As a freelance web developer, you can earn more than you would in a full-time job.
You also have the freedom to be your own boss and enjoy flexible work times and many more perks.
But it’s a bad idea to quit your job and strike out on your own if you don’t yet have a stable client base.
And to build that client list, you first need to get noticed.
The following are 7 tips that will help you get some attention as a freelance web developer, grab a few projects and begin to build your reputation.
One thing a client looks for in a potential freelancer is whether you’ll be able to deliver. If you’re new to freelancing, there’s a 90% chance you’ll lose out on projects to a more experienced freelance web or mobile developer. After all, clients are spending a lot of money on their projects, and they want every penny to count.
Occasionally, though, a prospective client doesn’t just choose the most experienced freelancer, but instead spends the time to review the profiles of other freelancers who offered to work at a lower rate.
Now you have a chance to convince the client that you are worth a try.
To make a great impression with the client, you need to have a convincing portfolio.
By portfolio, I don’t mean one with a lot of showy graphics and design. Good portfolios use a simple design and show off the best work you have done. If you have worked on some big projects at your daily job, put up some screen shots and a description of the project.
Don’t brag too much–just be clear and to the point.
The tips that follow will include some additional items that you can include in your portfolio.
Beginning freelancers face a tough dilemma: To get projects, you need to have a reputation based on projects you’ve already completed. But since you’re starting from zero, you have no projects and no reputation.
So how do you start to build your reputation?
When you find yourself in this position, your main objective should be building your reputation, rather than getting paid. This will help you gain some experience, make some new contacts and begin to build your portfolio.
But how do you grab a “charity project”? Here are some effective approaches:
Recommendations play a major role in getting business. You’re more likely to hire a mechanic recommended by a friend than one you saw in a newspaper advertisement.
Testimonials can give your reputation as a freelancer a major boost. After you complete a project, make it a point to get a testimonial from your client.
When you’re adding testimonials to your portfolio, be sure to include the client’s name and company. It makes a difference, especially if prospective clients have heard of the clients or companies you list.
All testimonials are not equal. Detailed, results-focused testimonials leave a lasting impression and work better than vague praise.
When you contact clients for testimonials, ask them for feedback based on numbers. Or at least ask them to be more specific in their feedback.
Here’s an example of a testimonial that’s overly vague:
“Working with XYZ was a great experience.”
And here’s one that’s more concrete:
“XYX helped to increase our profit margin by 30% this quarter. “
Testimonials can be crucial for freelancers. So don’t forget to include testimonials received from charity projects in your portfolio.
The best way to gain authority in your field is through writing.
I didn’t know it when I started out, but writing articles in Quora.com would later help me bag a number of freelance projects. Writing articles/tutorials for a well known website like LoudProgrammer can give you a lot of exposure.
Once you’ve published some articles, include links to the best ones in your online portfolio.
Marketing plays an important role when it comes to landing projects. You need to make yourself known in places where you are likely to find potential clients.
You can meet clients both online and offline, and you should have a strategy for both.
When meeting a potential client in person, maintain a casual and friendly tone. A potential client is more likely to hire you if you can connect with him or her personally, so avoid being overly formal.
If the person doesn’t seem interested in working with you right now, transition the conversation into a personal chat. Get to know them a bit and build a good, friendly relationship. Be sure to follow up with the prospect later and keep him in the loop, in case he requires your expertise in future.
Blogging is one tool that allows you to establish a presence online as an experienced developer. Blog about your area of expertise and show off your best work samples.
You can also take part in online discussions related to your area of expertise. Interact and engage with people by answering questions on forums and sites like StackOverflow.
Social connection can have a drastic impact on your career growth. The more well connected you are, the more likely you are to get projects.
But how can you get better connected?
While social networking sites can be a great way to interact with people and to make new connections, I would suggest that you start the old fashioned way. Having a leisure chat with someone over a cup of coffee helps parties understand the other better, and it can help you leave a lasting impression.
Attending technical meetups is another excellent way to interact with people and promote yourself. Meetups give you a chance to share your knowledge as well as learn new things from fellow attendees.
While many potential clients don’t have a software development background, others do, and these clients prefer freelancers with quality experience. Working on an open source project is an excellent way to establish your credibility with clients like these.
Contributing to open source projects gives you an advantage over other freelancers. And it’s not difficult to do, although it can be confusing when you’re getting started.
Here are a few pointers:
Be sure to mention your open source achievements in your portfolio!
To succeed as a freelancer, you need an expertise, a good portfolio and a strong network. Fortunately, you can get started without these assets and build them up over time.
As you go, always look for ways to turn your successes into lasting advantages that will help you get more business in the future.
Have you gone freelance? Share your best tips in the comments!
Geoffrey is an experienced software developer and open source evangelist. When not coding he writes and talks about current technology trends, small business tips and developer productivity hacks. He is no coffee addict.
7 Reasons You Can’t Get A Junior Web Developer Job
Interview with Rob Percival – How To Land Your First Junior Developer Job
5 Tips to Speed up your Web Server Response Time
Top Courses on Udemy to Sharpen Your Software Testing Skills in 2017
How To Ask For A Recommendation From Your Past Client
7 Tips For Contributing To Open Source Projects On Github For Beginners