Becoming a Freelance Web Developer (5 Things You Need to Know)

Do you want to find out how to become a freelance web developer? Then you are in the right place. I am going to share with you the five tips that I wish I knew when I started 11 years ago as a freelance web developer.

You don’t need to study for 5 years, then work for 7 years as a developer before forming your own agency. This is a practical guide for how to start as a freelance web developer and then build up your own online agency.

5 Tips to Become a Freelance Web Developer

1. Volume

Most freelancers start by signing up one client at a time and trying to increase the total number of hours that they can sell. Often they have to sign up new clients while they are still working for other clients because they risk running out of work and having no billable hours. It is much better to have a high volume of sales leads coming in each week, which leads to sales calls. You want to quickly get to a point whereby you choose your clients and not the other way around. Be picky – only take on the best clients who are prepared to pay a higher amount for a better-quality service. You will build up a funnel with a pipeline of sales, so you are never short of projects to work on.

2. Sell the Call, Not Yourself or The Service

Most people apply for projects as if they are applying for a normal job. They send a nice cover letter and list all their qualifications etc. But you need to run your freelancing operation like a business. You need to take charge of the sales process. When you send out proposals, the aim is to get the client on a call. Once on the call, you can close the sale.

3. Accept Short/Small Projects from GOOD Clients

Most clients will want to test you out before they commit to larger projects. The same should apply to you – so you know what it’s like working for them. If you succeed in carrying out a smaller project, this could lead to much bigger projects over time.

4. Fly Solo for Your First Business

Some people think it is a good idea to partner up with someone else who can complement their skills to run a freelancing business. However, a business partnership is like a marriage – you’ve got to know people well before going into a business partnership. It’s best to build up experience first before looking to partner up with someone else. You can look to find a partner once you are more established. For example, if you are a developer offering web development services you might want to partner with someone who sells content writing services.

5. Don’t Try to Outsource Stuff You Don’t Understand

When some people try to start up an online agency they instantly look to outsource as much of the work as possible to another agency in countries with lower costs/ wages such as India. In my experience (especially when it involves web development) this can be a recipe for disaster. Just like finding a suitable business partner, it can be very difficult to vet them and find out if you want to work with them and can trust them. You should do the first few projects yourself – this will allow you to learn the processes and be better equipped to outsource in the future.

The Bottom Line

Becoming a freelance web developer can be a challenging thing to do, but it is worth it in the long run if you want more control and freedom over your life.

Focus on scaling your business, getting people on calls, do not be afraid to take on shorter projects in the beginning, and work as a solo freelancer. Avoid outsourcing too much work, in the beginning, learn, and master the processes before scaling up and growing bigger. It takes time, but it is worth it!

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Aleksander Vitkin

Aleksander Vitkin has helped over 700 people with a sincere interest in entrepreneurship and contribution, to start profitable businesses and quit their jobs.