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Currently, the number of web developers in the US is 23 million. It is an industry that continues to grow and that looks promising.
Although it is an attractive area to work as a freelancer, you should follow certain tips if you want to stand out in the market, get clients and grow your freelance business.
Following these tips is not complicated, but it does require perseverance, patience, and hard work to see the results. In the end, it will all be worth it!
1. Research Potential Clients
The first step is to search for companies that require your services. This is very important to avoid wasting your time with clients who are already working with a web developer.
By giving a look at the web pages of clients you would like to work with, you can tell if they need your services.
In your research, you must determine what the target of your client is. Then prepare a list of questions that you would like to ask them to understand their criteria.
It is also essential that you ask yourself questions about that potential client and answer them by putting yourself in their shoes.
In general, if the website looks outdated, slow, or if it has not been updated in a long time, it is most likely that they are not receiving the services of any web developer.
It is also necessary to look for people working in those companies. That is the way you can establish a connection between you and the business that might be interested in your work.
Recommended course: The Freelancing Guide: The Secret to Strong Client Relationships
Price: $8 Monthly subscription
2. Be Motivated
Self-motivation is influencing your mood. This ability is like a powerful engine that produces your energy to achieve objectives or goals.
When you start working as a web developer, you will surely come across projects that will intimidate you at first, but you are the only one who can give you the necessary courage to face new projects.
To be successful and achieve your goals, you have to be persistent and not give up in front of the obstacles that arise, your effort will be worth it and it will be rewarded.
Although everything related to web development can seem complicated, keep in mind that great developers were in your same position at some point and that beyond having a degree, the most important thing is having the skills and knowledge.
Take courage and decide to start learning everything you need to become a web developer without a degree.
Recommended course: Motivation Mastery: How to Get Motivated Fast
3. Continue Learning
To be a web developer it is not necessary to have a degree but knowledge. Although your portfolio is essential to show how much you know and what you are capable of, having taken courses will also give you extra points to the moment you look for a job.
Clients care about your work experience but also academics, so keeping your learning and taking courses will do a lot of good for your career.
On the other hand, when working in a sector linked to technology, you will know that every day there are new techniques and knowledge that you must refresh.
You can achieve that by taking online courses. On the internet, you can find many online course platforms that teach you about particular topics focused on your work niche.
These types of courses are extremely useful because they allow you to learn flexibly, without having to meet a schedule in an academy.
They use visual resources and many give you a certificate that in the end, you can attach to your CV and thus add credibility to your experience and knowledge.
Recommended course: HTML and CSS Web Development Masterclass – Create your First Website
Price: $8 Monthly subscription
4. Use Job Platforms
Freelance job platforms are of great help for web developers who are looking for their first clients. In these freelance platforms, you will find a great variety of projects to which you can apply and that are suitable for beginning developers.
At first, it may seem a bit tedious to do a job search on these websites, but with patience and effort, it will be worth it.
You should take the time to see how each platform works, what are its peculiarities, how much job availability there is in your area, and thus start applying for job opportunities.
It is likely that when you join one of these platforms, you should start with jobs that pay less than you expect, but accepting them will be necessary for you to start gaining a reputation within that platform.
Having a good reputation will help you land other job opportunities that are better and where you will receive higher pay. To find a job you will have to knock on many doors, in fact applying to 5 or 10 proposals may not give any result.
Every day you must be attentive to opportunities, present yourself to potential clients, and keep in mind that there are never too many.
However, sending proposals to many clients is not everything. You should also make sure that you are applying to jobs within your capabilities.
Pay close attention to details when applying for a job, read the instructions carefully to make sure you meet the requirements, and that you know what the job they are offering you is about.
5. Optimize Your Profile On Freelance Platforms
Sometimes the reason why you do not get clients is in your own profile. It is common to make mistakes about the information you put there, so you should keep in mind that your profile is your presentation, the first impression that potential clients take.
You must optimize it to get the best out of it.
Make sure you specify very well what you work on and what types of projects you are capable of carrying out.
Put a profile photo that looks professional and that represents you, fill in each space of information in your profile to convey confidence and that potential clients can know you well.
