCamp, Khan Academy, or specialized programs on LinkedIn Learning.
  3. Cybersecurity: Enhance your skills through courses on platforms such as Cybrary, Pluralsight, or certifications like CompTIA Security+.
  4. Blockchain Technology: Learn blockchain development through courses on B9lab Academy, IBM Blockchain Developer, or platforms like Skillshare.
  5. Digital Marketing and SEO: Acquire digital marketing skills from courses on Google Digital Garage, HubSpot Academy, or SEMrush Academy.
  6. User Experience (UX) Design: Master UX design with courses from Interaction Design Foundation, Udacity, or Nielsen Norman Group.
  7. Content Creation and Video Editing: Develop your skills through courses on Adobe Creative Cloud, LinkedIn Learning, or Skillshare.
  8. Remote Collaboration Tools: Familiarize yourself with tools like Slack, Trello, and Asana for effective communication and project management.
  9. Cloud Computing: Learn about cloud platforms such as AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud through courses on A Cloud Guru, Linux Academy, or the respective cloud providers' training platforms.
  10. Entrepreneurial Mindset: Cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset through resources like "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries, podcasts like "How I Built This," and networking with like-minded individuals on platforms such as LinkedIn or industry-specific forums.

Chapter 8: Navigating the Competitive Entrepreneurial Landscape

In the ever-evolving entrepreneurial landscape, adopting an intrapreneurial mindset is not just an option; it's a necessity. Aspiring freelancers should view their careers as dynamic enterprises, embracing the challenge of understanding market gaps and creating innovative solutions.

Transitioning from an employee mindset to an intrapreneurial one involves approaching every freelancing opportunity as if it were your own business. Start by learning the intricacies of the industry, identifying market needs, and creating a minimum viable product (MVP) that addresses those needs. Collaborate with fellow freelancers, participate in forums, and seek mentorship from industry experts to refine your ideas.

Platforms like offer valuable courses on intrapreneurship, business strategy, and product development. Invest time and resources in acquiring the knowledge needed to run your freelancing endeavors as a business. An intrapreneurial attitude not only ensures that you deliver exceptional value to clients but also positions you as a proactive and innovative professional in the competitive freelancing landscape.

Remember, the entrepreneurial journey is becoming increasingly competitive, with well-educated and well-prepared individuals entering the market. By fostering an intrapreneurial mindset, you not only stand out in the freelancing world but also prepare yourself for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. In the upcoming chapters, we'll delve deeper into the strategies and mindset needed to thrive in this fiercely competitive entrepreneurial landscape.

Conclusion: My journey from a self-taught programmer to a successful freelancer has been marked by challenges, learning, and unwavering determination. The evolution of the freelancing landscape, the demand for skilled professionals, and the changing dynamics of the industry all contribute to a unique narrative. As I continue to work from home, I look back on my journey with gratitude, knowing that the experiences and lessons learned have shaped not just my career but my entire outlook on life.

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