Confused about getting started as a Freelance Web Developer? Don’t worry, with the sheer number of options out there today, it is okay to feel lost about how or where to begin.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for getting your first Freelance project :
1. Get into a Developer Mindset.
To put it simply, knowing the basics of Front-End Development and Back-End Development isn’t enough. You need to be the master of at least one framework/language.
For example, Magento is one of the best frameworks for building an e-commerce website.
It is amazing that you know both Front-End and Back-End at a Beginner level, but that won’t be useful for a project unless you can actually develop a fully-functional website using both of them. Even though it is good to have more knowledge and startups absolutely love Full Stack Developers, as a Freelancer, you will be expected to build the entire website yourself. Make sure you know what you want to do and train yourself accordingly.
2. Develop your Portfolio.
If you are under the impression that by simply learning a language you are ready to take up a project, hold on! The first thing any client would want to see is your previous work. Showing them your certificate isn't going to be enough. They won’t be convinced until you show them something you’ve made yourself.
Additionally, learning something in theory and building a website practically are two very different things. You will only understand this after you sit down and actually build one. This will also give you an idea of the various challenges and problems that you will eventually face as a developer.
Your previous project need not necessarily be another client’s project. It could be something you made for yourself, maybe while you were learning or even after. You should have at least 3 work samples to show before you approach a client.
If you are a student, one of the best places to begin making these projects is in your college. Talk to professors who organize college events. Most events need a basic website which just displays information about the event along with a basic registration form. Start from there. Build a basic website. Get it out there. And then follow that up with more projects like that.
Tip : When you make a website for a professor or an event, get a few testimonials and keep them with you.
Another way to get started is to build something you always thought should be there. For example, when I was a kid I wanted to build a website where I could share my favorite Pokemon and start a discussion around them. Since it is your personal project, there is no limit to what you can make! So think out loud and get to work.
Tip : Get your Resume in place while you are working on your projects. The best few projects that you develop should definitely be mentioned in your Resume.
3. Find your Client.
After you have a solid portfolio in place, the next step is to find a client. For this, all you need to do is :
i. Create a portfolio website and put all your projects on it : Get a domain for your own name (or a nickname if you want) and get those projects online so that you can share them with the client in a single link. This adds legitimacy as well as professionalism to your work. Add those testimonials on your website to gain an extra edge.
PS: This will involve some money. But if you really want to do it right, spending this much is worth it!
ii. Create accounts on https://www.upwork.com, https://www.freelancer.in and https://www.indeed.co.in : These are legit websites where clients put up their requirements and you get to interact with them. The language you use in your profile should be professional and your content should be to-the-point.
4. Nail your First Impression.
Freelancing is always branded or looked at as a very ‘cool’ thing. But the client is dead serious about the work that they want from you. Show them you are equally invested and professional about it and you already have the edge over others who treat freelancing as ‘just something I do in my free time’.
Here’s how to create an impression :
i. Make sure you provide the link to your portfolio and your Resume while you submit a request for any client project.
ii. Never quote the whole project price. This is a rookie mistake. When the client asks you for a quote, which they will, make sure you mention ‘hourly charges’, and then add them up to a total sum at the end.
Tip : Never tell the client the total cost upfront because they will try to bargain and cut it down. This isn’t psychology but basic maths and logic. Let’s take an example. Consider a project that needs 20 hours of work. If I quote Rs. 20,000 as the total project price, the client will immediately start negotiating from Rs. 15,000, which is a direct Rs. 5,000 drop.
However, if the quote is Rs. 100 an hour and the estimated time is 20 hours, the total price is still Rs. 20,000. But, the client might ask you to drop the hourly charges to Rs. 90 or Rs. 80, which will bring the total price to Rs. 18,000 or Rs. 16,000, which is significantly higher as compared to Rs. 15,000!
Bonus : How to earn that extra buck
Get your own hosting! Instead of letting the client purchase the hosting themselves, sign an MoU with them and purchase their domain on your account. Additionally, when you give them a Quotation, make sure you mention that you also provide Domain and Hosting services at an extra cost. And then, get them renewed and charge them for it monthly/annually. This also keeps you in control and if they want changes or modifications, they’ll not approach anyone else! Thus, more money for you!
And that’s it! Go out there and make a dent in the universe!
Happy Freelancing! :)