Lessons Learned as a Freelance Web Developer

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By: | March 4, 2019 | Tags: ,

Back in the year 2000 I found myself working 100 hours a week running a pub on the outskirts of London. Yes, the money was good and the there was a lot of stability but for 24yo dreamer like me I know that this is not what I wanted to do for the next forty plus years. I had from an early age had a bit of an entrepreneurial gene in me. Always doing the most piecework as a Jewellery Polisher aged 18 onward. Selling Stationary to my mates at school and Running paper rounds 7 days a week. I know I would end up being my own boss and earning my own money.

Giving up my time to make someone else rich has always seemed counterproductive to me, so off I went to seek my fortune and became a freelance website developer. I often find myself surprised and grateful at how long I have lasted as a one-man band and sometimes I need to kick myself back to reality. In this first blog post I wish to share with you my thoughts on this journey to becoming a successful freelance web developer and to share a few ideas, tips and advice for those wanting to make the jump into the freelance world.

RELIABILITY

The most important skill in a freelancer’s arsenal is to be reliable. This in my opinion trumps all others. Being reliable to your clients builds your reputation which in turn gets you more work. Having the ability to meet the requirements, features and the design your client wants, and needs are very important. Hitting targets and meeting deadlines though are for me the most important thing.

Getting to this level of reliability is tough on us freelancers especially when juggling multiple client’s projects at the same time, this can be a challenge, but if you get it right the rewards are great pilgrim. The added stress when illness rears its ugly head makes the temptation to just throw the towel in is great and also challenging because you cannot just pass on the project to someone else.

Delays will of course occur and I find that being upfront and honest with your client is the best way forward to keep the relationship between the two on an even keel.

NETWORKING

As a freelancer I find myself at home behind a desk most of my time and sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are great networking opportunities. I have gained work from these sites in the past, working with clients as far afield as California and Brisbane. That said I have found the most high-quality work has come from meeting people face to face. A Picture paints a thousand words they say but easy casual conversations about what you do I have found reap the most rewards.

Do not be afraid to get out there and meet people. Its a great break from staring at computer screens all day long whiting code and it brings a value to your life. You may not get work from them initially but by making a good first impression and talking about what you do will eventually reap rewards.

When I first started I used to goto my local town highstreet and talk to shop owners asking if they were having any issues with their current websites and if I could help in anyway. this way I built confidence pitching to people and it also helped build my reputation. Having flyers and business cards to hand was a great advantage.

SAY NO

When I first started I used to try and get as much work in as possible and that meant taking on work at a lower cost. I went in Low and then my clients would still further knock me down. This is bad on so many levels and for one your setting a precedent.

I quickly came to realize that I was not valuing my own skillset and work ethic. I would find myself getting angry and frustrated at myself for pitching the job at very low price and then I would spend weeks at the whims of my client wanting things added on, improved or changed for no extra money.

Your clients will take a mile when you give an inch. Learn to say NO and value yourself, your time, your skillset and your work ethic. You are telling them that you don’t value your time, effort and skills and as suck they will take advantage of you, and ultimately you will become frustrated, angry and upset at times because of this.

BE PASSIONATE

I consider myself a wealthy person, not because I am rich with a healthy bank balance but because I have finally found my vocation in life. There is nothing I love better than spending hours in front of 3 computer screens full of code.

I am passionate about what I do and it show’s I love the reactions my clients make when I launch their creations. For me it’s my ultimate goal. the money is just a side effect from being passionate about what you do.

Being good at something and not enjoying it or not being passionate about it or taking pride in what you do for me is a job, basically giving up your valuable time for money. I would not wish that on anyone. Yes I have had jobs in the past and that have equipped me with the skills I use every day for my web development business.

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  1. Phillip Dews | at 12:11 pm

    What lessons have you learned over the years as a freelancer / blogger / business owner. Would love your thoughts?
    Please share this post among your social media accounts, it will make me eternally grateful.

    Phillip

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