There is a lot of demand for people with the skills to develop apps and websites for the internet. Being a web developer also means you can work from wherever there is an electricity supply and Wi-Fi. It is, therefore, an excellent skill set to use to build your freelancing practice. The question becomes how easy it is to earn a living working for yourself.
Choosing to be a freelance web developer comes with some significant pros and some negatives. It is worth being realistic about these before you make the leap into working for yourself. On one level, you enjoy the freedom and flexibility to work when you want and wherever you like. However, the flipside of this is a lack of financial security. You may or may not earn enough money to pay your bills in a month, and when business is great, you will still have to deal with your clients’ demands.
If the idea of striking out alone as a freelance web developer still sounds appealing, then here are some tips to get you started.
Your starting point
You first have to get real. To build a business from scratch takes a lot of work and a boatload of discipline. While you won’t have a line manager overseeing your work, you will be responsible for delivering for your clients. As a web developer, you are also likely to slot into a project management flow with several freelancers. Therefore, you will still be highly accountable for deadlines and dependencies. Set up your ways of working from the start and stick with your routine.
Another point to consider before getting started is if you have the equipment you need to be successful. While working with a company, you are likely given all the cloud resources, hardware and software required. Who will fund this infrastructure if you go out alone in the world of web development? It is best to sit down and plan for how you will fund the tools you will need to make this business a success.
Also, before setting out to win clients, you need to consider the worth of your skillset. Many thousands of people in the world have the ability to code or use CMS to develop a website. However, not everyone has the depth and variety of skill that you might possess. You might have multiple coding languages at your disposal. You might have extensive experience with WordPress or the development of iOS apps. Therefore, only you can know the exclusivity of skills you possess, and if you are not sure, you should do some research.
There are generic freelancing sites that can help you get started as a freelance web developer. Sites such as People Per Hour, Fiverr, and Upwork have copious adverts from companies looking for your skillset. You bid for the work and will win or not win the project. The more bids you put in, the more likely you will be successful. As you build your portfolio with reviews and testimonials, it should become easier and easier to win work this way.
You may have more luck finding work job listing sites such as Indeed and TotalJobs, who regularly post freelance web developer posts. While you apply for these posts in a similar way to a typical job, your terms of working will still be on a freelancing basis.
Cold calling companies who might use a lot of freelance web developers is another way to win work. No one enjoys making calls to complete strangers and asking for work, but with the right level of enthusiasm, you could secure a client. Alternatively, you can email these clients and put a link to your website. A solid website as a web developer is essential, even if it doesn’t win you many clients along the way. It is a place where you can store testimonials, reviews, and a portfolio of past work that you can direct people to in your email.
Finally, winning work by networking is useful. Whether it is hanging out on social media feeds with other freelance developers or going to events where you might connect with a client, it is a way of getting yourself known and out there.
Getting business savvy
Once your web developer business is up and running and successful, you will need some knowledge of how to run a business. You will need to know how to invoice, manage your accounts and pay your tax. You will need to consider your future savings for a difficult period and paying into a pension. Seeking the appropriate advice from financial professionals could be the safety net, you need to make your freelancing viable.