Many people that are just getting into Freelance Web Development I notice do not know exactly where to start. I would say this is normal, however, I have a few tips for the newbies out there to get you started. Below I will share with you some things that I have learned in the time that I have been a freelance developer.
Simple Ways To Become A Better Freelance Web Developer
- Number one rule is to be organized. Keep track of everything you do. Income, expenses, important documents, dates and times, etc…
- Network with like minded people. If you don’t get your name out there, then how will prospective clients know you are there?
- Always stay learning. In this career field, technology is always evolving and making great leaps. There is no other way to learn it other than to study it – I recommend hands on learning.
- Be Innovative. Make yourself stand out from the rest. What would make a potential client pick you over someone else? Develop a unique style or a broad range of talents that make you valuable.
- Lastly, but certainly not least, is to learn how to sell. Whether you are marketing yourself or a brand you need to know how to sell your products or services well. Identifying and researching your target market will get you a great sense of what your dealing with.
I suppose with a few exceptions, these rules will apply to most freelance positions. If there are any I have missed, or you feel are important please share them in the comments below, I would love to get your thoughts on these. I’m always trying to improve myself and this would be a good opportunity to do that.
I have covered the behavioral aspects of bettering yourself, but that isn’t all. Below I will reveal some of the tools I find invaluable in aiding me with some of the above points.
Tools For Maximizing Productivity And Minimizing Stress
- A Mac Computer. Now I’m no apple fan-boy but I genuinely believe that owning an apple computer boosts productivity and boasts some major conveniences over other computers. Believe it or not, I used to be a hardcore PC user (I could never see myself switching to apple products), but I have had influence from other developer friends to help me switch. The ease of use is just amazing, and not to mention all the amazing apps available. If you are comfortable with a PC don’t switch.
- File Synchronization such as Dropbox. If you work over multiple computers, maybe at an office and at home, having a way to access all your files everywhere is kind of nice. Not only is Dropbox good for single users, but if you work with a team of developers or designers, its a great way to collaborate and keep all your team members working on the same page. Also its great for backing up your files in case of emergencies.
- A good code editor. I personally use Coda. It has tons of features all in one simple, self contained program. It is pretty customizable and extendable to allow for different environments and or coding styles. It includes reference books of programming languages, CSS editor, live site preview, easy access to any servers you work with, source control and a lot of other features. I don’t want to sound like a Coda advocate, but I really do love it and maybe you would like to give it a try?
- A way to get paid! Arguably the best tool for the simple fact that it helps you collect your money! I use a lovely app called Billings by Marketcircle. It does almost everything – It tracks your time through tasks categorized under projects and further under clients. It allows you to send invoices, which you can customize through an easy to use interface. You can customize your hourly rates, and how you charge. I would say Billings is my most valuable app right now. Who doesn’t like getting paid right?
- Skype is a great way to keep in touch and collaborate with your other development buddies and friends. I’m pretty sure you already have it though. Skype is open on my computer basically anytime its turned on (very often). Because of my assumption, I wont go into much detail, but I will outline its main features – like voice calls and video chats, its also good for sharing small files.
- If you have ever made a mistake coding, or accidentally deleted a file/entire Website I’m sure you have felt the pain of countless hours (hopefully not that bad) gone down the drain. A Source Control or Version Control System might be a good idea for you. A popular software many people use including myself is Github, which is built upon Git – A Fast Version Control System. It allows you to save changes of your code at any point in time you like, then return to how your code was exactly at that moment it was saved. This concept is completely repeatable as many times as you need. I also have a helpful post with some Useful Git Commands which should get you started if you don’t already know the system.
- Lastly, A good Internet Browser. Somewhere along the lines of Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, or Opera. But please anything but Internet Explorer. Using a good browser makes things so much easier on your users part and yours. You are opened up to many new and cutting edge technologies that when combined in the right manner, can create stunning websites; enjoyable for everyone.
Well thanks for reading this post. It is meant to help you out and make you a better freelancer. If you follow these simple steps (no need to use these apps/services to be better), I guarentee you will become a better Freelancer and Even a better person overall. Just please, one thing that I did forget to mention above was to be passionate. You should love what you do regardless of how little or much you make. If you are dreadful making websites, don’t do it. Do something you love. Thanks for reading and happy coding!
And if you haven't already, you should follow me on twitter!Follow @zackperdue