Fourth year of freelancing/independent development as a programmer - what to do/income/lessons learned


The growth and change of freelancers: a year's review and outlook

Hello everyone, my name is Zhang Xuan. In the blink of an eye, I have been working as a freelancer for four years. During this year, I experienced a lot of growth and changes, and gained many new insights and experiences. Today, I want to share with you my journey over the past year.

1. What did I do?

First, let me review my main sources of income this year. The first one is still a project developed independently by me - simple resume ( After a year of development, it gradually turned from an experimental project into a part of my income, which I was very surprised and gratified.

The second source of income is MOOC instructors. During this year, I upgraded an old course on and produced a new course. Although the computer industry faces some challenges, MOOC still brings me a stable income.

The third source of income is running a personal brand. This year, I actively shared my experience and insights on different platforms. The number of fans has grown rapidly and the traffic is also very impressive.

The last source of income is advertising. Due to the increase in traffic, I began to receive some advertising cooperation, which was also a new attempt and source of income.

2. The popularity and value of freelancing

Before I go into detail about these sources of income, I would like to make two digressions. The first is the popularity of freelancing. In 2023, there will be a strong economic downturn, especially in the computer industry, where layoffs are common. Therefore, the topic of freelancing and independent development is gaining more and more attention. But I want to emphasize that it is not easy to earn income from sources other than work. Choosing a freelance career requires careful consideration to see if you meet some basic requirements.

The second topic is the value of freedom. Many people think that the greatest value of freelancing is making money, but I think the more important thing is the freedom itself. Freelancing allows us to embrace freedom, suspend work at any time, and enjoy off-peak travel. In a sense, freedom is also a precious wealth.

3. Development of specific income sources

Next, let’s talk in detail about the development of these four sources of income for me this year. The first is a simple resume ( After a year of hard work, its number of users has reached 6,500 registered users, and the payment ratio is as high as 8.5%. This is a very high ratio and has resulted in many lifelong users. Income is also gradually rising in a spiral, and there is still a lot of room for development in the future.

Second is personal brand traffic and advertising. During this year, I actively built my personal brand on different platforms, and my traffic grew rapidly. This traffic not only brought me traffic diversion effect, but also gave me the opportunity to receive advertising cooperation. But it should be noted that accepting advertising does not mean focusing on making products. We need to start thinking about how to build a personal brand before the product is born.

Finally, there is the income of MOOC lecturers. Although the time invested in MOOCs has decreased this year, it still brings me a stable income. It also made me realize that I need to dynamically adjust my people strategy based on the current situation.

4. Summary and Outlook

Looking back on the past year, I deeply feel the growth and gains. Freelancing gives me the opportunity to try different things and expand my horizons and experiences. Looking to the future, I will continue to work hard to improve my capabilities and influence and bring valuable content and services to more people. At the same time, I also hope to help more people understand the true face and challenges of freelancing and provide them with useful references and suggestions.

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