Web development is a highly sought-after career, but freelance is even more so. If you’ve decided that you want to become a freelance web developer, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a step-by-step guide that will help you to get your foot on the right path as a freelance web developer.

Figure out if freelance is better for you

If you’re here, then you probably have already determined that freelance is the right option for you. However, don’t let the fact that you will likely work from home blind you- yes, you will be at home, yes, you can enjoy your warm, cozy bed in the winter, yes, you can eat when you want.

But work is work. When you’re at the office, you likely have a set shift that you need to work- say, 9-5. But many freelancers find that they need to be available 24/7. You will also likely have to work by yourself, which means that you’ll need to know the ins and outs of what you need to do.

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You will have some control over your time but be prepared to work holidays and weekends. Also, with a full-time job, you likely receive a set salary, but in freelance, your paycheck can vary month to month. In short, working freelance can be tough, so be sure that this is what you want.

Create a personal website

First thing’s first- you need to have some sort of platform where you will get the word out there and attract clients. This is where a personal website comes in.

On your personal website, you can include information such as your background, services, skills, and contact information. In addition to a personal website, you may want to advertise on social media and sites like Fiverr or Upwork to find clients.

Also, consider that your website itself is, in essence, your advertisement; people are going to look at how clean and error-free your website is to see if they want to work with you, so be sure to spend lots of time perfecting it.

Decide what your niche is going to be

In order to market yourself effectively, you need to decide what your niche will be. You can certainly do a bit of everything, and some developers might feel the need to take on any project that comes to them so that they can make some money in the beginning.

However, having a niche will improve your reputation as a professional, and it can make you a lot more valuable. This will also help you to determine the services that you want to offer, helping you to narrow things down to a few areas you are specifically good at. That way, people will be able to begin identifying you with your niche, which will help you to get clients.

Determine your price and payment structure

Next, you need to set prices for your services. The nice part about freelancing is that you have a lot of leeway with this, and you will be able to refuse projects that either don’t suit your schedule or don’t pay well. When determining the prices for your services, don’t just consider the amount of time it will take to complete, but also consider the deadline, your education, skills, experience, and background.

After all, your clients are also paying for that. And don’t be embarrassed to increase your prices as you gain experience and expertise. You will also need a way to track your hours and projects effectively.

If you use sites like Upwork, they will have similar programs built in, but if clients reach out to you on your website, you should find ways to keep track of everything. In addition, be sure to have invoice templates and secure payment methods like PayPal or Payoneer.

Advance your skills

Even if you’re an expert in the field, there is still so much to learn, and with a field like developing, changes are being made on a constant basis. You will also want to keep up with all these evolutions to remain marketable. There are many ways for you to continue improving your skills, such as taking courses and watching videos in your free time. For example, it is absolutely important that you learn HTML, CSS, and Javascript, and obtain lots of practice making websites. You should also focus on skills that might not have to do so much with development, such as business essentials and accounting.

Build a portfolio

Finally, you will need to have a portfolio that showcases your very best work. This is what will enable potential clients to decide whether or not they want to work with you. You should include real websites or apps that you’ve worked on, as well as testimonials and skills that set you apart. If you’re just starting out, consider taking internships or volunteer opportunities to help you build a stunning portfolio.

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