7 must-dos when starting a career as a freelance web developer
There is a lot of competition out there for Web developers looking to make their mark and achieve success. Whatever your goals, starting a freelance web developer career requires you to pay attention to industry trends and continually update your skill set. Check out these 7 must-do’s when starting your freelance career:
1. Develop Reasonable Expectations
Many web developers earn full-time incomes as freelancers in this industry, but the average and median salaries vary significantly from one country to the next. Reasonable salary expectations help you design a career path that won’t result in disappointment. Focus on expanding your skills and increasing your client base in an organic way. Set your rates based on your experience level, then adjust them as you build a reputation as a developer. Need help determining your market rate? Check out the Payoneer Freelancer Salary Survey and find out what your industry peers are making.
2. Create (and Update) Your Portfolio
While a resume or CV might help potential clients understand your education and experience, employers really want to see your work. Create an online portfolio on your own website or through a marketplace, such as Upwork. Exhibit only examples of your highest quality work.
If you don’t possess a portfolio, create one. “Hire” yourself to design a website, mobile app, desktop app, or piece of software. Showcase your skills so clients know what to expect from your deliverables.
3. Require a Contract
Never perform work for a client before you formalize your agreement in writing. Every freelance contract should include the these 8 important points, from your rates to your policy on revisions. Invite your clients to read over the contract and to contact you about anything they don’t understand.
4. Capitalize on your Strengths
Are you an expert in Drupal or WordPress? Do you know Ruby on Rails better than anyone else? When advertising your services as a freelance web developer, put your strongest foot forward. You might offer additional services now or in the future, but when it comes to marketing yourself and finding new clients, concentrate your efforts on building a career based on your strongest skills or niche markets.
5. Invest in Premium Tools
Open source software offers multiple free alternatives to paid development tools, but premium software programs and other resources often pay for themselves over time. If you focus on front-end design, for example, purchase a Photoshop license rather than relying on free alternatives like The Gimp.
6. Sign Up for Marketplaces
Freelance marketplaces allow clients and professionals to find each another in one convenient place. Not only do these marketplaces provide an easy place to solicit paying clients, but they also enable you to accept international payments easily. Are you already working on marketplaces? Select Payoneer as your preferred payout method and get access to your funds more easily than ever! New to Payoneer? Sign up here.
7. Network with Other Professionals
As a freelancer, you might sometimes feel like an island separated from everyone else by infinite miles of ocean. In reality, however, millions of people freelance from home, so take the time to meet them. Not only does networking help you establish a supportive community, but it also opens up revenue-generating opportunities. If you know a great freelance writer, for example, you might refer clients to one another so you both benefit.
As you start your career as a freelance web developer, focus on the above tips to help you create a solid foundation for future success. The more experience you accrue, the more attractive you become to potential clients.