Freelance web development can be an extremely lucrative career. However, it's also highly competitive. Often you'll find yourself in a race to the bottom with other freelancers undercutting your rates which can decimate your earnings. Here are five ways to stand out from your competitors and command the high rates that you deserve.
Take Online Web Development Courses and Get Certified
If you're already earning a living as a freelance web developer, you're probably well versed in multiple programming languages. Nevertheless, formally studying web development in online courses will help hone your skills even further and make you a better programmer.
Having formal college courses and certifications on your resume will also help you land more prestigious clients. When you apply for new jobs, you'll have an edge over all of your competitors who are self-taught. Additionally, college courses are great networking opportunities. You'll be able to add a lot of valuable contacts to your roster who may help you land new jobs in the future.
Study Business and Communications Courses
In addition to taking online web development classes, dip your toes into business and communications courses. As a freelancer, you're essentially a one-person small business. Business courses will help you run your career more efficiently and better relate to the business clients you're developing for.
Communications courses can also give you a great career boost. They'll teach you how to better interact with clients through written emails and phone calls. Improving your communication skills will help you land more clients and properly negotiate higher pay rates before taking on a job.
Learn Front-End and Back-End Development
You probably specialize in either front-end or back-end development. Specialization is fine, but you're leaving a lot of potential on the table by not possessing both skill sets. Most small businesses who hire freelancers are on a tight budget. When building an app or website, they'll be splitting that budget between multiple developers, so you'll only get a piece of the pie.
However, if you become a jack of all trades, you'll be able to land contracts for fully developing your clients' projects. You'll make more per project, and you'll be able to negotiate higher rates by saving your clients the time and effort of having to work with multiple freelancers on a single project.
Get off of Freelance Platforms and Approach Businesses Directly
There are a multitude of freelance platforms where clients post jobs and developers bid on them. That's fine for getting your foot in the door, but it's not the best way to maximize your earnings. For one, those platforms are highly competitive, so you'll often have to lower your rates to land jobs. Secondly, the platforms themselves take a large percentage of the money exchanged between clients and freelancers. That's money that you're essentially leaving on the table for the convenience of using the platform.
Avoid those pitfalls by approaching businesses directly. Look up local businesses online and analyze their web presence. You'll likely find many with shoddy websites or no websites at all. Call and email those businesses and offer your services. Present them with your portfolio along with performance reports from your previous clients. Essentially, you want to convince the business owners that the investment they make in paying for your development skills will make them money in the long run through increased sales and positive branding.
Stay Hungry and on the Lookout for New Opportunities
As you grow your freelance career, you'll likely reach a place where you're comfortable with your current clients and earnings. That's great, but don't let it make you complacent. Spend at least a few hours a week probing the market for new jobs. You never know when you'll come across an opportunity that's far more lucrative than your current roster.
For more information or assistance, contact establishments like Southwest Technical College.