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I'm a physicist, but I've been working as an employed software developer for several companies in the past seven years, and I've already been a part-time programmer during my university studies. For quite a while now I've considered becomming a freelance software developer, but never dared taking that step.

What holds me back is that whenever I hear people talk about freelancing in the software / IT field, it always includes travelling a lot. I would not mind going to customer sites every now and then, as I do so now as an employee, too, but having something like a four-day consutling week far away from home is something I neither want nor could actually realize (due to familiy constraints etc.)

My question is, do I have to expect that I'll need to accept on-site jobs from clients far away from my place? I do live in a metropolitan area in Germany, so there might be enough local offerings, but as software development is a very specialized field, the 'right' jobs might not be here after all (in my case, the skillset is mostly C++ and C# in classical desktop client-server applications, some database and web stuff, too).

Is it possible to estimate the chances for finding local jobs somehow before starting to freelance?

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Fellow physicist here, though living in the US. I freelance for clients worldwide and I almost never (say once every other month) have to go see a client in person. I'm convinced anybody with programming + English skills and flexibility to sometimes work odd hours (due to time differences) can get remote freelance jobs, living basically anywhere. So no need to look for 'local' jobs.

My recommendation is to first build a set of (worldwide) clients that give you work while you're still doing your day job. You can find clients using Upwork or another freelancer site. Once you've a base that can support you, you can quit your day job and freelance full time.

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