I'm a student I love coding as a hobby and am confident in python and some of its common addons, I have also learnt and can program some C++ and have begun learning basic. I am familiar with using both IDE's and full blown engines. I can use unity do a degree and although its probably not very relevant to freelancing can build, upgrade, diagnose hardware.

I am only 15 am studying in grade 11 in Australia. Money is not a worry it's a hobby so its mostly for the love!

  1. Can I become a freelancer (Doing very simple low pay work)?
  2. Will it be realistic and manageable?
  3. Do I need to learn much more and if so what is it?
  4. Where to start?
  5. Am I in over my head (I probably am :( )?
  6. If I cant be a real freelancer is there anywhere I could offer my help for free?

Thank you for your help

  • 1
    First, welcome to Freelancing.SE! Secondly, I know that one important detail is proper grammar (including spelling, punctuation, capitalization, etc) in any correspondence with potential clients.
    – Canadian Luke
    Mar 2, 2016 at 20:00
  • @CanadianLuke I am sorry for my grammar but i was in science class when i composed this question. I normally do use better grammar but circumstantially i may have made mistakes. Sorry :)
    – J.Clarke
    Mar 2, 2016 at 23:25
  • Just making a suggestion, based on the first impression we have - which is what the potential client will see as well.
    – Canadian Luke
    Mar 2, 2016 at 23:26

4 Answers 4


I'm from the US, so I'm not sure how the Australian laws work (as far as a minor working goes), but I'll try my best in answering this.

  1. This depends on the laws based on the client and your country, especially since you're considered a minor. I won't say no, but I also can't say yes either. Reason being, is that most places would need a bank account and if you make up to a certain amount (like it is here in the US), you have to report it on your taxes.

  2. There are people that make a full-time living with freelancing. Just know that you have to keep yourself disciplined to accomplish that. Also, keeping up with your pay is another thing. Some clients aren't as trustworthy (sadly), and it's always great to establish pay terms before even starting on the assignment.

  3. Do I need to learn much more and if so what is it? When it comes to programming, you'll always be learning. There are so many languages out there, just find one that you like, learn it, and dabble with it. Ruby and Python are two that are trending right now.

  4. Where to start? Establish a profile at Github.com to place your projects there. You can also look at http://www.upwork.com.

  5. You're not. It's actually great that you know what you like doing early on. I was 13 when I knew the path I wanted to take.

  6. Check out this site: http://www.freecodecamp.com (they even have a GitHub section incase you're confused on it). If you're well-versed in the topics displayed within that site, then just create a profile on Github and get started.

  • Thank you for your clear and simple answer. In Australia you can work from the age of 14 9 months legally so i'm right there. Thanks for the external references i could you please give me a sight to do free/charity work
    – J.Clarke
    Mar 2, 2016 at 22:45

After all this I tried a random freelancing site. Within 60 seconds of creating my account, I scored a job paying $15 - $32 with a terribly stated title ("I want someone to do a simple pygame").

It had eight days remaining, so I quoted two days at $15. I was instantly contacted and given a very bad description of the task and a zip folder with a small game inside. After 35 minutes of trying to work out what I actually had to do, I was given 2 hours to debug the University assignment of some lazy guys, which I did. However, there was an odd compilation problem (a dialog popped up on compile saying incorrect indentation) so I had to say I couldn't do it. I don't think freelancing is for me, because I'm not a people person (IQ - 126 but very low EQ so no social skills) and it is too much trouble.

I think, I will go back to hobby game development and just post them on the internet as code examples. If I could have a reference to another site to do volunteer code work, I would appreciate it.


No one can tell you if you can be a successful freelancer or what you need to do in order to be successful. Being successful is as much about who you are as it is about what you can do. They are not mutually exclusive. For starters.. aiming for "low pay work" is a sure way to NOT be successful.

This is kind of like posting....

"I can play guitar. I know several songs by The Beatles and Eric Clapton. I know all the major and minor scales. I can tune my guitar 5 different ways and know songs for each tuning. I want to be rock star. Can I be a rock star?"

Well, yes you certainly can. However, being successful isn't really in the "what I know" category. There's drive, determination, work ethic, communication, personal interaction, organization, along with a hundred other non-educational factors that go into being a successful freelancer in any field. After all anyone can take courses or learn the educational aspect of any job or career. Being good in that career goes beyond simply knowing the technical aspects.

And there's also luck. Some freelancers will not own up to this one because they want you to think everything is hard work. It is work, but the truth of the matter is there is some luck involved. It's lucky that you get that one job that leads to another that leads to the best client you've ever had. It's lucky that some random person saw the work you did last year and wants to hire you for a job today. It's lucky that your clients continually have more projects for you and like working with you (not all of them will). There's luck in meeting the right people at the right time. There's luck in having the particular skills someone needs at a particular moment.

So yes anyone can be a freelancer..... but not everyone is successful at it. Without knowing you personally it's just the flip of a coin as to whether you would be a good freelancer.

  1. Yes.

  2. Um, yes? If freelancing weren't manageable, I guess people wouldn't be doing it.

  3. I think what you need to learn is how to find clients, and then learn what those clients want. For better or worse, I think web development is probably more in-demand than those other things you listed. If you want to be a successful freelancer, I would ask "What work do people want done, and how can I learn to deliver that work?" rather than "I can do programming in X. Do people want that?" Oh, and do you need to "learn much more"? Yes, there's more to learn about business (freelancing = business) than you could learn in your whole life. You need to start learning as fast as you can and never stop.

  4. I'd say start by finding your first client. Read the books Get Clients Now! by C.J. Hayden and Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port. I'd also highly recommend Double Your Freelancing Rate by Brennan Dunn. You can also check out my site, businessnetworkingforfreelanceprogrammers.com, although there's not much there yet.

  5. Maybe yes, maybe no, but who cares? Just fake it til you make it. You're in a GREAT position in that you don't need the money. When I started freelancing I had a wife and six-month-old baby to support. I had to do some things out of desperation that were not only unpleasant to do but also slowed my growth as a freelancer. If you don't need the money, you can say F you to bad clients, which is a wonderful thing to be able to do.

  6. Alan Weiss says you should only ever do free work for non-profits. I think that's probably good advice. I would also add that you can work on your own projects for fun for free, and that can help. This post might be relevant: http://www.jasonswett.net/how-to-get-a-job-using-a-technology-you-dont-know/

My advice in a few bullet points:

  • Realize that freelancing is a business
  • Put equal focus on sales and delivery (i.e. programming). Don't focus too much on the code. You need clients in order to be able to get to be a coder.
  • Once you get a "real job", it's easy to get stuck there forever and have a mediocre life. I would give almost anything to be in your shoes. Be very wary of getting yourself stuck in a real job.
  • I wouldn't advise going to college for the degree. I would only do it for the social experiences.
  • Thank you very much i appreciate your help. Freelancing isn't going to become a serious job just a fun hobby. I plan to get a good OP and go to university to study a course such as microelectronics and code on the side. (My parents would kill me if i didn't go to university)
    – J.Clarke
    Mar 2, 2016 at 22:41

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