6. Get A Portfolio Website
A portfolio of projects is more important in some professions than in others. Web development is one of those professions.
Web developer portfolios not only help show your work as a developer but also give an idea of your own style as a professional and help you better capture the attention of companies.
Only highlight projects related to what you want to do in the future.
For example, if you have dedicated yourself to data analysis but want to work as a full-stack developer, include projects in which you have touched both the user and the server-side.
A portfolio informs about your potential and your capabilities both as a professional and as a person, that is why having a portfolio is so important in an increasingly competitive industry where everything counts.
The more projects (or work samples) you carry out, the more information you can give about yourself and your work.
At first, you should dedicate yourself to making work samples to have something to show, but when you have done more than three jobs you can include them in your entry level web developer portfolio.
You can use WordPress to build yours, which is a popular platform for this purpose. Check the best portfolio websites for web developers and get inspired to create yours.
Recommended course: How to Build an Online Portfolio Website w/WordPress for Designers, Photographers etc
Price: $8 Monthly subscription
7. Contribute To An Open Source Project
Getting involved in an open-source project could bring you several benefits, despite not always representing an immediate economic income.
An open-source project is created by the community and for the community, which means that there is permission to use the source code, design documents, and content in the product.
Getting involved in open source projects on the way to becoming a web developer will strengthen your skills as a web developer, it will give you hands-on experience working in teams.
In addition, it will help you meet and network with other developers and you will have a solid proven experience in the industry to talk about in job interviews.
The range of talent that can get involved in open source projects is very varied, which means that by being part of those projects you will be able to learn more from others, including software developers, experience and visual designers, communication professionals, and more.
Recommended course: Front End Web Development with open source Dojo Toolkit
8. Build Your Personal Network And Reputation As A Developer
To advance as a professional you also need to rely on other people who are going in the same direction as you, so you should try to expand your online presence on platforms where other web developers participate.
This will help you meet other people who work in the same area and also spread your work, which will earn you a reputation among other developers.
It will also increase the chance that you will be discovered by potential clients or that you will be recommended by other web developers.
Belonging to a network will help you keep abreast of important news and events, answer questions about topics, and even get job opportunities.
Twitter and Github are ideal social networks to interact with other people in your niche and start your own networking, but especially GitHub since it is aimed at web developers.
In this directory, you can display projects you are working on and receive feedback from the community, which will help you refine details and become a better professional.
Recommended course: Networking for Business Success
Price: $8 Monthly subscription
9. Do Not Forget To Specialize
Although diversification of knowledge will open many doors for you with clients or employers, specialization will make you indispensable when applying to any job offer that benefits you fully.
The world of web development is wide and if what you want is to enter this world, you will have to choose what to specialize in to be able to become a successful web developer.
Maybe you think that doing a bit of everything is a better idea because that way you could do more projects, but no.
The best thing you can do is to specialize in a certain area, just like all developers do. While they may know about various types of web development, there is one they are experts at.
Choose your path between being a Front-End, Back-End, or Full Stack developer and so you will have more clear what skills you should learn or improve and what jobs to apply to.
Being clear about what you want to do is like having a map with a clear direction of where to go.
An interesting fact is that the more specialized you are, the more likely you are to earn more money.
Besides, specializing in a determined area will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed with information.
There are many things you can learn, but to start you do not need to learn about things that you are not going to put into practice yet or that are still very complex for your level.
When you have decided on what type of web development you want to specialize in, you can open yourself to the rest of the information.
Recommended course: The Complete 2021 Web Development Bootcamp
10. Prepare Your Proposals
When it is time to offer them a proposal, thank them for giving you the opportunity.
However, try to maintain a professional tone, as much as you want to work for them, you do not want to sound too pushy. Remember that it is actually them who need you.
Put together a good proposal that fits their needs and possible budget.
If before talking to them you have already identified what their brand’s style is and you make a proposal taking that into account, they will surely notice your interest and that you are a web developer who is genuinely interested in improving their image and online presence.
You must be creative to stand out, so do not be afraid to offer something to your customer that is a little out of their comfort zone, in fact, many times that is what their brand will need.
