How to freelance when you suck at programming?

Programming is a skill often associated with a successful freelance career in the tech industry. But what if you consider your programming skills lacking or non-existent? How to freelance when you suck at programming? Well, that is where this article plays a big role.

This article aims to help individuals who feel their programming skills are not up to par but still wish to embark on a freelancing journey. By the end of this guide, you will have a better understanding of how to leverage your other strengths, develop a learning mindset, and build a successful freelance career, even if programming isn’t your strong suit.

Acknowledging your Limitations

Recognizing your current abilities is the first step towards growth. If programming isn’t your strong suit, it’s okay. There’s no shame in acknowledging that you are a beginner or that you struggle in this area. Everyone starts somewhere, and many successful freelancers weren’t experts when they started. Keep in mind that it’s important to have a continuous learning mindset and willingness to improve, regardless of your starting point.

how to freelance when you suck at programming

Understanding the Freelancing Ecosystem

Freelancing is an expansive field that stretches far beyond programming. As a freelancer, you are essentially an independent contractor offering your skills and services to multiple clients. These skills can range from design, content creation, project management, technical writing, and yes, even programming. However, programming is just one piece of the puzzle. There are countless other roles in the tech industry where programming isn’t the main focus.

Exploring Other Avenues in Freelancing

If programming isn’t your forte, fret not. There are several other tech-related domains where programming skills are not the sole requirement.

  • Project Management: This involves organizing and managing resources to achieve specific goals. A basic understanding of technology can be beneficial, but advanced programming skills aren’t necessary.
  • UI/UX Design: This involves designing interactive elements and enhancing the user’s experience. While some coding knowledge can help, it’s more about creativity and understanding user needs.
  • Content Creation: This includes blogging, copywriting, or creating multimedia content about tech topics. Effective communication and creativity are key here, not programming skills.
  • Technical Writing: This involves writing user manuals, how-to guides, and documentation. Clarity and precision in writing are the primary skills needed.

Identifying your strengths and interests in these or other areas can help guide your freelancing career path.


Learning and Upskilling

As a freelancer, it’s essential to keep learning and improving your skills. Here’s how to identify and fill gaps in your skillset:

  1. Identify: Recognize your weak areas. It’s the first step towards progress.
  2. Set Goals: Define what you want to learn or improve.
  3. Learn: Use resources such as online courses, webinars, or workshops to learn new skills or improve existing ones.
  4. Implement: Put what you’ve learned into practice through personal projects or tasks.
  5. Reflect: Evaluate your progress regularly and adjust your goals and learning strategies as needed.

Several platforms offer free or affordable courses in a wide variety of fields, including Coursera, Udemy, Khan Academy, and LinkedIn Learning.

Building a Portfolio

In the freelancing world, a portfolio is your resume. It provides potential clients with a snapshot of your abilities and accomplishments. Even if you think you don’t have any notable projects, start small. Here’s how:

  1. Start With Personal Projects: These could be anything from designing a website for a friend to managing a community event.
  2. Include Course Projects: If you’ve completed a course, any end-of-course project can be included in your portfolio.
  3. Emphasize Transferable Skills: Show how your skills can be applicable across various industries.
  4. Keep it Updated: As you continue to learn and work on new projects, keep your portfolio current.

Remember, the goal is to demonstrate your skills, creativity, and ability to deliver results.

Networking and Building Relationships

Networking is an invaluable tool for freelancers. It can lead to job opportunities and collaborations. Here are some tips for effective networking:

  • Online Platforms: Join online communities related to your field. Engage in discussions and share your insights.
  • Events and Meetups: Attend industry events or meetups. These can provide opportunities to connect with potential clients or collaborators.
  • Build Relationships: Don’t just network when you need something. Build genuine relationships and offer your help when others need it.
  • Leverage Social Media: Use platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter to connect with industry professionals and share your work.

Overcoming Impostor Syndrome

Impostor syndrome is a psychological pattern where individuals doubt their skills, talents, or accomplishments and have a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. It’s common among freelancers and can deter you from pursuing opportunities. Here’s how to overcome it:

  • Acknowledge Your Achievements: Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem.
  • Practice Self-Compassion: Understand that everyone makes mistakes and that it’s a part of the learning process.
  • Seek Support: Share your feelings with others. You’ll likely find that what you’re experiencing is quite common.
  • Challenge Negative Thoughts: Counter impostor thoughts with facts. Remind yourself of your abilities and past successes.


Even if programming isn’t your strong suit, you can still carve out a successful freelance career in the tech industry. Remember, freelancing is about more than just one skill—it’s about adaptability, continuous learning, and utilizing your unique strengths. Acknowledge your starting point, keep learning, and don’t let the fear of not being good enough hold you back. Your freelancing journey might just lead you to a rewarding and successful career.