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Start Your Freelance Journey in Four Easy Steps


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Start-your-Freelance-jobs-in-four-easy-steps

Freelance is scary, but it’s also freedom. 

Of course, there are already a plethora of articles, blogs, videos, and resources to get information and be able to start your freelance adventure. One from the top of my head is Kyle’s which has a great niche and an awesome testimonial on his journey towards freelancing. If you can afford it, you can get his course here. I am not having any kind of afíliate link or something, but Kyle is my inspiration when it comes to freelance and I love to promote people that help others.

In this article, I am sharing the steps I took and how they got improved in time. Notice that this is my mere experience since 2019, as follows:

  • Have basics knowledge in programming and CMS.
  • Have a portfolio
  • Have your niche settled
  • Have flexibility 

Have basics knowledge in programming and CMS.

Basic knowledge in programming has a different meaning for different people. If some consider that having HTML and CSS is basics, for others know how to create some applications with JavaScript will be basics knowledge and this will be advanced knowledge for those that know only HTML and CSS.

So, in my case, I took the frontend path and I learned HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I learned what the protocols are and how the internet works so that I could have a good foundation and have also a basic knowledge of hosting. I never thought that I’d be able to have a host for my clients, but now here I am, using also cPanel. I have to share with you this: you are reading an article from someone who’s a Gen x, that used to know nothing about the internet, programming, or similar. The only way I used the internet previously to programming career was to buy things on eBay and watch movies on Netflix. So, I had to start from scratch, which in my case is a positive thing. 

I had to learn what is cPanel, what is a CMS and I choose WordPress. Why WordPress? Because it’s easy, fast to build and it’s already there. There are pros and cons of using WordPress, but as far as I am concerned, it brings the food on the table, and frankly, I don’t see any difference in using a Framework that’s already there and WP, unless you want to learn deeper and start a project. Okay, I hear you about speed, but sometimes these competitions are just a way of being “proud” of the accomplishment that the client doesn’t even care about because hear me out: the client doesn’t know how to build and that’s why you are hired. Nevertheless, when it comes to freelance, you have to have these three things in your mind:

  • clients want their website fast;
  • clients don’t care what technology you use;
  • clients want to control and access their website;

 An answer to “what is the basic knowledge” would be “according to your niche”, which I will discuss in the third point.

Have a portfolio

A portfolio stands out, and it’s considered by the major of companies (small or big), as a Curriculum. If you never bumped in how to build your portfolio, I’ve written about it here. To be brief in this second point, I’d like to say only this: your portfolio should show your work first, not the languages you know. Let me explain what I mean before you @ me. The client wants to see what you worked on, not what you know! When you show what you worked, clients will see what you know. To build your portfolio you don’t have to begin from scratch, remember that we don’t have to reinvent something if it’s already there. 

Set your niche!

This is the vastest topic when it comes to freelance, but, like previously said, I am sharing my experience which I hope will enrich yours as well.

I’ve built web apps, pure Vanilla JavaScript apps using HTML and CSS, my portfolio on GitHub, but my real niche is WordPress. It’s a big world that uses React, that when it’s built you can use Vue, Laravel, PHP, Node, Docker and so many more. The point I am trying to make here is that if you are delivering Headless CMS, and you learned that, go with it. I like to think of the niche like a funnel, as it goes narrow with the way to build.

Basic knowledge is important when it comes to discovering your niche. When I started my first website back in the spring of 2019, I realized that I needed to understand how to design a basic web page. I had to learn what is a column, a row, or a module as I was using Divi Theme. Of course, this can be applied to other fields but the basic knowledge will always be a solid foundation.

Have flexibility

Flexibility has a wide range of understanding and I am not going to talk about all of them. Nevertheless, I want to mention three:
– price
– content
– delivery time

When it comes to the three above points we should take into consideration the culture we live in, the requirements in the market and the last but not least the strength of the market. 

The price at the beginning of your journey that should be applied to your services should be one of the two options: (1) a bit under the market prices or (2) the same price but adding the person detail. I went with the 2nd option, as this, in my area and experience is better. I add the personal detail which is attending directly in person because no one likes to write a ticket and receive the answer after 2 weeks. As I take a project from A to Z, I can know the errors, the problems, and also in a way, I can be intuitive with the future implementation that the client wants. What I am saying: be fair on your quote! What I am not saying: underprice your work.

Content should be relevant. And you should be flexible when it comes to content.

 I never say to a client: “this is not a good photo”. Even if it is a messed photo or a blurry one. I say to the client; “Do you think you could have another photo, that could highlight X (the product)?” The following that in most cases happens is that the client asks more questions on how to deliver the photo (read the content). I have a client that said it will pay me to drive 300km to its place to take the photos… and I did.

The delivery time is always negotiable.

 I don’t make promises I cannot keep. I am not JavaScript (smiley face) I say the truth to the client from the get-go. I am about to have a new project and I said to the client something among these lines: “ I can deliver this project in ten days, but keep in mind that it will be polished the following month”. Being truthful to the client, in the long run, builds your reputation.

 Bonus:

 How do you get your clients, Luc?

Most of them come from Word of Mouth. Yes, the ol’fashion way. For everyone that has a cousin, a friend, or a colleague at work and wants a side income or opening a business, there is a need for a web developer. And that’s me, or you in case you are also a web developer. 

Thank you. That’s it for this article. I hope you enjoyed reading it and found it of value you can connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn or Subscribe to my newsletter as I am trying to write an article per month and avoid spam.