3 Steps on how to become a freelance web developer

You might be wondering how to become a freelance web developer?

I wrote this article to help you know where to start the process of turning yourself into a web developer and doing it as a freelancer.

I was once in your shoes years ago and I am just so happy that I am now able to help someone like you to skip all the unnecessary steps that I took.

In this article, I will be sharing with you these 3 steps that you need to take and become successful in this process of learning and teaching yourself to become a web developer.

Here are the topics that we will be discussing:

Step 1: Learn programming languages and skills. Stay updated.

The very obvious step is to teach your self how to code as it is one of the most important skills a web developer has.

One reminder here is that please don’t get overwhelmed by this list of things that you need to learn. Like all skills that are new to someone, it mostly looks so hard at first but as soon as you get the hang of it then things start to become easy and natural.

To start with, let us talk about the reason why you want to learn programming in order to become a successful web developer.

Why would you want to learn web development?

Hundreds of types of jobs are available today, but why would you consider this job?

It is very important that you know the reason why you are learning a new skill, in this case, that is programming. Because it will help you stay on the course of learning how to code and all the other stuff that you need to learn.

I personally think that one or more of these reasons are good to have:

  • Programmers are one of the highest-paid workers.
  • You can start your own business if you are a web developer.
  • A web developer can do “work from home” or as a remote employee.
  • There is a good demand for web developers.
  • You create or innovate products and services.
  • Web development is fun.

You can go have a pen and piece of paper and write down your own reasons.

Programmers are easily one of the highest-paid employees on the planet today.

If you happen to have seen the list of the top 10 richest persons in the world, most of the names you could see are doing business by leveraging information technology. They don’t just do business, but they do it on the web or the internet. The likes of Facebook, Amazon, and more.

With web development skills, you can start small by doing freelancing web services with the whole world as your market.

Web development is one of those cool jobs that can be easily done at home. It’s virtually doable anytime and anywhere as long as you have a computer, electricity to make it run, and optionally the internet to make work a lot better. You can code on vacation, at the beach, at a forest, at a park, in a coffee shop, or just anywhere right?

The popularity of the internet, websites, and web pages today makes the demand for web developers high and increasing through the years. That is because almost all of the businesses today need a website. Any business process can be done more efficiently through web applications.

People can have varying preferences as to the kind of work that they love to do. Someone might like structured and repetitive jobs. But someone also might like jobs that they can create, jobs that they can innovate and be freer to express themselves. And web development is more of that latter part.

Lastly, web development is fun! You can make mistakes. You can correct those mistakes without huge responsibilities or consequences most of the time (haha).

And doing web development as a freelancer makes it more appealing and liberating.

You can have a job as a web developer in a company but why would you like doing it as a freelancer instead? Let us talk about that.

What are the benefits of doing it as a freelancer?

Like any other job, web development can be done as an employee to an employer, as an owner of your own web development business, or as a freelancer (it’s actually a lot similar to owning your own business).

Each of those roles has there own advantages and disadvantages, right? But since the author is a freelance web developer then this article is leaning more towards doing it in a freelance capacity.

Advantages/Disadvantages Employee Owner Freelancer
Stable source of income Yes No No
Predictable cash flow Yes No No
You don’t need to worry for your next customer. Yes No No
No hassle for business permits and compliance Yes No No
Freedom to decide what work to accept No Yes Yes
You make your own rules No Yes Yes
Bigger income potential No Yes Yes
Scalability No Yes No
Faster decision making No No Yes

Based on the table above, you can see that being a freelancer though much unstable source of income but the potential is a lot higher compared to as an employee.

In freelancing, you have more freedom. More freedom to decide on what work to accept. And more freedom in making decisions.

Everyone has their own preferences, but if you lean more in the freedom that you have then maybe freelance web development is a great fit for you.

Now that you know your reason why you are going to learn programming and the benefits of becoming a web developer in a freelancing capacity, let us now get back and focus on the programming languages and skills that you need to learn to become a web developer.

What are the programming languages and skills do you need to learn?

Once again please don’t get overwhelmed.

