Do You Want To Be A Freelance Web Developer?

You are on this webpage right now because you are looking into being a freelance web developer. Perhaps you are at your desk conjuring up ways to tell your boss that you quit! Maybe you took the time to learn to code and now you are ready to reap the rewards. Now is the time for action!

Everything will change because of freelancing.

A freelancer has the following 4 major advantages:

  1. A work-life balance that works: No more rushing pass your loved ones in the mornings!
  2. You are in charge: As a freelance Web Developer, you are the boss. You have the option to work morning, evenings, nights or anytime you choose.
  3. Flexible working hours / choosing your clients / setting your pay: Don't get stuck with the miserable client or the cheap client ever again. A simple, no thanks will get rid of the headache clients.
  4. The opportunity to take on more fulfilling assignments: Never be bored again. Take on clients, projects that interest, and challenge you.

You have the skills. You are familiar with PHP, Wordpress, HTML and JavaScript. Now is the best time to be your own boss and become a freelancer.

NOTE: You will need to learn code first if you haven’t done so already.

When you have a good understanding of code, keep reading.

Why is freelance web development a good option?

If you are an experienced web developer, you either were in the same job for a while or have been changing jobs often.

Initially, you found it exciting and then it quickly got boring.

If you love tech, you'll find ways to fine-tune your skills so that you have the option to operate by your own rules. There are many benefits of being your own boss apart from having the final say at the Christmas party. You have placed yourself in a position of high value when you become a freelance web developer.

The hardest part is getting started.

You need to operate your own business as a freelancer. It takes hard work and self-discipline.

Still looking for motivation? Below are 3 benefits of becoming a freelance web developer:

One: There is a high demand for your skills in virtually all industries. In the US alone, there are over 14,000 UX designer jobs available today!

Two: There is currently a major lack of web developers around the world. By the year 2020, over 1 million jobs in technology will not be filled.

Three: Compensation for contracts is usually high where the average salary is over US £70,000!

You now know that freelance web development is what you want to do. I'll now show you the best way to do it in an easy to follow method.

How To Become A Freelance Web Developer In 6 Steps

Step 1: Discover your specialty

Step 2: Get working on different kinds of projects

Step 3: Develop your individual brand

Step 4: Get Focused

Step 5: Strengthen your expertise with each completed project

Step 6: Boldly move forward  

We’ll now take a closer look at each of these steps.

Discover your speciality

What makes you different?

You will have to start by improving your skills, so look for a good web development course.

Next, once you have discovered your specialty you will need to sharpen your skills.

Being a programmer is a great skill that allows you to do many tasks. Your value increases when you become an expert in a few areas.

As freelance web developer Ted Jonson once stated, you should be able to solve a specific set of problems. In your freelance career, this is vital. You have to focus and set yourself apart.

Aim for being an expert web developer known for solving a specific problem. Don't develop the reputation for being "that web developer I know."

Marketing your specialized skills and building your brand is much easier when you have cornered a specific area of the market.

It is vital you keep your skills current and be aware of the latest trends.

How do you keep up with the latest trends?

Below are the 3 most popular programming languages available today:

Ruby on Rails

This is an open source web application framework. It operates on the Ruby programming language. Currently, it is the most popular programming language with startups around the world.


This is Apple's Cocoa and Cocoa Touch new innovative programming language. It was built for iOS development and includes concise and expressive syntax. Apps run super-fast on this program.


JavaScript runtime in Chrome is the base of this platform. Node.js creates network applications that are fast and scalable.  Soon, this could be Ruby on Rails stiffest competition.

Steven Young stated that when it comes to new technologies, you should focus on the driving forces and underlying principles.

2. Get working on different kinds of projects

Congrats! Now you know your specialty, begin building immediately.

Edit, update and develop this website on a regular basis as long as you are a freelance web developer.

Highlight your design skills using your portfolio. This is a great marketing tool for prospective clients.

You ultimately want your potential clients to find your website easily. It should also be easy to remember.

Now that your CV is online with sample projects along with a contact form, what's next?

Create and expand your unique ideas since this is what separates you from the competition.

With your portfolio build, what should you update it with?

This is a great chance to grow your brand:

  • Working on your specialty skill
  • Create and expand your unique ideas
  • Showcasing your technical skills

When potential clients see your portfolio, they will decide if to do business with you or not depending on what is on display there. Make sure you have your best results on display.

Do you want to make it even better? Help other people.

Update your blog with your approach. Use social media to ask and answer questions and keep building your brand.

3. Develop your individual brand

Go get it!

It is challenging to market yourself as an expert in your field. Yet, in the freelance world, you don't have a choice but to go get it.

There are plenty of ways to market your services that don't cost a dime.

It is important to display your projects, create a network, helping others and to post valuable expert content. It will help you to connect with those who are looking for your services.

Connecting with people online and offline is vital.

There is no way around it; you have to talk to many people to locate paying clients.

Some great advice from Rebecca Shapiro, a professional freelancer: Be sure to connect with freelancers who are not in your industry. Cast a wide net. Always be willing to give in newly established relationships. Before long, you would have created a reciprocal referral network without too much effort.

