How To Start Your Career As A Freelance Web Developer

Think of the word “freelancing” and what comes to your mind? The first image that will possibly flash before your eyes is that of a pajama-clad person sitting comfortably at home with their eyes glued to the laptop while sipping a hot cup of freshly-brewed coffee. That’s the life, isn’t it? Imagine if you can work for yourself, work on the projects you want, have time for yourself and those you love, and may be even pursue a long pending passion project, all the while making a decent living for yourself. Sounds wonderful, right? If that’s the kind of life you want for yourself, you may want to look into web development as a career.

Web development comprises of developing websites and web applications using programming languages such as JavaScript, HTML, or CSS. With web designers in the US earning an average salary of over US$73,000, and highly skilled freelancers making well over a hundred grand every year, the industry seems like an evergreen option to make money online from the comfort of your living room. So how can you get in on the action? Let’s discuss the pre-requisites.

The Prerequisites Of Becoming A Freelance Web Developer

1. You Need The Skills

To become a web developer, you need to work with a number of programming languages and frameworks. While you won’t be expected to revolutionize the world with a gamechanging design, you still need to have enough designing skill to get a website up and running. Ideally, a web designer provides the design and a web developer makes it come to life. However, in most cases, people will expect you to build a website from scratch or work on their existing websites without the help of a designer. Most customer won’t even differentiate between a designer and a developer, so you will need to put on your designing hat from time to time. If you are a beginner in the field and want to get started, we recommend you go through a frontend web developer bootcamp and get the first step out of the way.

2. You Need A Portfolio

Let’s face it, your first project as a freelancer will not be a paid project. As soon as you have the skills to get a website up and running, we recommend you build a website for yourself. This website will serve as a testament to your web dev skills as well as your online workplace where people can contact you and place orders. You should also start volunteering on helping people with their websites in return for rave reviews and testimonials. You should also create profiles on freelancer, upwork, fiverr, peopleperhour, and similar websites to start bidding on projects that interest you. All you need is a couple of good projects under your belt and you are good to go.

3. You Need A Blog

Now that you have the skills and some experience under your belt, we bet you have a lot to talk about in terms of web development. Whether it is stories you want to share about your experiences or opinions about any aspect of web development, we strongly recommend blogging on Medium at least once a week. This will help you establish yourself as a thought leader while connecting with other professionals and prospects out there.

How To Distinguish Yourself From Other Freelance Web Developers

There is a lot of competition out there when it comes to freelance web development. Every project you bid on will have hundreds of other bidders. Google any freelance web dev keyword and just look at the number of ads you see. Lets just say the competion is stiff, but here’s how you can set yourself apart.

Learn To Add Value

Small bits and pieces like sending progress reports during a project and asking for the client’s feedback while the project is being formulated can help you considerably in order to maintain your credibility as a freelancer. You can even follow-up with the client after the project is over to make sure everything is intact.

Make Everything Customer-Oriented

Everything you design has to be customer-oriented. All your work needs to fulfill the requirements of your customers. It’s advisable to chat with your clients regularly regarding different projects that are being undertaken as it’ll give you a clear picture of what needs to be done.

Work On Your Soft Skills

Clients want to work with people who understand their problems and have the skills to solve those problems. Listen, communicate, and interact with your clients professionally.

Meet Deadlines

There’s a ton of web developers out there, but web developers that meet deadlines are almost impossible to find. If you start sending deliverables to your customers on time, you can distinguish yourself from everyone else easily.

Advantages Of Becoming A Freelance Web Developer

In case you are wondering why you should opt to become a freelance web developer as opposed to a developer that works nine to five, here’s what the freelance life can get you:

1. The Working Hours Are Flexible

If you choose to become a freelancer, you can work whenever you want. Being a freelancer gives you the liberty to work as per your convenience. You can work during the night, you can work while you travel, you can work on the weekend and enjoy Mondays off… the possibilities are limitless.

2. You Can Choose Whom To Work With

In regular working environments, you don’t get to choose between clients (or coworkers for that matter). But, freelancing allows you to choose the clients you want to work with. If you don’t like working with a particular client, the opportunity can easily be passed on in favor of another.

3. You Can Work From Anywhere

If you are a freelancer, you can work from anywhere. You can be sitting in your living room while you work. All you need to find is an environment that is ideal for you. A striking difference between freelancing and regular jobs is the fact that you don’t work at a physical workplace when you are freelancing.

4. You Don’t Have A Boss

You aren’t bound to answer anyone except your clients if you are freelancing. You aren’t supervised by anyone which allows you to make all the decisions without anybody’s interference. Spoiler alert: some customers can prove to be bossy, but most will give you the kind of creative freedom you want.

5. You Get To Keep All The Profit

You don’t have to share the profit you have earned with anyone. No matter how big or small the projects are. You can then use the money you’ve earned to expand your business.

Other advantages are:

  • - Payments are made on the basis of the work you do
  • - All you need is a computer and a stable internet connection and you are good to go
  • - Almost all the investment you make in working for yourself will be in terms of sweat equity

For freelance web developers, the future is full of opportunities. Web developers having comprehensive knowledge of programming languages such as Python, Ruby, and CSS can definitely make a decent living if they advertise themselves skillfully. In the beginning, you need to knuckle-down and establish a foundation, but once you have a few project under your belt, you can keep gaining momentum. Check out the front end web developer bootcamp by QuickStart if you want to get started on your journey to becoming a web developer.

About The Author
Manager Enrollment and Inside Sales at QuickStart

Shane Babar

Shane Babar is a sales guru with 8 years of experience in the tech industry. Having worked with IT Ops related products for such a long time, Shane has decided to contribute to QuickStart’s blog with topics specific to the commonly asked questions he comes across. When he is not working, he is busy in cooking and travelling. Bookmark our blog to see more helpful posts from Shane every week.