First off, sorry for the caps in the title, but I did that for a good reason.

Most sites and blog articles out there go something like, "How a beginner can start freelancing with no experience". With such riveting sections as, "how to create a wordpress site" and "how to learn python" and "what is a computer, anyway?"

I am not a beginning coder! I have 20 years experience working for "the man" in embedded systems. Now, however, I have come to the point in my life where no longer care about the rat race and office politics. I'd rather hang out in my cabin in the mountains and raise my kids. Don't want to commute 2 hours each way into the big city anymore.

So how does somebody like me get started, with tons of experience but 0% web rep and very little portfolio? Do I really have to start over at the bottom slapping out HTML for $10/hr with all the other script kiddies? (no offense if this is you) Or is there some way to leverage my years in cubicle hell to my advantage?


3 Answers 3


Welcome to the wonderful world of Freelancing!

First, you need to get a portfolio of your successful projects and problem-solving skills available. This is why most tutorials start with Wordpress - it's easy for non-programmers to setup and get running. I recommend a web presence, but if you're comfortable with another web tech, use that instead. For example, my new Resume one-page site uses Hugo. Still looks good.

Second, you need to calculate how much you need to live comfortably as a freelancer. Check out other questions on this site relating to to help with some of the calculations you'll need. There are still expenses as a freelancer you need to cover, even when you don't have customers during a day or week or month.

Third, do you have a good exit plan? You should come up with one before you take the leap. The last thing you want is to burn through all your savings, and then go back to working for "the man".

Finally, get your name and services out there! Pay for a bit of advertising, links on Google Search Results or similar, banner ads on programming sites, etc. Track your expenses, and make sure they all include a link to your portfolio, and a way to contact you.

Freelancing does not usually happen miraculously in one day; as a conservative spender and over thinker, I planned for almost a year to get the pieces in place before taking the leap. I don't believe in half-assing what I do, and this is my livelihood that would be in question if I failed.


With 20 years experience you have lot to show on your linkedin, github and any other social media platform to potential employees. Also if possible then start your youtube channel and make videos to teach. This will show people how much you know and your strengths. Make a profile on platforms like freelancer, upwork, guru or people per hour etc.


I don't have 20 years os experience, but I have 5 and started freelancing in 2019. I tried the websites @Ayaz cited on his answer (freelancer, upwork, guru, people per hour) but it is hard to compete in price with people just starting out when you don't have much that you can show.

What worked for me was going to presenting at some events and meeting new people. You can do talks on the technologies you know and starting to be know on the comunity. My first freelancing opportunity came trough a friend that knew I was open to this kind of work, he referred me for a company and was called.

They liked my CV but what counted the most was being referred by someone they trusted. Having a lot of time on the industry makes this kind of thing happen more often.

Good luck on the journey!

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