What do you think of software developers
Software developer: self-employed in 6 steps
Are you a developer, love your job, but also want more freedom and flexibility? Then you may already be playing with the idea of starting your own business. Not a bad idea, we think. :)
But maybe you still have your doubts as to whether you are really up to the task. Do not worry! We prepare you for independence as a programmer.
Step 1: Acquire technical knowledge as a software developer
Quite clearly: Without the necessary specialist knowledge in the field of software development, you should put the issue of independence on the back burner for now. Be honest with yourself and get feedback from people around you (e.g. from former colleagues). Are you up to the job as a freelance programmer or do you still have to invest time in your further education?
We are not necessarily talking about classic vocational training here; in fact, many developers acquire their knowledge self-taught. It should not be forgotten, however, that with a university degree in your pocket you can ask for a higher fee.
But what exactly do you have to be able to do as a software developer? Basically, the more programming languages you master, the better. Because in this way you can secure more orders and respond more flexibly to customer requests.
The programming languages are often used as the basis PHP, Java and C ++ called. We recommend: Searching for advertised IT projects on placement portals. This is how you can find out which programming languages are currently trending.
Another tip on the side: Even after the establishment, you should continue to train (e.g. using distance learning courses, advanced training, etc.) and stay up to date on trends in the IT industry.
Step 2: Create a business plan as a freelance programmer
Do you think a business plan is only for larger companies? I thought wrong! While a business plan isn't essential for a freelance developer, we recommend it anyway. Because with a business plan you can:
- show you your own business model in a structured manner,
- put this through its paces
- and recognize and fix possible weak points in advance.
In short: with a business plan you increase your chances of success. What exactly is in a simple business plan? The most important points are:
- your business idea and vision (what do you want to achieve in the short / medium / long term?)
- your range of services and how you will stand out from the competition
- the target audience and how you will market your services
- the results of a market and competition analysis (don't worry - targeted research using a search engine is also an option here.)
- the legal framework (company name, taxes, accounting, etc.)
- your financial plan (pricing model, capital requirements, etc.)
- your strengths and weaknesses, not only as a programmer, but also in terms of your entrepreneurial skills
Here, too, we recommend: Ask friends, family, colleagues, etc. for feedback on your business plan. Because a realistic assessment is also very important in this phase.
Step 3: Register as a developer at the trade office and tax office
Of course, even programmers cannot start a business without going through certain authorities. The crucial question that arises right at the beginning: trade or freelance? Because if you are obliged to trade, you have to register your trade with the trade office. Unfortunately, this question is not clearly defined in the field of software development.
In fact, in practice, most software developers are freelance workers. This is because a special qualification is required for their job (e.g. a degree in software engineering).
If you program system software, you can usually assume that you are considered a freelancer. However, caution is advised if, for example, you are only programming application software. Then the activity as a programmer could well be classified as a trade.
Business or not - as a freelance programmer, you will definitely have to pay taxes. And for that you need a tax number. You apply for this via the tax registration questionnaire at the tax office. You should then receive your tax number in a few weeks.
Step 4: Take out insurance to work as a software developer
There are many insurance companies. Therefore, you should always get good advice. Exchanging ideas with other self-employed people in the IT industry is also a good idea here. You don't want to be given unnecessary insurance. The most important insurances that also make sense for programmers include:
- Health insurance: The main question here is whether there is private or statutory health insurance.
- Liability insurance: This could be important, for example, in the event of financial loss caused by a program error.
- Occupational disability insurance
- Pension insurance
Step 5: Gaining customers as a freelance programmer
Many self-employed developers do not have the time or expertise to set up a professional marketing campaign. This is not necessary either. But the topic of customer acquisition cannot be completely neglected.
As a software developer, you will likely work mainly in the B2B area, i.e. do business with other companies. Customer acquisition can then take place via various channels:
- an appealing, search engine optimized website so that your potential customers can also find you when they search online
- Project tenders on job portals and in professional networks
- direct contact (email, phone, etc.) with potential customers
- Participation in trade fairs and other industry-specific events
- Offering workshops, lectures, etc. to demonstrate your technical knowledge and skills and to expand your professional network
- Maintaining social media channels
Step 6: Use the developer invoice program
As a programmer, you know that good software is worth its weight in gold. This also applies to self-employed work, where time and financial resources are often limited. Our tip: Use an invoicing program like Debitoor. Among other things, you can:
- Write invoices and offer your customers various payment options
- Record expenses - also via mobile app
- keep track of your income and expenses
- Prepare reports for the tax office
- work efficiently with your tax advisor
And the most important thing: you have your head free to devote yourself to your beloved code. :)
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