As this is a well-known topic in the web development world, I want to approach it this time from a newbie perspective with over 40 of age. What you’ll read is my experience since I started my web developer career. As you might already read here, I landed a dev job as a freelancer after 6 months I’ve started and after almost a year I got a full-time junior job, to which I resigned in less than a month and started my freelancer journey. Getting clients as a freelancer sometimes is really difficult. In the following, I am not trying to sell you something or to convince you that my strategies are the best. When it comes to freelancing experience we all have different approaches according to the area we live in. I made the article in breaking points.
- Build a portfolio
- Develop (more) professionally
- Use the right tool
- Keep it real
- Final thoughts.
With this in mind let’s get dive in.
Build a portfolio – not a website with your work but with websites. What I mean by this is get clients, small ones, big ones, it doesn’t matter. Create a showcase for your work. The best showcase if you ask me is mouth word. Depending on your area of course. I managed to get only a few clients that came from Social Media… the majority are from friends that know a friend who can build their website. I got to the other part of the country ( Spain) just because I talked with a friend whose brother had a website. He got in contact with me and I was able to inspect the website and see what I could improve, after that he contracted me for a new one.
Develop (more) professionally
I know that the subtitle is a bit gatekeeping, that is not my intention at all. We all want to improve. I bet that when it comes to our skills and personal improvements we all want to increase. With this been said, I want to share my personal experiences. I got a client that he knew his work, he wanted a website but like most people that are not in tech didn’t know the language, so I talked his language. Professional doesn’t mean necessary to speak in terms but to make yourself understood by the client. While I was asking plenty of questions, I was writing them down and I was able to create a budget so that it may have an idea of the price. The template I used is here and you can use it as you please.
Use the right tool.
Since I am a newbie in this technology, and I assume you are also since you are reading this, and if you are not I’d like you to improve our experience by adding your valuable comments…Since I am a newbie I observed during my short period since I started that we tend to be super technical with the languages we are using when it comes to development. If you ask me, a CMS like WordPress using a builder it’s a “good to go” path to start. Why should I reinvent the spaghetti when they are already there? Another example that comes to my mind is about a company that I develop their website as they needed an attendance form. Of course, I went with the most at hand option: Google Forms. I build their page, styled it a bit, and in a couple of hours they had what they need. The client doesn’t care what I am using, allow me to underline this again: The client doesn’t care what I am using. He wants the job done, and this what we do as developers: we find solutions.
Keep it real.
We all know the struggles, the time spent on the learning, and the burnouts. I developed a schedule of working and coding when I started 2 years ago, which had settled itself during the last year. Whether you are working a job that is not web development related and learning at the same time, or you are studying and having side projects you are struggling in terms of time management, so:
Don’t underprice your services. As time is not money but LIFE I understand perfectly some developers that underprice their services because they are desperate of building their portfolio, or because they need money to survive and pay taxes. I’ve met clients that they said to me that my services are expensive, I must agree with them in the next context: if the clients are not willing to invest in their own businesses then I won’t either and that is where my services become expensive. Having the right price for the client is one of the key points in getting clients as a total newbie.
Don’t overprice your services either. Of course, you can ask whatever price you want on your work, but the point is to get clients. I usually lower a bit the price when I can. For instance, if I have a client that is willing to pay more then I can develop their custom website, but if the client’s budget is low, then I reduce the work, and thus I can set a fair price. You’ll see in the template I mentioned above that the website has only 3 pages. That is the reduced version of a website as originally had 5 pages. What I did was to implement the main information on the entire website. For instance the Contact Form, instead of having a dedicated page for it, I made a global Contact Form for two pages and thus haven’t lost the value of the website.
As this is my mere experience I don’t pretend that I am a pro. I struggle to get there and I like to work in this industry as I have always been passionate to work with people. I hope this article helped you. If you like to receive more articles about my journey into development and programming you can subscribe to the newsletter. I don’t spam, never. Find me on Twitter and on LinkedIn here.