Meta: Learn how to start freelancing and land high-value clients with 8 practical steps.

8 Ways to Get Clients As a Freelance Web Developer

Quitting 9 to 5 slogfest to make more money on your own terms sounds like a dream, isn’t it? 

And freelancing can help you turn it into reality. But before you jump the gun, there is an important part you shouldn’t miss.

How to get your first client and continue the trend?

In this article, we’ll see how to prepare better for the freelancing journey and some actionable practices to keep your hands full with exciting projects.

Why Do People Choose to Freelance?

There are many reasons why every other person these days uses freelancing as a side hustle, part-time, or full-time job. Some of the most common are:

  1. Creative Freedom: What can be better than choosing the projects you want to work on! While freelancing, you have the freedom to say no to the work that doesn’t add value to your portfolio or bank account.

  2. A Pool of Opportunities: There is a massive spike in the SaaS industry, and it’s expected to grow to $487 billion in 2022. It means you have vast opportunities and potential to grow while working with any company and client across the globe.

  3. Better Rate of Pay: Get the right pay for your hard work. All you have to do is ask. You can set your own rates that justify your skills, and nobody will raise an eyebrow. No more waiting for yearly appraisals to fight for a few extra bucks on your earnings.
  4. Flexible Schedules: Book a beach-view resort or a camp in the mountains because you can enjoy as many workcations as you want. Freelancing lets you practice the work hours that suit you the best without holding you to a fixed workplace.
  5. Upgraded Skills: When you aren’t bound to a strict code of conduct, you can explore the right challenges that enhance your skills. You can pick the work that interests you while learning along the sides.

Checklist to Start Freelancing

Before you start your hunt for the clients, ensure that you have addressed the following.

1. Find Your Niche

It’s okay to be a generalist, but the top-performing freelancers are always specialists in at least one thing. 

Take a minute to reflect on your strong suits and weaknesses. If required, take skill assessment tests to understand which programming languages you excel at. 

Observe which projects have brought the maximum work satisfaction to you and where you have struggled in the past.

Once you get an inkling of your motivations, you can go ahead and research the market for the opportunities. Explore job descriptions to see what’s in demand and trending. 

Finding a sweet spot between your skills and the market demands is essential to making the most of your freelancing pursuit. 

2. Build Your Portfolio Website

Building your portfolio website is the easiest way to display your work and establish credibility among potential clients. 

Design a portfolio that answers the basic questions like who you are and what you do? Use some of your best works to showcase your skills and range. 

Remember that it can be the first point of interaction of any client with you, so ensure that you detail all the services and provide some channels for them to contact you directly.

There are also many affordable options to get a domain for yourself and make it easier for prospects to reach you.

3. Plan Your Availability & Per-service Rate

Deciding how many hours you’re willing to give to the projects and at what cost are probably the most significant decisions of your freelancing career. 

And quoting random rates won’t go down well for sustainable growth. 

Plan your availability for daily work and look up online how much other freelance web developers are charging per hour for reference. 

A well-thought strategy here will avoid burnout and a sense of exploitation.

4. Learn Business Skills

Being good at coding isn’t enough to be your own boss. 

Unlike traditional companies, you are the whole business and have to divide your time as a web developer, accountant, and marketer. Of course, you can outsource these too, but if you’re just starting out, it’s better to save money and add your skills. 

While working on your programming skills, learn how to create contracts and invoices, negotiate tactfully, build a network, and market your services.

These skills will help you manage yourself better and attract high-value clients who look for professional freelancers.

How to Get First & More Clients As a Freelance Web Developer?

Here are 8 ways to land your first job as a freelancer.

1. Use Your Website Portfolio As a Business Card

Remember when we said that you’d have to be your own marketer. Well, now is the time to practice.

Share your portfolio with your whole network. Let your friends, family, and past employer know that you’re available for work, and any referrals are welcome.

