Everybody's trying to make a little money on the side. That's why freelancing is so popular for web developers. It gives you a chance to work on some quick little projects to make a few hundred bucks and to practice your skills. You've probably even heard how the gig economy is changing the way we all work.
Luckily for you, web developers are in such high demand that there aren't enough people to fill the need. There aren't a lot of businesses around that don't want a website in some shape or form and that's where you come in.
Here are a few things you can do to become a successful freelancing web developer:
Get on the freelancing websites
- This one is of the most obvious things to do especially if you're new to web development or freelancing. Start on one of these sites: Fiverr, UpWork, or PeoplePerHour. These are the most popular sites for freelancers so I'm going to be upfront with you.
- The odds of you winning a project on these sites is low. There are thousands of other developers with better reviews, more experience with pitching to clients, and expansive portfolios. That's honestly the reason you should sign up.
- Looking at more experienced developers' work is the best way to get up to speed as quickly as you can. This will also give you a chance to learn how to write good pitches, what kind of projects to expect, and how much you can realistically expect to make.
Google small businesses in your area
- Here's a super secret. When you are trying to build up clientele as a freelancer, nothing is better or easier than pitching to local businesses. You can look up their current website and call them to suggest changes that can make their site attract more customers. If you don't find a website at all you can potentially convince them to let you build them a site.
- As an upcoming freelancer and web developer the best skill you can learn is sales. It doesn't matter if you want to freelance or work for a company, you need to know how to show people that you are the best person for them. So take the practice you had online and start using it in real life.
- This is where I had the most success as a freelancer. You'd be surprised how many people around you want websites and wouldn't mind paying you to make it. Plus, when you build relationships in your city it can lead to more customers just because people talk.
Always keep an updated portfolio ready
- It doesn't matter if you've ever had a client or not. If you are trying to make money as a freelancer you need a portfolio that you maintain. This is how you'll show people you can do what they need. Having a GitHub account with some of your code out there is a good idea too, but it's not something you should stress over.
- If you haven't had a client before you can use any projects you've made. You can also use this as a chance to learn about web design and develop your own designs. Being able to both design and develop a website well will put you in an incredible position as a freelancer.
- On the other hand, if all of your work has been with proprietary code (stuff you can't show anyone else) then your portfolio needs to at least have screenshots of the sites. In this case you should also have at least one person you can use as a reference to prove that someone was satisfied with your work.
Those are some of the ways I've had success as a freelancer. I have to admit that it wasn't for me though. Once you build up enough clients, it's fairly consistent work. I just honestly preferred to have someone else do the talking to the clients and I just do the code. It was a great experience and it's nice to know that you have another way to bring in money if something happens with your job.
Hopefully this helps push you in the right direction! Do you have any tips or suggestions for people starting out in freelancing? Tell me about them in the comments. I'm sure there are some crazy stories out there.
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