The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Freelance Web Developer
1. Define your Skills: The best place to start is with yourself. Define what you know, what you don't know, and what you're best at doing. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help you choose projects you’re likely to complete quickly and well.
2. Look for Skills Training: When you start listing your strengths and weaknesses, you might notice an opportunity or tool to help your business. For example, many websites use WordPress, and it can be a reliable tool to know. The growth in e-commerce may make WooCommerce a useful system to understand.
3. Plan your Business: Freelancing is a business, and you'll need to run your operations like one. That doesn't mean stuffy suits and chats at the watercolor, but it will mean new practices to learn. If you've never started a business or worked in a new company, look for online services and solutions to help.
4. Define your Tools: Think about how you will interact with clients, and if you have a tool for each step. Think beyond the computers you have and into the software and platforms you need, too.
5. Build your Portfolio: Now that you have your business idea together, it's time to get your portfolio together. This highlights your projects and past work to show customers what you can do. It's an essential piece of any freelance business and helps prospects know that you can do the work they need. There are free options, or you can create your own site entirely and go with a private host.
6. Research the Competition and Market: The Internet has a wealth of information you should review about freelance web design and development. You can quickly get information on salaries and hourly rates, skills, and areas of significant need. Browse every job board you can—you don't necessarily need to create profiles on all of them—to see what people want. Joining groups on LinkedIn and Facebook can help you understand what's in demand locally, too.
7. Apply to Jobs: After you know a little more about the market and what you want to work on, it's time to start applying for work. You can use a variety of job boards to find your first project. Be sure to ask around, too, because connections, friends, teachers, and classmates may know someone who needs help. People you have an existing relationship with may be more willing to take a chance on your work or make personal recommendations that really help with finding work.
8. Plan Marketing and More: Your ultimate step in these initial efforts is to begin to market yourself. While your work product is the goal, you're really marketing yourself in the early days of your freelance business. Clients need to see you as reliable and knowledgeable so that they trust you to get work done correctly and on time.