I started looking for a freelance job about two years ago but it took me a year to get my first job. There are a lot freelancers competing for low-priced jobs which mostly are common homework exercises, and chances of being awarded such job are very low. However if you are knowledgeable in some field such as image processing, WinAPI, driver programming, etc you have much better chances to get a job. Simply being familiar with a programming language is not enough. You must find your niche.
I've been trying to get jobs on freelancer.com for about two years and I've had one so far. It's really competitive. I've had pretty much the same experience as Null although by nature I'm not the "niche type". I'm the kind of person who dabbles in everything.
I've just bid on 7 different projects, hopefully I'll get one this time.
I never used freelance sites to get jobs, but technically I'm a kind of a freelancer, aka independent developer running my own business. The best what always worked for me was being recommended by friends or former coworkers. There are quite a lot of remote, but very well paid jobs out there, both in big companies and startups. I guess even Facebook has some positions of this type.
Yeah, same here as Null and chrisname. If you're going to use sites like freelancer.com, I think your best chance is to bid on highly specific, low traffic projects, otherwise the market in those sites can be best described as an unstable equilibrium: the people who got there first have more funds to pay for perks that make them appear higher in bidding lists, which makes them more likely to get awarded bids, which gives them more funds. It's BS. Try standing out by lying prone in a sea of jerks holding flares while standing on stilts.
I only won a bid by basically dumb luck. Although it was a good gig. Actually, working on this: http://www.xenonauts.com/. Getting paid was damn near impossible for me because my government is dumb, and because PayPal is a POS. You should be wary of the mechanisms involved in receiving money from abroad.
I have down a few freelance jobs but only a few of them have been paid jobs. I figured the best way to start getting jobs and clients would be to offer my services for free to build up a reference base and to generate word of mouth advertising.
Personally I just went around to coworkers, friends, and friends of friends and asked if they needed any technical services. First one I got was setting up a central home server for a friends coworker. He then referred me to a friend of his that was looking to do the same thing. And so on. Some of them have been just system admin stuff like setting up servers, configuring networks, ect and a few have been programming "jobs".
I just got a job (A paid one thank god ;p) where I will be setting up a network for a small business (The first guy I did a central home server for referred me again) and if all goes well with that they also want to contract me for a few simple programs they could use.
Basically what I am trying to point out is that word of mouth is a powerful thing and is probably one of the best ways to break into the business in my opinion. You will probably have to do a few jobs for free in the beginning but in my opinion it is worth it.
Unbelievably so. The computer shop I used to work at refused to repair iPods, iPhones, and i-devices alike because there was too much risk and time involved for a shop to make money. I started doing them on the side (mostly screen replacements) and profited about $50/device. First was a friend of my Dads. The next few were people he referred, quite soon with no advertising at all I had people I've never met with no idea their connection to my little network showing up (and a few calling me, somehow my number got out, that was fun to deal with) and asking me to do jobs. I made a fucking killing too. Took me about an hour to replace a screen and made $50 off of it. Once I did four in one day, which was pretty incredible. Probably made about $1500 of untaxed money the government doesn't know about in that venture. Stopped doing it when I moved out for uni.
But yeah word of mouth is real powerful.
I recently picked up a freelance C++ tutoring gig, which has been pretty nice. Kinda fell into that situation by luck.
alot of them have wanted Qt programs
Qt is an incredibly powerful GUI framework. It's huge, though, which can be a good or a bad thing. I got pretty familiar with Qt a while ago and highly recommend checking it out. It's been a while since I played around with it though. Iirc there's some awesome tutorials on the internet for getting started.