Many web developers may offer them a safe and traditional option for their website, but remember that as a web developer you are capable of creating something tangible out of an abstract idea.
Recommended course: Write Winning Proposals For Freelance Job : A Ultimate Guide
11. Promote Your Work Through Social Media
Nowadays, the use of social networks to promote your work and find new clients is key.
The commercial potential of social platforms to help you find and get clients is excellent, whatever the niche you work in, and even more so when it comes to web development.
If you want to find and get new clients, you must be active on social networks; although it does not mean that you must have a profile in all of them.
To find out which social networks are the most convenient to promote yourself, study the style of customer you want to attract and evaluate on which platforms they are.
Once you decide on the social network, create a fabulous and attractive profile that reflects your personality, show your previous work, post interesting material related to web development, and start to build a name and a reputation on these networks.
With perseverance and some patience, you will see how the first customers will begin to arrive.
Also, remember that each social platform has a different style, which means that you must create content suitable for each of them.
For example, Pinterest is an ideal site to show images or infographics of your most good looking work, while on Facebook you could create a page for your company where you promote your services and web development packages, for example.
Recommended course: Powerful Social Media Marketing For Beginners
12. Accumulate Good Testimonials And References
When you are starting to work as a freelancer it is likely that you still do not have many clients in your history to have good references.
But you can always make collaborations or free work for a friend, family member, or foundation and thus obtain honest reviews that help you promote your job.
A good reference from a client is the beginning of achieving another new web project.
Most companies get new contracts because ‘another’ previous client recommended it. That is why you must do your best to have happy customers and to make your work speak for you.
When you finish a project, you can ask the client to refer you to their acquaintances or to those who need a similar service.
Also, send them an email thanking them for the opportunity to take charge of their project and take the opportunity to suggest that they write a comment that will serve you for your new clients.
13. Define Your Ideal Client And Services
Who is your ideal potential customer? Think about it for a few minutes and keep reading.
If your answer is “everyone” you have a big problem, because this fact indicates that you do not know who you want to sell, or rather, who you want to help.
This surely has other consequences in the strictly professional sphere such as, for example, diffuse and poorly focused messages and communications, ineffective and costly strategies and marketing plans and irregular income flows, among others.
Also, not knowing what audience to target will bring you consequences in the most personal sphere: stress, frustration, and demotivation. To get clients to buy your services, you must define who your ideal client is.
Many freelancers fail because they do not know their target market and when they try to please everyone with their products or services, they really do not please anyone and end up lowering prices and wasting time and money.
So how to define your ideal client?
Think about what they do, if it is a company or if they are people with personal brands, what style do they handle? Are they formal or more casual?
You can be even more specific and dedicate yourself exclusively to front-end, back-end, or full-stack. The more specific you are, the better.
Recommended course: 7 Ways in 7 Days to Magnetise your Ideal Client
14. Perfect Your Resume
The most important asset in getting a job is the resume. Knowing this should make you think about how important it is to dedicate time to perfecting your resume.
What can you include in your resume?
Everything that improves your professional profile, from studies, online courses, to the languages you speak.
It is important that your curriculum is well organized, that it is easy to read, and that you try to use short sentences using simple language.
It is important that in your resume you highlight the relevant skill according to the job offer.
For example, as a web development professional, if you apply and want to get a job in WordPress development, highlight the employment experiences you have had with WordPress.
Recommended course: Resume Writing Master Class: Easy & Fast Resume Template
15. Get Previous Experience
No matter how many studies or certifications you have, clients will always want experience that they can see and evaluate, to know what clients you have previously worked for, and if you have done projects similar to what they want you to do.
As mentioned above, if you have not worked with a client yet, this should not be a problem.
You can work on open source projects or do work for friends or acquaintances, where you can put your knowledge to the test. This will help clients see how capable you are.
Work Hard And Make Yourself Known
When you are a beginner you may think that it is difficult to find a place in the web development niche, but the truth is that this skill is increasingly in demand and that if you learn to promote your work, you will achieve excellent clients with whom to work.
You must also collaborate in open source projects and make yourself known among other web developers to gain a reputation. This way not only you will get other people to recommend you but also be in demand by clients for their projects.