How Susanne Peng Built Her Dream Life Through Freelancing

By Susanne Peng

We’re continuing to share a different story every few weeks of how a past student has been able to significantly grow their freelance business by applying the concepts they learned from Double Your Freelancing (check out the last one we did with Elliott Davidson). 

If you feel your story would be a good fit, tells us why by emailing

Hi! Tell us a little about who you are and what you do for fun!

Hi! I’m a designer turned software developer with experience across design, front-end through to back-end (throw in a little app development too!).
My primary focus is on creating practical solutions for small to medium-sized businesses, located anywhere on earth, that want to increase their revenue and efficiency in an increasingly connected world. Having worked with both startups and enterprises, I’ve always been fascinated by how businesses operate and what makes them tick. A common theme has always underpinned the work I’ve done, and it’s the drive to create — I just love to see something through from idea to reality.
Today I’m location-independent and use it to my advantage to see and try new things. I love being immersed in new languages, places, and cultures, and going out for a new foodie experience gets me way more excited than is probably good for me!

What prompted you to start freelancing?

I’d always done a few things here and there on word of mouth but never considered freelancing as a serious business until I secured a rather large project (and mostly by accident!). It got the gears turning, so to speak!
What really appealed to me was the freedom to mold my work to fit with my lifestyle. Suddenly life opens up with so many possibilities and you have the flexibility and privilege of choosing how to live your day. There are the increased responsibility and the work and pressure that comes with all that, but it’s satisfying to know that I’m building something of my own and that there’s no limit to how far you can take it if you want to.

What has been your greatest success so far?

Initially, I was interested just in the content that DYF had to offer, as what Brennan had written on his public blog posts really resonated with me. What I did not expect to find however was such a genuinely kind and helpful community of like-minded people.
I’ve only been involved for a few months, and already some good discussions and bits of advice have saved and earned me thousands of dollars. What DYF offers as a whole has really allowed me to reframe in my mind the potential in freelancing, and to approach my business with confidence.

What have you changed about your process as a result of the course or in recent months?

To begin with, I did not really even have much of a process, so in a way, you could say that I changed everything! Some specific things I did:
  • Stop focusing on what I assumed the client wanted (or even that the client knew what they wanted), and start focusing on discovery.
  • Define a lead funnel through to on-boarding to cut down on back-and-forth, time-wasting emails that don’t really move things forward.
  • Understand that what I’m offering is a means to an end — the client doesn’t really want to buy just a website or app. What is my client’s underlying motivator? What will be our metrics for success? I’m now focusing all of my interactions around these insights and qualifying projects upfront so that I know that I’ll be able to provide real value to the client and that we’ll be a good fit!

Is there anything that’s missing? Anything you’d like to see in future versions of the course or from the site in general?

I’m very happy with what DYF has offered so far and I suspect I still will be as my business evolves. Ask me again in a year or two!

What’s next for you and your business?

I’d really love to ramp up the number of clients I’m taking on and figure out a way to fit them into my schedule! Slowly I’d like to build up my own little dream-team, where we spend our time making cool things and supporting other small and medium-sized businesses in doing what they do best.
I’ve also been interested for a while now in working with non-profits and other organizations that give back to society. I haven’t yet figured out exactly what that would look like, but seeing as I’m at my most useful in the realm of design and development I’m very eager to get involved in the most practical way I can.