Welcome to 2024. I am having quite a good time.
In this short post I would like to describe how the German freelance IT market works and how to go straight from 0 to 300k in annual revenues as a solopreneur.
It's quite easy. The market has three major players:
- the end customer
- recruiting agencies
You are talent. You know how to solve technical problems in a certain niche.
Recruiting agencies do the tougher part of sales - they extract budgets from end customers, negotiate rates, and obviously their own cut. End customers need strong talent to get shit done (even now, when the market is down - they still need people, maybe even moreso since they cannot justify hiring fulltime positions right now).
The cool thing is - recruiting agencies are on your side. They WANT to place you - you are the revenue source.
Recruiting agencies publish projects on platforms such as freelancermap.de (there are many platforms - I feel freelancermap is the state of the art) or via distribution lists (email).
YOUR goal is now to pitch yourself on these projects. This is where it gets interesting.
Especially in these rather tough times in terms of the market, I have found the following trifecta to increase chances.
1/ Speed. Projects get published and instantly get 20-100 pitches. Most of them are trash. You ought to be at the top of the pile.
2/ Price. Usually does not matter, but it does now - be as cheap as you can be. We will get to this later.
3/ CV. Make sure all keywords can be found in your CV. The main ask in the project description should be one of your main skills you can provide - and this should show in your CV.
(bonus: being able to give the recruiter the confidence that they will not burn their standing if they pitch you to the end customer)
Optimizing these three is guaranteed to make recruiters fawn over you. Now, how do you get to 300k in revenues? The concept is easy - acquire multiple projects, hire cheap developers to work for you, and delegate work. The theoretical calculation goes like this: Let's assume you are working 18 days a month and your price is 70 EUR / h. Having three projects for a full year leads to:
70 * 8 * 18 * 12 = 120.960 EUR
With three projects you end up with 362.880 EUR revenue.
Executing this is obviously hard, but it is definitely possible for strong people. More on this some other time.