Plutio - How to Start Pro Freelancing As a Web Developer

How to Start Pro Freelancing As a Web Developer

August 4, 2021

How do you imagine a successful person? Before, there was that image of a person with a briefcase working in a reputable office seated in ridiculously designed glass skyscrapers. 

But things have changed a bit nowadays. With technology on the rise and the evolution of workspaces, we can see a big difference.

Today you can see young people working from literally anywhere, carrying their laptops in their backpacks. The generation of digital nomads is still on the rise, and more companies have learned to appreciate remote work more since the pandemic happened. 

Being a web developer is a very lucrative career, and there is still a strong demand for people with exceptional programming skills. 

It is also very challenging since it requires both creativity and analytical thinking. Yet, if you decide to go one step further and be a freelance web developer, you need to possess an entrepreneurial spirit as well. 

Is freelancing as a web developer a good idea? It is a great idea, and we will explain why!

Why is freelancing an excellent idea for web developers?

Being a freelancer implies that you are your personal boss. You will be in charge of establishing your own brand and finding your own clients. That is sometimes very complicated, yet you can use it to your advantage. You can practice your negotiation skills, work on relationships with your clients and establish yourself as a promising entrepreneur. Let’s break down some of the benefits:

  • You will be working from a familiar environment and enjoy it. Freelancers often have a better work-life balance. You can imagine how it feels to break free from a 9 to 5 job finally!
  • You will earn more on average. That sounds like a lovely promise, but you will find more clients with time, organize your workflow better, and learn more.
  • You can work wherever you like - if you want to travel, it is time to seize your opportunity and enjoy new experiences, meeting new places and people while working.
  • You will learn how to do your taxes.

Your motivation matters. Not all of us dream of getting up early and sitting in the office with people we don’t particularly like, yet tolerate.

You can’t spell the word ‘’freelancing’’ without the word free. It is time for you to make the right choice because - why would you spend your time on making your boss’s dreams come true? 

It can sometimes be scary to accept the change, but when that change is positive - everything will be just fine.

Web developer skills you need to have

The first step is finding your niche. There are many talented web developers out there with identical skill sets, so you need to offer something innovative. Some skills that are always in demand online are:

  • Knowledge of HTML and CSS and JavaScript as the foundation of web development
  • PHP and WordPress 
  • Various front-end frameworks (for example, Bootstrap, Angular)
  • If you are also interested in web design - it is excellent to work on UX/UI as well.
  • Backend programming languages such are Python, Java, Ruby
  • MySQL for database management

There are some bonus things you can learn to broaden your portfolio, such as SEO. When developers and SEO experts work from day one on unique website solutions - success is guaranteed.

Although this seems complicated - everything is just an extension of your knowledge. With lines of code written, the experience will come naturally, and you will be able to make more effective code in just a few lines. 

Know your strengths and your weaknesses

Which skills are excellent for a developer to possess? As we all know, web developers are strange beings that possess strange powers that turn caffeine into lines of code. 

Although web development is a craft that everyone could learn - you need to possess some skills. Remember that clients are looking for someone who has: 

  • Analytical thinking - you need to understand patterns and various complexities and simplify them.
  • Creativity - it is not true that web developers are not creative. Yes, web developers are all about functionality and architecture - but there is still a lot of room left for creativity and innovation.
  • Communication - it is essential to learn how to listen to your client’s wishes actively and be open and honest about what is possible and what  not.

More important is - what are your weaknesses? It would be great if you worked through your weaknesses as your freelance career progresses. Freelancing is about discipline and fantastic organization, and that comes over time naturally. You will need to learn to improvise a lot. 

Develop your portfolio

A great portfolio can speak more than a thousand words. It will help you sell your services more effectively. The great idea is to build a website from scratch. 

Use everything you can to your advantage - your potential clients will appreciate the effort when they see what you can do. Just imagine the example - no one wants to go to the hairdresser who has an awful haircut. 

Although the example is relatively simple, you get the point - what is the point of you promising a fast website that will rank high in search engines if your website has five visits per month and it is mostly from you and maybe your mom? 

We think that you are getting an idea. Your website will be your own business card. Trust us, a responsive website boosted with SEO magic can go a long way. 

Organize your time and your essential documentation

When you start freelancing as a web developer, you need to realize the importance of organization. Soon you will realize just how short the day is. How fast months go by. You keep pushing the forward button, and every deadline is happening too soon. So, organize your workflow and remember to pay close attention to the following:

  • Track your time when you are working. You will get valuable insights into your working style, and your clients will get transparent reports of your billable hours.
  • Automate your invoicing process - send invoices always on time and keep track of them - avoid the risk of duplicated or even lost invoices.
  • Contract management - automate your contracting process and never miss a renewal of the contract.
  • Project management and client management - keep your projects in one place with all essential details. Make collaboration with your clients easier.

Although this seems overwhelming and complicated, there are excellent and intuitive solutions such as Plutio, for example. It is an outstanding investment for your freelance business; you can focus on finding new clients while keeping all crucial things in order.

Networking - both online and offline

Visiting networking events is always a great choice to meet your colleagues and people from your industry. 

But remember - both online and offline networking counts. You can make a strong LinkedIn profile and join the groups on social media platforms to connect with other web developers. 

This is also great for landing your first gigs and establishing a reputation. Attend meetups in your town - we mentioned that you are in charge of your branding. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people will help keep you motivated at all times. 

In conclusion

When you decide to start freelancing as a web developer, things might seem a little bit scary and overwhelming at the beginning. Yet you know why you chose this. Once you get on this path, it might be challenging to get back to the long office hours. 

We can back you up every step of the way and help make your freelance journey way smoother. Your new web development (ad)venture awaits!

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