I'm from Brazil, I have more than 5 years of experience with ASP.NET, and was recently certified as MCSD Web Development. There's no freelancer market here in Brazil, only full time boring jobs without career opportunities. I would like to start as a freelancer and maybe work full time at home, doing what I'm good, web apps. I am good at reading and writing, and I am medium as a speaker in English.

Where do I start? How do I find my first customer?

I also have a blog about ASP.NET written in PT-BR. Should I do some kind of portfolio to show my expertise?

  • You can also try sites like odesk, elance....but, these sites doesn't have many good paying jobs.
    – user702
    Sep 28, 2013 at 8:39
  • You could try joining us at Toptal also Oct 2, 2014 at 12:50

5 Answers 5


You just have to start like all of us. I had 10 years of experience when started freelancing and even thou I was a beginner for remote clients.

So to answer your questions.

I'm good written, reading and medium as speaker in english.

Work on your English. The language barrier may be larger obstacle than lack of knowledge. At least perfect your passive English (written language) so that you can flawlessly communicate via emails, chats, etc.

Where do I start? How do I find my first customer?

Like we all did :). Google "freelancing" and register and top sites. Fill the profile professionally and start applying for jobs. If you do it all right, you should expect to get your first job (probably smaller one) in a month or so. You can expect to live from freelancing after 6 months in case you deliver quality products. Read this post of mine, it may help: read this.

I'm also have a blog about ASP.NET written in PT-BR. Should I do some kind of portifolio to show my expertice?

Absolutely! Portfolio is the best thing to prove your experience. Also do IT tests on those freelancing sites.


The biggest misconception most have is that you can just decide you want to freelance and then do it successfully. That's most often not the case. Unless the skills you provide are something tangible like auto-repair or landscaping.

Conceptual services such as web dev and design require a track record of success and a proven ability to complete projects. There's just way too much competition to just jump in and be successful.

No one just "starts freelancing". No one. I've never come across a single successful freelancer who just learned something, then started surviving freelancing on that full time. Everyone works a regular job while building freelancing ventures to a point where they can survive.

You start the same way everyone starts. You learn the skills. Then you get a job using those skills preferably. If not, then any job. While you work that job you market and seek out those in need of the skills you want to use.

I've never used any "freelance websites" and preferred to make actual business connections. I worked my local market, finding businesses or individuals that needed my services. I networked with small business that didn't provide my services, but had a client based that could use them... so I could be a referral for them if someone asked them to do something they didn't do, but I did. There may be no "freelance market" where you are, but I'd wager that there are business or individuals who could use your services if they knew how to contact you. Face it, in today's world almost every successful business needs web dev or design. Every one. (well, I've never been to Brazil so maybe it's different there.)

You start with small, inconsequential, clients and projects that don't make a lot of money and don't give you a great deal to show afterwords.

You continue this until you have a portfolio of decent projects which you can show off to gain better projects. You work on those better projects. All while still working that job, whatever it is.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

You do this as long as it takes to build a stable of good clients that seem to always have work for you. And while doing this you save money. You save enough so that you can live, without income for at least 6 months or a year.

Then, and only then, do you take the leap to working freelance full time.

There's no shortcut or miraculous formula to working on a freelance basis. You have to prove your skills first and build a stable of clients. Otherwise you will just be spending more time looking for work than actually earning an income.


There's no freelancer market here in Brazil

Yeah, it is one of the biggest advantsges of freelancers' job - you can register on some websites for freelancers and get customers from all over the world.

Where do I start? How do I find my first customer?

That is true, just use the Google to search for freelancers platforms you need. Try several ones and in some time after you work for them you will choose the main 1-2 websites you mostly work with. When I started me freelancer career I tried so many platform and now I mostly use just several ones, for example, Freelancer Careers that is good for writers. All you need is search and analyze who fits your interests and opportunities best. Good luck!


I would like to complement others' answers by adding the following:

  1. Establish and maintain contacts in the developer community. Get involved in open source, attend meetups and conferences, and stay in touch with people you've worked with in the past, locally and globally. Doing so can often make work come to you. To illustrate: I am not a professional developer and have only been doing web development about half as long as you. However, I've already been introduced to 3 clients by people I've collaborated with on volunteer projects for non-profits. Two of those clients have hired me despite my relatively short experience, which I think also goes to show that clients put a lot of stock in referrals.

  2. When creating your freelancer profiles, don't ignore any experience you may have that is not directly related to your skills. Previous jobs, hobbies, community involvement, leadership experience etc. can tilt the balance in your favour in ways you may not foresee. Again, to illustrate with a personal example: My profile on one of the freelancer boards clearly describes that I am an experienced molecular biologist looking to transition to professional web development. A client found me thanks exclusively to this info because he had a project that required both web dev skills and an understanding of the life science laboratory environment. Only 3 people were invited to interview for the project, and two were hired - myself, and another person with a science background and graphic design experience.

In summary, don't just focus on the basic process of becoming a freelancer but make a few lateral moves to make yourself stand out from the crowd.

  • Was a good move adding this answer, this effectively answers show to fill in your info, as opposed to "just register yourself on x site". Kudos! Aug 3, 2019 at 7:22

Every start is difficult, but if you are persistent enough and accept lower paying jobs in the beginning (to build resume and references) you can start earning decent amounts.

There are many freelance platforms (where you can get jobs). The most popular ones are: Elance/oDesk and Freelancer You should also consider: getacoder, guru and peopleperhour.

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