Freelancing in the world of coding has many perks. For example, it gives you the freedom to work on your own terms and offers flexibility and the chance to grow personally and professionally. But being your own boss also comes with pressures and stress that might leave you feeling isolated.
It doesn’t matter if you’re already experienced in freelancing or just starting on your journey in independent development – we’ll show you just how amazing having a mentor can be for your freelancing adventure.
- Reasons to have a coding mentor
- Coding mentorship: Trends and insights
- What does a coding mentor do?
- How to find a coding mentor
- Cost of a coding mentor
- Types of coding mentor
5 reasons to have a coding mentor
Coding mentors can alleviate many of the stresses and fears that come with freelancing.
Here are the 5 commonly-identified reasons why having a mentor is so critical to freelancing success.
1. You learn from others’ mistakes
Failure can teach you just as much as success. One of the reasons people become mentors is because they’ve been there, done that. They’ve made mistakes and learned from them. So, as well as advising you on how to succeed, they can help you avoid making the same mistakes that they – and thousands of other freelance coders – have made in the past.
2. You can get a second opinion
A second opinion from a seasoned mentor provides clarity and builds confidence. Mentors are able to offer objective viewpoints that can really eliminate some of the doubt that you feel when you first start out as a freelancer.
3. They help you build confidence
Mentors don’t just tell you what you’re doing wrong – they tell you what you’re doing right. Feeling sure that you’re on the right track can propel you forwards in your career.
4. They keep you accountable
Freelancing requires a lot of self-motivation, something that doesn’t always come naturally in the beginning. Coding mentors check up on you regularly, keeping you driven and focused.
5. You can benefit from the mentor’s network
The saying “it’s not what you know, but who you know” has never rang more true for freelancers. Coding mentors can introduce you to their wide circle of contacts, helping you to get your foot in the door.
Coding mentorship: Trends and insights
As more tech professionals leave their full-time employment to embrace the freedom of freelancing, coding mentorship is becoming more commonplace. As a result, we’re beginning to see trends emerge that are maximizing the value of coding mentorships.
Technical learning and development
Mentors and mentees alike are using coding mentorship to accelerate their technical skills.
The development of soft skills
But soft skills continue to matter. The tech industry’s growing recognition of the importance of soft skills has led to a rising demand for creativity, collaboration, and adaptability. Mentors and mentees can use mentoring relationships to diversify their skills beyond just the technical. And for those new to freelancing, mentorships provide the communication skills that are essential for building long-lasting relationships with clients.
The rise of mentorship platforms and remote mentorship
Freelance coding mentorship has become so desired that there are now online platforms dedicated to connecting freelance developers with high-quality mentors. Want to be mentored by a Python expert or SQL professional but can’t find one in your area? Online platforms enable you to find a mentor with your desired skill set and connect with them one-on-one via video or online chat.
Popular platforms include:
- Get Merit
- Coding Coach
10 ways a coding mentor can help
In the realm of freelance coding, a mentor plays a crucial role as your guide. They deeply understand the factors that lead to success in the coding freelance world. Using their technical know-how and industry smarts, mentors dish out personalized advice that’s all about your freelance journey.
#1 Skill enhancement
Think of a mentor as your personal coding coach. If you’re struggling with certain technical skills or want to learn new programming languages, frameworks, or tools, your mentor steps in to guide you.
And when you hit those tougher challenges, they’ve got your back with smart strategies to tackle them.
#2 Code reviews
Imagine your code getting a friendly review from a mentor – it’s like having a coding buddy who’s got your back.
Your coding mentor will give you helpful advice that lets you write neater, faster, and easier-to-manage code. Clean and well-organized code becomes crucial when you’re working independently, as it ensures smoother progress and a higher-quality end product.
#3 Career guidance
If you’re struggling to know which direction to take your freelancing work in, a mentor steps in as a supportive career advisor.
They can tell you which technologies to pay attention to, suggest the kind of projects that suit you, and even teach you how to best show off your skills as a freelancer and market yourself.
When you come across tough technical problems, a mentor is like a guide by your side.
Imagine you’re working on a freelance project and you encounter a challenging coding problem that you’re not sure how to solve. You use a call from computer application to get in touch with your mentor. Instead of feeling overwhelmed trying to tackle a tricky solution on your own, they can help you out with new ideas and different ways of looking at the problem.
#5 Networking opportunities
Similar to how a mentor can provide guidance and support, they can also introduce you to their circle of industry contacts.
Through your mentor’s network, you get the chance to connect with potential clients who are seeking your skills, collaborators who can help you on projects, and other professionals who are on the same wavelength as you.
#6 Time management
Freelancers often struggle with time management and setting priorities. When you’re self-employed you don’t have the usual boundaries of working 9-5 and it can be easy to try and fit too much into your day and feel overwhelmed, even risking burn-out.
Your mentor can use their own experience to show you how to build a schedule that actually works and keep those overwhelming feelings at bay.
#7 Soft skills development
While becoming a coding whiz is vital, freelance developers need to shine in more than just programming. Excelling in communication, negotiation, and client management is equally important for a well-rounded freelance career.
A mentor who really knows their stuff can help you learn these people skills. For instance, they might be able to show you how to break down complex coding topics so they’re easily understandable on web browser calls or video conferencing. This helps you to manage expectations and build strong relationships with your clients.