Can you remember how hard it was to write a single letter when you first encountered it when you were so young? Can you remember how hard it was to understand how multiplication works? Yes, most likely these things now come naturally with you. We write letters and words so naturally that we need not spend a lot of thinking process out of doing it.

The same goes for web development or programming. As soon as you understand the basics, get a stronghold of its foundations, and a lot of practice (trial and errors) then programming will most likely go naturally with you.

That does not mean that effort and time is not needed to reach that point. The opposite is actually what is needed. As long as you show the right level of effort and spend the right amount of time in learning programming and non-programming skills, you are on the right track towards becoming a good freelance web developer.

Now here is my opinion as to what programming languages you need to learn:

  • Front-end web development
    • HTML
    • CSS
    • Javascript
    • A javascript framework such as VueJS
  • Back-end web development
    • Programming language like Python
    • Web framework like Django
  • Other skills
    • Respectable Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    • Basic software engineering techniques
    • Basic Algorithms
    • Basic design
    • User Experience (UX)
    • Virtual Private Servers (Cloud)
    • Git
    • Integrated Development Environments (IDE)

Okay, let’s have a quick discussion or overview of some terms presented on the list above.

Front-end means the part or aspect of web development that aims to present your software applications to your end-users. Presenting it in a way that is easy, intuitive, and effective. Like when you open your Facebook page, that is the work done by a front-end web developer.

While back-end developers are the ones responsible for the data needed for the front-end developers to use. Like when you create a new post into your Facebook account, it is the back-end developers' work to save it somewhere (database) so that even if you log-out or exit Facebook you can still see the post you created when you use the application again.

A back-end developer is also responsible for the authentication and authorization of an application.

So that is it for the first step.

I might be updating this article to show links on articles that can help you learn these programming tools.

You can send me a message here to let you know when a new article is published.

Step 2: Build your freelance web development website as a way to market your services

Now let us talk about building your first website that will serve as one of your most important marketing tools to acquire and maintain relationships with your clients.

Using the new programming skills that you have learned, you can now start building your own website.

The purpose of this website is to gather or acquire new prospective clients. The website will let your clients know the freelancing services that you are offering.

It is also very important that you know basic SEO. In that way, your website will appear whenever a prospective client searches the services that you offer on the internet through search engines like google.com.

SEO is the reason why you found this very article. Awesome right?

This website will also help marketing your own brand. People will treat you as a serious web developer since you spend a lot of thinking and knowledge building your website.

It helps you project yourself as a professional web developer.

You just have to take the first step! You don’t have to make a super cool and amazing website at your early stage. It so easy to get anxious about things like maybe the website that I will make will not look good, and all the negative stuff and never make a website at all.

The perfection which leads to procrastination is basically one of the hindrances to yourself in becoming a successful freelance web developer.

Again, just take the first step. And all will follow.

To give you a practical value of just being able to have your website no matter how small the contents that you have or no matter how simple it might look like. Weeks or a month after the first successful build of your website, you can now have a report in which you will know what keywords does your new website appears when your prospective clients search something on the internet.

Now using that generated report, you can make adjustments accordingly. You can use the information extracted from that report to know what new content are you going to make. Which ultimately results in better prospective client gathering. And a much needed better sales performance for your new freelancing business.

So that is it for the second step which is building the website of your freelance services.

Step 3: Register your freelancing business

At this point, you now have good programming knowledge and skills. You also successfully built your very own website.

The next and last step would be to get your freelancing business officially registered in the country or state that you are in.

Why is this important?

Mainly because being a good citizen of your state means that you should register your income-generating business. It is just so cool that you can call yourself a good citizen right?

The other reason could be that it has a positive effect on your personal brand.

Prospective clients and your existing clients will see you as a very professional web developer. And they will be comfortable

At this stage, you might have to talk to an accountant or a business lawyer. In that way, you will be guided by the experts in this area so your business can comply with your state’s law.

So if you do not know the steps that you need to take to register a business in your state, please do the research to do just that.

Conclusion

I hope that this article helps you on your journey towards becoming a freelance web developer.

If there are suggestions, questions, or just a message that you want to let me know, please send me an email at [email protected]

Have a great day!