2. Bridge the Gap Between You and Clients

Improve your online presence by adding your profile to career portals like ellow, where verified clients worldwide can reach out to you for a project that matches your skills. You can explore the job board listings for the one that interests you to work.

 

Ellow

If you want to work with companies that match your values and priorities, you can also explore KeyValues. It’s an incredible hack to find a team you can connect with beyond work and improve your skills.

3. Send Cold Emails for Some Warm Leads

A client might have to comb through hundreds of applications. To improve your chances and make yourself stand out, reach out to the client directly through an email.

But while sending a cold email, ensure that it’s worth their time and puts your point across well.

Start with a strong subject line that clearly highlights the purpose of the email. Keep the rest of the email short, dividing it into sections like

  • Introduction: Tell the client about yourself and how you came across the job listing.
  • Pitch: Next, mention why you consider yourself a good fit for the project. Support your claims with some past work.
  • Next Steps: Finally, close the email with what you want the client to do. Share your contact details and your portfolio.

 Roojet

It’s good to send two follow-up emails after the original email with at least 3 days gap. If you don’t receive a response even after that, move to the next interesting project. There are a lot of those out there for you to worry about one.

4. Boost Your Portfolio With Pro Bono Work

Pro bono is the work you can do free of cost for some clients.

But what’s the fun of working for free?

Think of it as an investment for your future projects. Instead of money, you can ask the clients for a testimonial, referral, or shout-out to showcase in your portfolio.

You can even offer to work pro bono for a few days (5-7 days) to assure the client of your abilities and then charge them.

5. Accelerate Your Growth With Cohorts

Having groups that share the same skills and interests as you are great fuel for your career growth.

Start with platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter to learn and contribute meaningfully. You can even ask questions and get quick help from people online. 

You can join groups like Web Professionals Connect on LinkedIn. While on Twitter, accounts like Tom Hirst and Dan Rowden are excellent learning sources for freelance web developers.

6. Create Your Personal Brand

When you succeed in creating a personal brand, people start seeing you as an expert in that particular field. With this public image, your clients can trust you with their big projects.

But creating a brand for yourself doesn’t need a heavy pocket. All you have to do is keep learning and sharing with the world.

  • Share your story to connect on a personal level with your target audience.
  • Use social platforms to publish snippets of code, content, and ideas regularly to gain traffic.
  • Connect with people from the freelance web developer community.
  • Engage with people online and contribute original points to add value.

Personal branding is crucial for freelancers to build recognition and credibility.

7. Share Your Work on Github

Github is a trusted online platform where developers can collaborate and showcase their work to build a strong profile.

As of November 2021, Github has about 73 million developers registered. It’s a vast community to learn and share your work, one which you can’t miss.

Github

Many clients scroll Github profiles to find suitable candidates, so investing your time here promises returns. And since it allows easy management of your projects with regular updates, there is really no harm in building your code repository here.

8. Polish Your Social Profiles

Do you have any dormant social accounts you created long ago, but now they’re hanging there with just an old picture of yours?

Yes…everyone has done this once or twice.

But it’s time to change that if you want clients to trust you and reach out to you.

Being active on common social platforms improves your visibility and lets people know that you’re a genuine option for a freelance gig.

Add the latest display picture, information about your skills, some links to your projects, and share any shoutout you got from a client. Here’s an example.

What works in Tom Hirst’s Twitter profile bio?

  • A professional headshot.
  • Profession & Experience- An explicit mention of what he does and for long he has been doing it.
  • Past work- Linked previous gigs to showcase his skills
  • Latest Project- To show what he is working on now
  • Portfolio- He has linked his portfolio for further information.

Make the Most of Freelancing

There’s no denying that freelancing is quickly becoming the future of work. But to cut through the noise and get clients of your choice, it’s essential to keep up with the new opportunities. 

Headstart your freelance journey with ellow, which brings developers and clients on a single platform. With a four-stage vetting process, ellow ensures that only the verified and trusted parties find their way to each other. So get started and become a part of the global talent pool to explore the best freelance possibilities.