If you are looking to get paid to code online, there are a plethora of options available to you. In fact, there has never been a better time than now to start making money with your programming talents without having to ever set foot in an office.
I’ve been making money as a freelance web developer for the past year, and while it might seem intimidating when first getting started, you can make decent money if you stick with it and know your options.
The hardest part about making money by coding as a freelancer is honestly just getting started.
To save you some time and aggravation, I’ve compiled a list of five easy ways to find new clients and to start making a living by coding for cash.
1. Help Local Businesses
Finding local clients is one of the best ways to start your freelancing career and earn a decent income right out of the gate.
Honestly, most people overlook this route, and it’s not because programmers don’t think of it. It’s because most of us chose this field due to the major benefit of not having to talk to people all day.
Trust me, I get it.
The problem is, do you know who is most likely to hire you for an actual living wage and isn’t just looking to find the lowest price online?
Small businesses…So get used to talking to people!
Take some time to compile (get it?) a list of businesses in your city and start searching them out on the web. How do their websites look? How could they look better? Is there some sort of software you think you could implement for their websites that would bring them real value?
It really isn’t hard to find a local business that has a website that looks like (and probably was) built straight out of the ’90s.
Scouting businesses like this will likely help you find web design clients fast, and you won’t have to worry about competing in an online market place for low wages.
Finding local clients is also a great way to start freelance programming as a beginner, contrary to what you might think.
Can’t shake the nerve of scouting out businesses and meeting a client in person? Email or phone calls are always an option.
2. Tutor Others
Another great way to make money as a programmer is by teaching others your skills.
There are essentially two branches of teaching that you could do. In-person classes are one option, or you could tutor others by making educational videos online.
I am not sure if this is a growing trend or if it’s a coincidence that all of my friends now strangely want to start coding because “coding is the future, and it will help me get a job!”
Like, maybe? Although, unless it’s a programming job, I don’t think your boss is going to care if you know what a function or variable is.
Anyways, I digress.
Regardless, there’s still plenty of opportunity to start making money by teaching people how to program. Although there are tons of resources online, for a beginner, it’s not as simple to pick up as you might think.
Having someone to guide you through the basics and answer any immediate questions can give students a strong foundation to start learning more quickly on their own.
If you’re an outgoing enough person, a three-day crash course on programming can be a great way to earn some quick cash by teaching coding to local students or people in your community.
If in-person tutoring isn’t your thing, making YouTube videos could be an alternative way to reach a large audience of viewers that want to learn how to code (and to make some money from ad revenue and affiliate sales along the way).
Many programmers spend a lot of time reading books online, looking up questions on Reddit, or watching YouTube videos to supplement their understanding of concepts and new technologies.
I recently watched this great YouTube video on Sass which gave me a solid foundation understanding of the language to write cleaner, better organized CSS code.
As you can see from his YouTube channel, which has over 140K subscribers, plenty of other people also find value in turning to YouTube to become better coders.
Realistically, if you have the knowledge to make these types of videos, all you need is a computer and a piece of video editing software to build a channel around your programming knowledge.
Once the viewers start rolling in, you can sell ad space or combine your knowledge into an e-book. It seems like a fun side project to me!
3. Enter Coding Contests
I am going to be honest about this one: unless you are an unreal programmer, you probably won’t make much money doing coding competitions.
However, programming contests can still be a great way to learn from other programmers and to become a better coder. Besides, learning how to write to a cleaner, more efficient code will likely lead you to higher paying jobs in the future. Who doesn’t love self-improvement?
Here is a link to some of the top coding competition websites if you want to check them out.
Who knows, maybe you’ll win some cash competing in some of these coding challenges!
4. Make Money Freelancing
Probably the most obvious way to make money programming is by freelancing your development services.
There are plenty of remote job websites out there that allow you to find freelance jobs, and web development is no exception.
Some popular freelancing platforms for programmers include:
Guru – Has nearly 500,000 freelance programmers and plenty of amazing job opportunities on the platform.
Fiverr – Web development, WordPress support, and website optimization are just a few of the services that are in high demand on Fiverr.
Freelancer – There are currently more than 16,000 jobs posted on Freelancer, and many of them are looking for programming help or web development services.
Upwork – One of the largest freelancing marketplaces in the world.
The only problem with these sites is that it can be a race to the bottom for employers to hire the developer who will charge the least amount of money.
This is fine if you’re a beginner who is looking to gain experience. However, if you’re an experienced programmer, I would suggest trying out websites like codeable.io that have a bit more of a vetting process for the freelancers they accept.
Besides knowing the best platforms to find freelance work, it is also important to know the best languages, frameworks and CMS’s that are commonly used for freelance jobs,
The majority of clients who hire freelance developers are small companies that cannot afford an in-house development team. This means you will mostly work with clients that need a website made quick and cheap.
So, for instance, learning a CMS like WordPress and everything that comes along with it would make a lot of sense.
On the other hand, having strong knowledge in C is great for theoretical purposes, but it’s going to be hard to find any freelance jobs that work directly with this language. You get the idea.
Check out this great video from an experienced developer that talks about the best skills to know for freelancing if you want to learn more.
5. Make Money With Software
If you’re looking for a way to code for cash and to possible earn some passive income, simple software development may be a great side hustle.
To give you all some context, I received my bachelor’s degree in Marketing Management (a waste of 4 years, if I’m being honest). However, it did allow me to freelance my marketing abilities with a couple of businesses.
Now, you may be asking: ‘how do I actually make money with software?”.
Well, if there’s one thing I know about people in marketing it’s that they love marketing automation. However, none of them know how to create software that helps them save time (nor would it be worth their time if a paid solution already existed).
I used a lot of software to make my life easier while working in digital marketing.
For instance, I had a script that would automatically go into all my clients’ Facebook posts and invite fans to like their pages.
It took me 5 minutes to run the script, and it made my clients very happy that I took over this repetitive task “myself”. It saved 30 minutes a day, and the software only cost $9.99 a month.
So, in short, you could be the person behind this sort of software, making the rest of our lives easier!
Know nothing about digital marketing? That’s okay. The basic idea is to find an existing problem in an industry and to write a piece of software that can address and fix that pain point.
There are tons of paths you could go down to code software for money. You’re all programmers, so be creative!
Overall, it’s easy to see that making money with programming is a pretty manageable thing to do. The world is driven by technology, and the need for skilled coders who can problem solve effectively isn’t going anywhere.
Making money by coding might seem intimidating at the start. However, you just need to know where to look and to have a couple of creative ideas. There’s opportunity out there, so apply yourself and go grab it!
If you have any other great ways to make money online by coding, feel free to drop a comment below. I am always looking for new ideas!
Grant is a freelance web developer and graphic designer based out of Toronto, ON. Grant is also a writer at This Online World, and covers ways to make money online through programming and graphic design work.