Cracking the Code: My Journey to Landing My First Freelance Client


Hi, I am Saud Chougle, Software Developer from India. In this blog, I am thrilled to share my personal story of how I secured my very first freelance client and the process I undertook to successfully complete the project.


I wanted to do freelance as a side hustle. I have been applying on lots of freelance sites,, upworks etc. but never got a reply back. then I started researching how to get the first client. I read book and articles. but couldn't find but I kept looking for an opportunity.

Fast forward to the story. I was looking for a used Macbook I found a reseller I contact them and visited and finally bought Macbook at a good price. As I was leaving their shop, I told them I "Am a software engineer and I build websites and applications. Please let me know if you need a website or an application". They ask me for the budgets and estimation. I went home and sent the estimation. but it didn't work. it seems they were not interested. they didn't reply.

Fast forwarding 8 months, I still couldn't find any client. I contacted 4-6 businesses. offered my service but no response from them. some said we had already given to the agency. at the same time, I was applying on Upwork. then I come across the same company(MacFreaks) I bought the Macbook. they still don't have website. But this time I thought let's do some basic prototypes and send them to see if they want a website. I submitted the prototype with a pitch because I don't want to regret I didn't even tried. this time they responded, we are interested and wanted the website design. they asked me to come to the shop and discuss further.

I went there. listen to their problems and what they want. they said, "When customers call for product details. they always request a website where they can see the product details". they wanted a basic website and section to showcase their product with specifications. I understood the problem and came up with the solution. but I also knew this before meeting what could be the problem they are facing. so I designed the prototype with addressing the issue. you can see the product section in the prototype. this was the main problem they were facing.

What is the solution?

By looking at their business. they needed a static landing page with testimonials and faqs. and one dynamic part to display the product and its details. and to submit the products we need the admin panel to manage the product listings. also, we need a contact form and its responses should be collected on the admin panel.

The Project Begins

I told them first I'll give you a complete website prototype. then we can proceed further. I design further prototypes we had back-and-forth communication about what to keep and what to remove. and finally, we agreed upon a design.


Now I had to choose how to design. What tech to use? should I go with no-code platform? also i had limited budget. i have to deliver within 4 weeks.

How I chose the Tech?

If i choose No-Code tools then it will be 3-5Days learning curve. then budget issue. on the other hand i have good confidence in building the website from scratch at a pretty fast speed. so i decided to go with Code.

They mentioned in the meeting that they had already given website design to several people, but they hadn't finished and had been delaying. they wanted to give me a chance. also they wanted a pretty fast website. Not WordPress template that looks old and slow to load.

I have to keep all the in mind and to select the tech stack, I choose Nextjs, Tailwindcss And vercel to host the site.

Problems i faced

Static part of websites was pretty straightforward forward i completed it within 2 days. problems i faced on dynamic part how to manage the content. i started r&d on cms. my criteria for cms was its should be free tier(again want to keep cost low as possible), open source and easy to use. so it tried

  1. Contentful

  2. Payloadcms

  3. Vercel, Neon AWS RDS with Appsmith


contentful is good option. but its offering and limitation didn't convince me, i had fear of vendor locking so i didn't chose that.


Payloadcms is open-source customizable and self-hosted cms. i was impressed with customisation. so much that i spent 2 days learning the concepts and building entire macFreaks cms. but at end i didn't go with this option because my budget is not for this. but i'll choose in the next projects if required.

Vercel, Neon AWS RDS with AppSmith

Those who don't know AppSmith. AppSmith is powerfull no-code tool to build internal applications. My plan was to build the UI with appsmith. and connect the postgresDB to store the products and contact form responses.

i had several options for postgresDB. i used vercelDB while developing the dynamic part. but vercelDB has cold-start issue. it takes 5-10 seconds to start. then i search for alternative. i found Neon but it has the same cold-start issue.

After spending almost week on learning concepts and trying out and fixing errors. i finally decided to go with AWS RDS Postgres database they have a free trial for 1 year. i said lets go with this and everything sort-out the cold start issue was resolve. everything completed by 3rd week.

Last week (4th week)

I slotted last week for testing and fixing minor issues and demo. i tested application on several devices and everything was working fine. But at last moment they wanted some design changes. i have to make those changes. same week i recorded the video for admin panel. All done from my side.

Shock :(

AWS was working well for weeks then suddenly generated 17$ bill. i was shocked!!!, how could this be possible? my application is small. nobody is using that much, then i reported to AWS support team. it was later found that it was glitch in their system and they fixed it. for while i had to stop the database. meanwhile, i was searching for an alternate. i was thinking of static cms, and adding caching layer over AWS.

That's how i finished the project within 4weeks.

My advice to someone looking for their first freelance client.

Its challenging to find first client on an online platform without a project. I would suggest looking for a local client or someone you did business. also don't just randomly message. understand whats their problem and how can you solve it. then submit your proposal. this is a time-consuming approach but this worked for me.

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