#8 Code refactoring techniques
A mentor can show you a trick called “refactoring”. Think of it as a digital tidying-up process for your code – similar to organizing your workspace for better productivity.
Let’s say you’re working on a big project for a client. As this project gets more complex, you’ll likely have to revisit and update your earlier code. This is when the skill of “refactoring” becomes super useful.
Just like tidying up your workspace boosts efficiency, refactoring polishes your codebase for smoother development.
#9 Project guidance
As you begin to handle more projects, the art of juggling and deciding which ones come first can get tricky. But hey, that’s where your mentor comes in. From picking projects to breaking them into doable steps, a mentor can guide you through project management, planning, and getting things done.
A bit of planning from the get-go not only makes your clients happy by delivering work on time but also saves you from making unnecessary changes or updates when you’ve veered off course from the project plan.
As an independent worker, you might find yourself without the structure of a manager to keep you focused on success. This can lead to drifting from your path or losing sight of your initial goals.
Having regular chats and catch-ups with your mentor can make sure you’re moving forward and getting past any obstacles that come your way.
How to connect with a freelance coding mentor
If you’re eager to connect with a coding mentor, where do you begin? Coding mentors for freelance developers can be discovered via both online and offline channels.
• Online Communities
You can find lots of potential mentors on online communities dedicated to connecting freelancers. On Freelancer Map, for example, you can search for mentors in your niche. Or, you can even find an industry expert who specializes in your field and reach out to them to see if they’d be interested in mentoring you.
• Social Media
Platforms like LinkedIn are bursting with freelance mentors looking for work, so that’s an obvious go-to. But you can also connect with industry experts and reach out to them to see if they’d be interested in a mentoring opportunity. Other places to look include YouTube, Facebook, and even podcasts and blogs.
You can unlock both mentoring opportunities by attending workshops or conferences related to your profession that are taking place in your vicinity. Even if you don’t meet a mentor at these events, the people who go on to become part of your personal network may know someone who might be a good fit.
You could even connect with other freelancers in your industry and simply ask if they happen to know someone who’d be willing to chat about your business objectives.
• Your current workplace
If you’re freelancing as a side-hustle or are planning to leave employment to freelance in the near future, why not ask around your current workplace? One of your colleagues might just have a contact who is offering what you need.
• Mentorship programs
You can find mentorship programs and platforms online with a quick Google search. We mentioned some of the most popular ones earlier – Code Mentor, Get Merit, and Coding Coach. But there are plenty of others, too.
Remember, you’re not limited to having just one mentor. Perhaps you can find one coding mentor who excels in networking and client acquisition, while another possesses excellent website-building skills. Embrace the opportunity to learn from everyone you come across and actively seek a diverse array of mentors with different expertise.
How much does a coding mentor cost?
Globally, the average hourly rate of a freelance coding mentor is $91. If you’re in Europe, you can expect to pay a little bit more – around $102, according to freelancermap’s freelance index. In Germany, a freelance coding mentor receive around $107 per hour.
However, this is likely going to vary depending on what type of mentorship you want.
Average hourly rates of a freelance coding mentor
Types of coding mentoring available
There are various types of mentoring that you’ll want to leverage at different points in your freelance career. Here are the main ones to know.
Mentors to help you launch your freelance career
Starting your freelance career can be a scary step to take – especially if you’re doing it alone. A mentor can guide you through the initial stages of becoming a freelancer. Activities like getting set up on freelancer websites, creating an online portfolio, and marketing your services using SEO are all things that a mentor can help you with.
To find the perfect mentor to help you launch your freelance career, look for a mentor in your industry niche who has several years of freelancing under their belt.
Want to take the leap and start your freelance career?
Check out our 👉 Guide to become a freelancer
Mentors to help you leverage your skills
Once you’ve had some freelancing experience, a mentor who can help you thrive in your current field is an invaluable asset. They can advise you on how to maximize the value of your current skills, teaching you the tips, tricks, and best practices you need to be more efficient, resourceful, and successful.
When you’re ready, you might even find a mentor who can help you upskill your current abilities to unlock new opportunities. Maybe you want to dabble in design or become a full-stack developer? Whatever the case, a mentor can provide you with the resources to help you get there.
Mentors to help you grow
If you’re at the point of wanting to grow your freelance business, you can enlist the help of a growth mentor. Mentors can advise you on the practicalities of, for instance, expanding your client base, taking on projects in a different field, or even hiring a freelance assistant or accountant.
Mentors to help you launch a business
Transitioning from a freelancer into a business owner is a huge, daunting step. But with a mentor to advise you, it’s a lot less scary!
There’s a lot of things to think about when starting a business. Setting up your corporation, hiring new employees, handling taxes, sourcing investors, creating a brand identity, devising a marketing strategy, utilizing new technologies – the list goes on. Find a mentor in your industry niche who successfully transformed their sole freelancing career into a fully-fledged business, as they can help you navigate all the twists and turns.
Make the most of your freelance career with a coding mentor
As a freelance developer, having a mentor is like having a reliable, committed, and friendly guide. From improving your coding skills to getting better at talking with clients, a coding mentor is there to show you the way to freelancing success.
With a mentor by your side, your freelance coding path becomes clearer, allowing you to learn, grow, and succeed with confidence.