So, you’ve busted your butt to learn the ins and outs of web design, and you’re ready to begin your journey as a professional web developer.
Unfortunately, for most developers, landing a gig isn’t as simple as walking through the doors of a Fortune 500 company and walking out with a new job. For most developers, they make their money through freelancing.
Let’s take a closer look at some best practices that will get you on the road towards lucrative opportunities as a web developer.
Put Together a Strong Portfolio
Before you can get out there and begin searching for freelance gigs, you’ll need to put together a portfolio of your work, so your prospective clients have an idea of the type of work you’re capable of, and what you’ve done for other companies.
For a web developer, a portfolio serves many purposes. It’s part resume, part sales tool, part advertising. A strong portfolio will become the lifeblood of your business.
Your portfolio should include examples of work you’ve completed in the past as well as testimonials from happy clients. Of course, if you’re just getting your start, it will be difficult to provide testimonials from past clients. Focus instead on showcasing your work. If you’re able to produce compelling websites, that will speak for itself. Over time, you’ll amass more customer testimonials, which will allow you to beef up that section of our portfolio.
You’ll also want to include some biographical information about yourself and why you got started in web development. Also, be sure to include all relevant contact information, so clients can easily contact you.
Finally, you’ll want to be sure that you’re infusing your personality into everything you do. Web development is a very personalized field. One great way to stand out from your competition is to infuse your site with a healthy dose of fun and personality. Try to look at your portfolio from the client’s point of view. You’ll want your prospective clients to have the feeling of “I need to work with this person!” You won’t be able to capture that feeling if your website is bland and lacks personality.
Above all, make sure your website answers the “what’s in it for me” proposition for your clients. Make sure that your portfolio makes it obvious that by working with you, your clients will receive great service and an incredible looking website.
Hit the Job Boards
Now that your portfolio is together, it’s time to begin searching for jobs. Eventually, people will seek you out for web design work, instead of you seeking out web design work for yourself. At that point, you’ll look back and laugh on your early days of scouring the internet for your next gig. But, in the meantime, it’s time to roll your sleeves up and start hunting for gigs.
There are countless sites throughout the internet where you’ll be able to find web development gigs. Some of the sites below are a great place to get started:
You’ll want to create a profile on some or all of these different websites, so that prospective clients can find you and inquire about working with you on their web projects. While your portfolio is the most important aspect of finding new clients, you’ll want to make sure that your profile on these sites is also attractive, and provides prospective clients with all the relevant information they’d need before deciding to work with you.
Typically, these jobs don’t pay very well. But, keep in mind that at this point in your journey, experience is equally as important as money. Your first few freelance gigs will teach you valuable lessons, like how to deal with clients, how to take a client’s vision and make it into reality and how to deal with deadlines and requirements.
One of the keys to getting ahead in any industry is networking, and this holds true in web design as well. Chances are, there are multiple networking events in your area each month where professionals meet up to exchange ideas and concepts.
At these events, try and focus on meeting entrepreneurs as they are among the people most likely to need your services as a developer. Attend as many of these events as you can, as many of the attendees will be the types of people who can utilize your services. Remember, the people you network with today can be your first inbound web development clients tomorrow.