If you’re skilled in web and software development, the future is bright. Software developers are in a lucrative position; the skills you possess are highly prized in just about every industry, and you’ll have some flexibility when it comes to choosing a position. A bevy of startups and businesses are now electing to outsource their software development, and for good reason. Development costs can skyrocket, and hiring contractors can be a smart business move for companies of all sizes. If you’ve got development experience under your belt, these strategies will help you better infiltrate the freelancing market.
Build Your Portfolio
As someone just starting out in freelancing, you’ll have less of an edge against more experienced freelance developers, but there’s one way to combat this competition—a bulky, impressive online portfolio on a site like Format.com. Prospective clients will want proof that you can create quality content and work, and when it comes to distinguishing yourself from the competition, your portfolio is going to be your most valuable asset. If you don’t already have work, consider doing some projects for free to make sure you have a variety of examples that display numerous skills. These free projects might be for family or friends looking to start a website, or you might approach low-budget startups that might be looking for some simple software development. A portfolio is solid evidence that you can deliver quality work as promised, so it’s a vital part of the freelancing process. Post your portfolio along with a detailed profile on freelancing site Upwork to begin contact with searching companies.
Improve Upon Current Abilities
Technology is constantly changing, and so are the demands placed on web and software developers. To remain competitive in a field becoming more and more saturated with skilled developers, it’s important to put effort into expanding your skillset in order to make yourself more valuable in the eyes of prospective clients. Attend seminars and webinars, invest money into courses you know will have a significant impact on your productivity, and keep track of all of the classes and certifications you receive—employers will want to see what steps you’ve taken to remain on top of the development game.
Word-of-mouth and personal recommendations could make or break you when it comes to locking down clients. Ask previous clients and employers for positive testimonials about your work. When listing your testimonial, be sure to provide the name of your employer and the company you worked for, as this will give the recommendation more credibility and appear more attractive to prospective clients.
Use a Temp Agency
Staffing agencies might be a great option to utilize if you’re having trouble attracting a client on your own. Recruiters can serve as an excellent connection point to employers. While some of these may be regular full-time positions, there has been a rise in employers seeking remote, contract developers, and for good reason. Hiring an in-house employee comes with a bevy of expenditures on top of salary, including benefits and the provision of equipment. With the recent advancements in technology platforms that incorporate ALM software, employers are able to manage entire projects from afar, allowing outsourced employees to access projects in real time, no matter where they are. This means the market is saturated with employers seeking out high-quality, but cost-effective, development options—cue the influx of freelancing developers.
It’s true of any industry; social connections improve your chances of success tenfold. It’s essential to attend meetups and other social networking events to make your name well-known and foster relationships with important individuals in your field. Attend seminars to visit with likeminded individuals, join web development chat rooms to get insight into other’s experiences (learn what to do and what not to do during your freelance career), and take any opportunity to become more connected in the industry.
Practice Your Writing
As a web developer, you know that quality content is king, so why not try your hand at writing? Putting your thoughts to paper (or to the web page) is an easy way to establish credibility in your field. Having an article or development tutorial featured on multiple websites will give you exposure to a wider audience and serve as an extra source of income. Writing quality articles will help you better build your brand; the more teaching moments you provide, the more trusted you’ll be as a source for quality web development—believe that employers take note. Not a fantastic writer? Harness the power of social media to boost your personal brand; tweet out important news, maintain conversations, and answer questions to software development questions.
If you’re looking to throw your hat in the freelance web development ring, utilize these strategies to best position yourself for success.
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Good luck in your search,