Let’s face it, it’s an amazing feeling to be your own boss. You can practically work from any part of the world, at any time and on any day; free from all inhibitions and corporate legislation or rules. Furthermore, you can control your own schedule and manage work without any interference.

Broadly speaking, here are the top 4 benefits of becoming a freelancer:

  • A much better work-life balance
  • Being your own boss
  • Freedom to manage your own work
  • A chance to work on interesting projects

All these benefits bring us to the billion-dollar question: How do you become a freelance web developer, that too, a successful one?

In this post, we break-down the process of becoming a successful freelance web developer in an easy 5 step guide laced with valuable tips.

Step 1: Master your craft and Kick-start your Business

When you are branching out on your own, you need to be absolutely sure about your craft and skill set in order to deliver promising results to your customers. Web development requires knowing more than one programming language.

So, the more technologies and programming languages you know, the more jobs you’ll be able to accept, making this a crucial first step. Continue building your experience with more technologies over time.

Every fabric of your business should be thought through clearly before setting up your business. There are several steps involved in setting up your freelance business:

  • Register your business in the country or state that you live in
  • Find a certified accountant and lawyer to help you structure your business legally and financially
  • Secure all necessary liability insurance
  • Purchase all necessary software and equipment
  • Write a business plan that consists of the mission and vision of your business

Step 2: Build a portfolio website

This can be tricky. Since you are in the business of web development, you need to create a super slick website that highlights your skills and hosts your portfolio and body of work. Your freelance website should be a stellar showcase piece in and of itself. Don’t cut corners or try shortcuts when creating your own website. Take time to create an intuitive and interactive website that uses the latest web design trends.

  • A smart and short name such as www.jasonbuilds.tech is a cool way to indicate what you do with your web address. Building your website on a new domain name that is short, available and grabs the essence of what your expertise is will do wonders for your brand and give you brownie points on the business credibility front.
  • Optimize your website for SEO and manage your content to tell your clients who you are, what you’re passionate about, what you can do for them, how you can benefit them, and why they should choose you.
  • Include live chat options, easy-to-fill contact forms, and links to your social media handles to build interaction.
  • Consider implementing a solid content marketing strategy and starting a blog to talk about your expertise in web development and why having an online presence is necessary. This will supplement your SEO and help you build authority in your space.

Step 3: Focus on your personal brand

In the business of freelance web development, you are the brand and hence a striking personal brand will go a long way to build a successful business. A great way to build a personal brand is to get your website on a short and relevant domain name such as .tech. As mentioned above, building your online portfolio on .tech is a great way to showcase who you are and what you do.

This kind of branding goes a long way in building a great first impression among your potential customers and professional contacts. Another smart way to build your personal brand is to use a professional email address instead of a generic or personal one. A professional email address, such as [email protected] exudes confidence and a sense of credibility when you share it with people.

Step 4: Find your target market

The key to sustaining a freelance business is to cut through the competition with efficient growth hacks. This starts with identifying who your target audience is. You can also target a particular area of business that appeals to you and specialize in that area.

For instance, focus on building websites for:

Local small businesses that are yet to taste the world of online.

Organizations whose current websites are slacking and ineffective.

Retail companies who don’t offer online selling.

You can also target a particular industry. For instance, you can focus on building websites for the auto industry or the retail industry or the technology fraternity and young startups.

Once you’ve established your target market and figured out how much to charge for your services, you should begin marketing your services.

Although social media and digital marketing plays an important role, you can go old school by stopping by a local business and telling them that their website isn’t as effective as it could be, and how you can fix it. You can also shoot quick emails to businesses in your interest stating the same thing.

Step 5: Stay Current and Relevant

Being a freelance web developer is all about constantly learning and staying up to date with the latest trends in the web design world. Stay abreast of what’s happening in your field and keep track of what your peers, industry leaders, and competitors are doing. Continue to learn new languages and technologies as they emerge.

Subscribing to newsletters and publications is an effective way to educate yourself. This will prevent you from becoming outdated as a developer and allow you to continue to expand your work gamut and clientele as your skill set grows.

On a concluding note, if you want to grow your career as a freelance web developer, you need to add value to your services and consistently reinforce your expertise in the field through effective marketing and branding.

In fact, if you are building a portfolio website for your freelance business, you can get a .TECH domain by using the coupon code ‘Codeshare’ at get.tech and get 96% off at checkout!

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About the author

Paul Seal

Umbraco MVP and .NET Web Developer from Derby (UK) who specialises in building Content Management System (CMS) websites using MVC with Umbraco as a framework. Paul is passionate about web development and programming as a whole. Apart from when he's with his wife and son, if he's not writing code, he's thinking about it or listening to a podcast about it.

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