Many people who want to try freelancing believe that they need to have years of experience to succeed. But this is a common misconception that many freelancers have disproved.
Regardless of your industry, a helpful blueprint can be all you need to fast-track your freelancing success. This article underscores what you need to know to start a freelance web development business.
Being a Freelance Developer and Its Advantages
Getting started as a freelance web designer can be a challenging feat. But if you succeed, you can be in a high-value position in your field.
As a freelancer, you need to be capable of running your own business. This task requires self-discipline, which can be hard work. You need to implement strict and rigid rules for yourself to succeed.
To motivate you, here are several major advantages of becoming a freelance web developer.
1. High Demand for Web Design Services
The most obvious benefit is the high demand for your services. Data from Indeed shows that there are over 60,000 web developer jobs in the US as of this writing.
The high demand for web design services ensures that you always have customers. There are a lot of people willing to pay you for your skills.
2. Shortage of Developers
Another advantage is that there is a massive shortage of developers in the US and worldwide in general. The lack of web designers means that you do not have to compete with too many people in your industry to get paid as a freelancer.
3. You Get to Be Your Own Boss
Freelancing also means that you are your own boss. You have more freedom and more time on your hands than when you work for someone else.
When you run your own business, you do not have to report to anyone. It will be your choice which new clients to accept, how many hours you work, and what your rate is.
4. Attractive Earning Potential
Web designers get paid a decent amount for their services. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly pay for web developers was $77,200 in 2020.
Important Steps to Take to Become a Freelance Developer
This section highlights three crucial steps to help you get your freelance business up and running. After reading, you can start offering your web development services from home with ease.
1. Choose a Niche
It is impossible to be equally good in all areas of web design. Choosing a niche lets you focus your time and effort on narrower tasks.
Having a niche also allows you to become an expert who can address the needs of one group of clients. Doing so is much easier than learning a little bit of everything about different businesses or website styles.
When choosing a specialty, it is not enough to be interested in a particular niche. You must know if there is a demand in this niche for websites. Ask yourself if people are willing to pay for it.
This step is crucial for anyone starting a business regardless of your industry. You first need to know the marketability of your business idea.
What can help you complete this step is researching the market and looking for opportunities.
For example, if you like collecting toys, you can work for online stores selling rare action figures. Your selling point could be knowing how toy collectors think and what they want in a toy figure online shop.
If you were a grade-school teacher, you could help build websites for educators. A website can help them save time, market their teaching services better, and earn more.
If you are an activist, reach out to organizations. Check and see if anyone needs a website to promote their advocacy.
You can research online and visit communities on Facebook, Reddit, or Quora. These platforms are where people from different niche markets often hang out online.
Read their questions, look for their pain points, and determine the kind of product they need. After reading up, you can tailor your web development services to solve their problems.
2. Build a Portfolio
Getting that first project can be one of the most challenging things for many web designers. It can be tough to convince a prospect if you do not have a portfolio. Luckily, there are ways to secure your first gig without any experience.
You need to have a web design portfolio that serves as your website. The site should tell clients what you do and how you can address their needs.
You must include feedback from former clients and several of your past outstanding projects.
To get your first project, you may need to build a couple of websites for free.
In your chosen niche, look for an organization that urgently needs a site and do it for free. In exchange, you ask them to submit a testimonial on how your services helped them.
Looking for a client can be easy since you are offering free work. They will have nothing to lose if they choose to accept your offer.
You can use web development platforms like WordPress to finish your work faster. You need to keep in mind the user experience, accessibility, and conversion rate optimization as you work.
Aside from these three factors, you should also remember to keep your client's needs at the forefront. You should design the website in a way that addresses their specific needs.
Some clients may worry more about conversion than user experience. Some may have other site concerns, like search engine optimization (SEO). Regardless of what they need, you must ensure that your output delivers.
If you do not want to look for a client, you can buy domains and build websites yourself. This step can be a faster yet more expensive way to get your business up and running.
If all clients want to see is your skill, then this can be a good solution. Unfortunately, you will not receive any testimonials if you choose to buy domains.
Once you finish two to three projects, you can begin looking for your first paying client.
3. Search for Clients
Now that you have a portfolio that showcases your skills, you can begin searching for clients.
Social media can be helpful when looking for clients who will pay for your services.
For example, you can market your new business by using Facebook Groups. You can either make a new group or join an existing one.
Facebook groups are made up of people with common interests. Whatever niche your business is in, you can likely find a relevant group on Facebook.
Using social media to market your web design services does not only help you find clients. It also allows you to know your target customers better. It informs you what their problems are and what solutions they want.
Another way to meet clients is by speaking at events. Attending events about web design can be a great way to establish credibility. It can also be an effective way to build a network of contacts.
The downside of this approach is it could be challenging to get invites to events, and it involves a high level of preparation.
If you are not keen on socializing in person, you can look for clients through online job boards. Regularly visiting these sites can help you get more work. Try visiting Smashing Jobs, Mediabistro, Coroflot, or RemoteOK.
You can also try freelance marketplaces. Make sure to create a detailed profile that informs your clients of your specialties and how you can help them.
When creating a profile for freelancing sites, do not forget to include your skills, experience, and portfolio.
Becoming a freelance web designer requires a significant investment of your time and effort. But the result is a career that provides you with the freedom, flexibility, and income you want.
So push yourself to learn and increase your skill set to offer the most value to potential clients.