According to the future of jobs report, a web developer is set to be one of the most sought after jobs by the year 2020. The vast increase in front line technology has left companies around the world vigilant of up and coming web developers and designers.
And you’re here because you want to know how to become a successful freelance web developer, right?
First of all, if you’ve heard that freelancing is easy – you’re in for a shock! It takes a lot of time and hard graft before you’re in the position to approach clients and offer your services.
You’ll need to be extremely organized and build a stand-out portfolio among many other things including these.
1) Find Your Niche
This first tip applies to any freelancer, whether you’re a copywriter, photographer, or web developer – it’s important that you find your niche. Of course, there’s no harm in being able to do a little bit of everything, but your value will be higher if you’re an expert in a chosen subject.
This will also make it easier to market yourself. For example, saying you’re a desktop and mobile developer is far more appealing to a client than saying you’re a developer that ‘does a bit of everything’.
As a freelancer, it’s important to focus on the skills that you do best or enjoy the most. After all, if you can’t motivate yourself to work, how are you going to sell your skills to potential clients. Furthermore, do your research into what’s hot on the market and in demand.
2) Create a Stand-out Portfolio
So, you’ve got your niche, now it’s time to build a smashing portfolio website. Essentially, your portfolio is what’s going to impress your potential clients, so it needs to fully represent your creative prowess.
Remember, when creating your portfolio, make sure it relates to your chosen niche. More often than not, having lots of individual samples can be off-putting for clients.
The main focus of your portfolio should be your work samples or recent projects you’ve worked on. Showcasing your skills and passion for your chosen niche is what’s going to impress people. Adding your CV and any references to previous work will boost your chances of becoming a successful freelance web developer.
3) Build a Unique Brand
Building a brand isn’t about having a fancy logo or a flash business card, it’s a lot more personal than that. Actually, your brand is how your target audience perceives you. Therefore, it’s important for you to connect with people and have a level of consistency in what you say or do.
To make an impression on what’s already a crowded market, it’s important that you showcase your service and persona as a complete package – something that clients will instantly attach themselves too.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are the ultimate social media platforms for showcasing and marketing your brand. Maintaining a foothold in the web development industry can be tricky, however, the more you promote your business the better chance you have of acquiring clients.
Studies show that 92% of recruiters use social media to find high-quality candidates, which shows the importance of being active online.
4) Network With Other Freelancers
Forming relationships with other freelancers on platforms such as LinkedIn will help your brand get recognized. As a freelancer, networking is something you should aim to do on a daily basis. It’s important not to see other web developers as competition because collaboration is effective for freelancers.
For example, if a client requires your services but you’re too busy to complete the job, instead of turning them away, refer the job to somebody else. There’s always the chance that they’ll do the same for you in the future.
Through networking, you can also reap the rewards of expansion. If you’re working on a project which has a tight deadline or is too complex, ask another freelancer if they’d mind stepping in to help you. If you do this, just make sure you ask the client first.
5) Stay Up to Date: Reinvent
To stay competitive, your skills and knowledge in web development must be on point. Following influencers on social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram will teach you about the latest trends and design software.
No matter how busy you are or how much money you’re earning, it’s important that you set aside some time to learn about the latest technologies and tools. Showing your clients that your current and knowledgeable in the latest products will express your passion for the job.
It sounds obvious, I know, but it’s something that often gets overlooked.
In addition to that, reinvention can be vital for staying in demand. Every now and then, you’ll come across a client that is looking for fresh ideas. Therefore, it’s important that you treat every project as a unique project, and redefine your thought process. Experimenting with new ideas and tools is a great way to stand out from a very crowded market.
Top web developer blogs you should follow:
All successful web developers are aware of new technologies and techniques. Reading and following web development blogs makes it much easier to educate yourself on the hottest topics and trends.
How and Where To Find Freelancing Projects
Being a freelancer in any profession isn’t easy, in fact – it’s extremely hard work!
However, the rewards of being a freelancer outweigh the amount of hard work a million times over. Creating a brand that you’re passionate about and managing your own workload are just some of the plus points to being a freelancer. Oh, and let’s not forget that you can work from home too.
But before you throw yourself in at the deep end, do your research about what’s current and in demand. This will help you to stand out, attract clients, and become a successful web developer or designer. Freelance websites such as Upwork, PeoplePerHour, and Freelancer have thousands of web projects for a wide range of skill levels and types.