Keep it simple and become as visible as possible.

If your name isn't unique, finding it on Google might be a problem.

Make your name as visible as possible on your portfolios, social media posts and profiles. Your content should be relevant to the services you offer.

Be sure to take full advantage of the resources available online. When it comes to online marketing, there are some websites you should be aware of and use often.

However, each of them has their unique advantages:

  • Twitter — Keep your followers updated on the latest news in your sector. Twitter is ideal for networking and connecting worldwide with people in your niche.
  • Quora — People in your niche will have questions and here is a great place to answer them. Get to know other professionals in the Web Development field. Start to develop relationships.
  • YouTube — Record tutorials and upload them to YouTube. Make sure Google can find them easily with titles, such as: “How to become a Freelance Web Developer….” Use humor and be personable. People will come back often if your videos are watchable.

And finally, but just as important!

Create your web development brand by teaching others.

There are many opportunities online for writing, building and being a leader in your niche.

4. Get Focused

Coding is only part of being a freelance web developer.

You also have to be a salesman, project manager and a customer care manager.

Your experience might be limited in these areas. But, to be a successful freelancer, you have to learn how to do at least the basics of each.

Therefore, you have to stay focused and organised!

(All of us need help with this)

To help things go smoothly, the time and project management tools below will be helpful:

  • Quoteroller - use this practical tool to make and send clients a professional proposal in just minutes, which saves you time. There is an option to chart the performance of your proposal and watch which clients actually opened your proposal.
  • Toggl Do you know the amount of time you are spending on a project? Use this tool to track your time on projects.
  • Asana is a fantastic project management resource. Particularly when working with other people and you have to collaborate or delegate tasks.
  • Google includes management apps and an endless number of calendars.
  • BillingsPro for creating invoices and project management.
  • FreshBooks use this app to organise your expenses, invoices and projects.
  • HubStaff Monitor your time and productivity and bill clients with this Asana integration tool.

Finally: Talk to your colleagues, friends and other freelancers to see what works for them. Carry out your own research too.  

Freelancer and Crunch writer Josh Boyd suggests that:

As a freelancer, there is no need to be down in the dumps if things go awry and this is one of my biggest lessons. Late paying clients and new tax forms make me rethink this option, but what is freelancing if there aren’t any challenges? It wouldn't be nearly as rewarding if it was all smooth sailing.

5. Strengthen your expertise with each completed project

Your brand new website is up and running and you have all the skills to provide this in-demand service. It is vital to get some actual projects posted so that potential clients can see your handy work., Upwork and Glassdoor are great options for those new to this sector. Start gaining valuable experience by doing jobs in this online marketplace. If you're really good, you can apply to work with

If you have a full-time job, do this part-time to get an idea of how much time a project will actually take. You will also find out how much you could earn per project in a realistic setting.

Experience is vital, especially when you are starting out.

Like everything else new, there is a learning curve.

Figuring out how to be a freelancer as well as a businessperson is still part of the learning curve early in the process.

This step is vital to learn how to deal with clients and know what their expectations are.

Gain valuable experience by offering your services to someone!

Schools, local charities and small businesses will value your services since most of them are unable to afford a web developer and both parties benefit in the end.

You expand your portfolio and get potential references to add to your CV when you do this. One of the most important skills you will have to learn is how to handle clients.

6. Boldly move forward  

Although this is the last piece of advice, it is the most important:

You will not know every answer when you are starting out.

You will get hired for projects that you are not sure how to proceed or even finish. If you are not sure of the timeline to complete the project, let your client know of a realistic turnaround time.

Letting them know it will take longer than the deadline they have in mind is important because you don't want to request more time after the deadline.

There are many useful resources available to help you out!

Our reliable friend Google can help you with almost every kind of programming query you have, as well as websites like Stackoverflow.

Don't let bigger projects intimidate you even if you aren't 100% confident about completing it. As a freelancer, this is how you grow and gain experience that is more valuable in your field.

You are totally in charge now, so nothing should stop you.

In Conclusion for Freelance Web Development.

In all honesty, it is challenging being a freelance Web Developer. It requires a lot of work and dedication.

However, the freelance lifestyle benefits greatly outweigh any work you put in.

The most important traits you need to develop as a freelancer is reliability, hardworking and trustworthy.

The following 3 guiding principles are important at all times:

  • Never cut corners
  • Never hurry through a job
  • Treat all clients the same

Your priority is to do a good job every time and learn as much as possible from each project.

Do you want to see an example of a freelance web designer who has the ideal balance between affordability and quality? Be sure to check out the work of Russ Clow at where you can see his portfolio and reviews from satisfied customers. Find out more about the services offered at Clow Creative by sending an email to

Russ Clow

Freelance Website Designer & Developer


I've been designing and developing websites for a very long time. In that time, I've learnt many things - and this article is written to help share that knowledge with others. Everything within this article is written based on my experience, but is my own professional view.

If you would like to tap into my knowledge further, please contact me for a free, no obligation quote.

Need a quote?  Contact me