Working as a Freelance Web Developer
Do you find yourself drawn to the world of freelancing? It’s little wonder. There are a lot of perks to working for yourself. Perhaps you like the idea of cutting out the middle man. You want to work directly with clients and then enjoy all the profit from your work.
Maybe you are tired of office life. Even if you are able to work from home, there are weekly “check-ins” with your boss, weekly calls with your team, constant emails about how to avoid carpal tunnel from your company’s health advisor, and, of course, all the training videos you have to watch about positive work environments.
Maybe you are unable to work from home with your current position and love the idea of sleeping until 7:50. Perhaps your family situation requires you to have a more flexible schedule so you can assist with your kids or older family members.
Regardless of your reasoning for considering working freelance, it is a pretty sweet life.
Are you ready to learn how to become a freelance web developer? Keep reading for some insights into that world.
Develop your technical expertise.
If you have worked in the industry, you know what kind of technical skills are required to become a web developer. Take a close look at your work to determine if your current skills are good enough to enable you to work on your own.
If you find yourself continually turning to coworkers or supervisors for assistance, then maybe you need to beef up your abilities before working as a freelancer.
Sometimes it isn’t very easy to analyze your own abilities. Your current boss and coworkers may not be the best people to talk with for an assessment since they have a vested interest in whether or not you stay in your current position. That’s why it is always a good idea to have a professional mentor who works outside of your workplace help you make career decisions.
Consider your work ethic and attitude.
Not to sound harsh, but not everyone has the work ethic to become a freelancer. Ask your friends or life partner if they think you have what it takes to work independently.
Are you able to be productive without a boss breathing down your back? If you don’t have an office to go to each day, will you be able to manage your time effectively? Are you easily distracted? Do you have a problem meeting deadlines? Are you organized? Do you have a good grasp of time management?
Try floating the idea of working as a freelancer to your family and friends. If they immediately furrow their brows and say, “you want to work as a freelancer?” with a bewildered expression, then perhaps you need to do a reality check to see if this is the right move for you.
Analyze your communication skills.
First, you may be the best web developer in the world, but this may not count for much if your communication skills are lacking. After all, as a freelancer, you will be required to have much more client interaction than you probably did while working for another company.
You may have to attend face-to-face client meetings. How are your “people skills?” Remember, you need to sell yourself when you sell your service.
Perhaps all your interaction with clients will be through written proposals and emails. Whether or not you feel you are a great writer, invest in a Grammarly subscription to assist you with those tasks. If you struggle with the written word, hire a freelance writer to take care of your proposals and emails.
Part of the struggle you may experience is that your clients may not know enough about technology to be able to describe what they want and need. That means your communication skills need to be above average. You need to be able to analyze and interpret their technological needs, and then teach them enough about your skills to show them how you can help.
You’ll need to be able to answer dumb questions without being condescending or impatient. You may become frustrated in explaining why you “you have to charge so much.” Does this sound like a nightmare to you? These may be the struggles that your current boss undergoes when interacting with clients. If you become a freelancer, those struggles will be yours.
Create a portfolio.
You may not be able to share your previous work with new clients legally. Perhaps some of your work is proprietary.
This means you may need to complete some work for a reduced rate or for free to enable you to develop a body of work to share with your potential clients. As you do so, consider step five.
Develop a niche.
Sometimes a niche is chosen, but often it is selected for you.
Maybe your niche is a result of having a particular skill. Perhaps it comes from interest or work in a specific industry. Regardless of where your expertise comes from, having a niche enables you to market to specific customers. It makes your potential clients feel comfortable that you have a grasp of what they need.
Do you think you have what it takes to work as a freelancer? You will find a lot of negative comments about working for freelancing websites like Upwork and Fiverr. Still, perhaps those comments come from people who don’t have the necessary skills to compete in a competitive industry.
Websites similar to these serve their purpose in finding your first clients. They also will have your back if you find yourself in dispute with a customer. Don’t dismiss these websites to help you get started.
This article was originally posted at Freelancing buzz.