I wish I could work freelance. Have you ever heard yourself saying that? Many people dream of being able to go freelance, but the uncertainty of it scares them into never trying. The truth is that there is uncertainty in every role, regardless of whether you are employed or self-employed. Working freelance does often mean your income will fluctuate from month to month, but if you work hard enough, this shouldn’t be enough to stop you. The key to succeeding as a freelance dev is to know how to market yourself, bring in clients and to believe in your ability.
Know Your Target Market
When moving into freelance work you will want to know the kind of clients you wish to work for. Knowing exactly who you want to target will make it much easier to put together a marketing strategy. Think of the industries you would like to work in and have a passion for and then consider how you would be best reaching out to them? Should you go to their industry networking events? Should you advertise yourself on Google? Having your target audience in mind will be a great place to start out when marketing your services as a freelance dev.
Put Together a Sleek Website
Working as a freelance dev and not having your own website is like being a farmer without a farm. Use your website to showcase your skills; also, don’t be shy in boasting about your achievements and qualifications. Make sure your site is easy to find on search engines and easy to navigate once on it. Include all your contact details and pricing so that any potential business doesn’t pass you by.
Get Involved in Open Source
A great way to build a reputation and gain more experience is to contribute to open source projects. There are many open source projects out there for you to choose from which can help you build strong connections in the dev community which may lead to new opportunities.
Follow Up Previous Clients
After completing any project, it can be incredibly helpful to follow up with the client and ask for a review as well as a referral if they know anyone who is also in need of a dev.
When working as a freelancer, it’s important to be bold – if you don’t ask you won’t get. Think of specific clients you would like to work for and the kind of work you would like to do for them; if you can see a way you can improve their site and build an added feature you think they could really benefit from, why not reach out to suggest it to them?
Collect Contact Details and Create an Email List
The majority of clients will not reach out to you on their first encounter with you as a freelancer. There’s a rule, the ‘Rule of Seven’, in the industry that businesses and individuals will need to come across you roughly 7 times before deciding that they want to contact you and try your services. It’s for this reason that collecting emails and contact details early on is a great idea. You can keep interested contacts up-to-date with who you’re working for, what you’ve achieved and offer deals to incentivise people to get in touch. It’s important to keep in mind that with new EU GDPR rules you will make sure everyone has consented to you keeping in touch with them.