Becoming a Freelance Web Developer in 2020 (The Truth)

Are you thinking of becoming a freelance web developer?

Looking for some advice on the best way to get started, what to sell, how to price it, how to get clients, and how to get them to pay you?

This is the post for you. 

I have been a freelance web developer for the past nine years and have helped hundreds of other people get started too. This is my advice to you.

Getting Started

Most people try to start by trying to sign up friends or family as their first clients and start their freelance web developer journey that way. But in the long run, you need to develop a consistent process to sign up clients every single month and develop great results for them. 

The best way to do this is to get started on freelancing platforms such as Upwork. Clients are looking for web development services, so you have access to “hot leads” for free. On Upwork you will find thousands of potential clients from which you can send proposals to, this saves you thousands of dollars in marketing costs that you would need to spend to grow your freelancing business.

What should I sell on Upwork?

On the Upwork platform, you have lots of options for the types of services you can sell. This can be quite confusing, and hard to work out which skills to focus on. Some of the biggest skill categories with the most projects on offer are:

1. WordPress Web Development

The upside of going for these types of projects is that there are so many of them available that you are bound to pick one up. My advice is to focus on $1000+ projects if you are going for WordPress web development projects.

2. Landing Page Web Development

You don’t need to be a very skilled or experienced developer to do this type of project. You can use WordPress, Click Funnel, or any other web-building tool like Squarespace to set up a landing page. You can still make $1000 per project if you find clients that need it done quickly.

3. Shopify Web Development

Shopify web development is an in-demand skill on Upwork. Clients can pay anywhere from $1000 to $3000 per project to install and set up a custom Shopify store. Clients for this type of project will usually have a decent budget.

How to Use Upwork to Get Clients?

1. Make Your Profile Like a Landing Page

Treat your Upwork profile like a landing page to get clients onto a call with you. The best way to close the project sale is to get the prospective client onto a call. You’ll be able to answer any of their questions and will be more likely to close the sale. You will be able to check that they are a good fit for you as a client and that they have the budget to pay for your services.

2. Get 5 Reviews on Upwork and Display Proof

Show prospective clients testimonials from past clients, this will show to new clients that you have successfully carried out projects in the past, and it will get you Upwork “top-rated” status much sooner.

3. Send 10 Proposals per Day

Make sure that you send out 10 proposals to prospective clients every day. The aim of the proposal is to get them onto a call with you, the proposal itself doesn’t need to close the sale.

4. Get Clients to Pay You Upfront

If you get the clients to pay you upfront it will guarantee that they are a good client with the money to pay you. Any fees that Upwork charges you will come out of this payment.

5. Agree on Project Communication

You need to get your clients to agree on upfront how you will communicate project progress with them, how you will resolve any problems, and how payment will be handled. This will avoid running into any problems with them which can be hard to resolve. LegalZoom or Rocket Lawyer are great online tools to use to write up a contract.

6. Think Long Term

If you can build a great profile on Upwork with lots of testimonials from happy clients you will ensure that you can build a successful freelance web development business that lasts many years.

The Bottom Line

The best way to become a freelance web developer is to start small, and once you learn more skills you can take on more and more complex and better-paying projects.

Upwork is a great platform for freelance web developers, it can provide you with countless lead generation opportunities. It is worth putting the time and effort into mastering the platform if you want to build a successful long-term freelancing business online. Focus on selling to clients with the budget to pay for quality web development. They will be much better clients in the long run.

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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.