Getting started as a freelance developer can be difficult, especially if you’re straight out of university. If you want to quit regular employment however, and branch off into freelancing, then it can also be tough to figure out where to begin. The fear of being left without any income, or any clients to offer your services to, keeps thousands of people every year from taking the plunge.
The challenges of going freelance in the development industry can be daunting, but when you consider that a profitable freelancing business could await you with a little effort, then the choice becomes very clear. To help you get started in the freelancing world, here’s a short guide to help you achieve your developer dreams!
When it comes to freelancing, there’s always the possibility that it may take you 2-3 months to make any real cash. So, around 6 months before you want to start as a freelance developer, its best to save as much spare cash as possible. You’ll want to have around 3 months’ worth of expenses money put away, like mobile phone bills and other elements of household utility. If you’ve never been good at budgeting, then now is the time to start, because unless you’ve got some cash put away when you start freelancing, what will you live on?
Now is the time to design your portfolio site. Not only will this be one of the biggest assets in the early stages of your freelancing developer development, but once it is optimised it will allow you to attract customers for your services. Functionality is key, so you should spend time on making sure you site has clean code. Clients will be looking for the quality of the site as well as examples of your code, so invest time in making it right – don’t rush it! You’ll want a site that’s desirable as well as professional, so look for bright graphics and dark, bold colours.
Now that your site is up and running, it’s time to move into social media. From Twitter and Facebook to LinkedIn and Pinterest, you’ll want to link your site to all your social media profiles. Not only will social media help you get your name out there, but it will also help potential employers recognise you when they’re looking for a freelance developer. Never intertwine your professional and personal social media pages!
After you’ve set up your social media profiles, you might want to start a blog. Your current website could be a great conduit for people to access your blog, however if you want to create a separate one, make sure you tie it in with your social media too. Blog about things that interest you in web development, and remember to always keep up to date on the latest developments – you don’t want to be left behind!
One you’ve completed all these steps, it’s now time to give your employer a month’s notice! Ensure that you leave on good terms, and make sure they know that you’re going freelance – your number might be the first that they call in the future!
John is a freelance tech writer and blogger; he also contributes to various online marketing websites. He is currently working with Brookson.