How To Become A Freelance Web Developer. A Step-By-Step Guide

Freelance web development is a type of work where independent professionals create websites for their clients. Freelancers forgo the traditional office setting and instead take on projects from any location with an internet connection. Freelancers also have control over their time and workload. They can decide when they want to work and when they’re available for new projects as well as determine which projects and clients they want to work with.

A freelance web developer manages the technical aspects of website design by writing code in languages like JavaScript, CSS, PHP, and HTML. They collaborate with designers in making sure the website looks visually appealing while also ensuring its functionality through backend programming languages like Python or Ruby On Rails. 

Some freelancers may choose to specialize in either frontend or backend web development or sometimes even both! It depends on who you are working with and which tasks you are responsible for that day. Since freelancers usually don’t have an employer telling them what to do each day, there’s a lot of flexibility within this career path!

This guide will teach you how to become a freelance web developer. You’ll learn what it’s all about, what skills you’ll need, and all the steps to get started in your new career.

Becoming A Freelance Web Developer For Beginners In 2023
Freelance web development can provide flexibility and autonomy for those who are willing to put in the effort.
Building a strong portfolio and network of clients is crucial for success as a freelance web developer.
Freelancers need to possess both technical and soft skills, such as communication and problem-solving.
Finding clients can be challenging, but utilizing various marketing and networking strategies can help.
Freelance web development can offer potential for higher rates of pay compared to traditional employment.

Get A Formal Education Or Learn Programming On Your Own

Every developer will tell you that at the beginning of his or her career, there were two options to choose from:

Learn to code on your own. When I started learning to code in 2016, people learned how to code on their own. They bought books, watched YouTube videos and tutorials, and followed online courses. I’ve done it myself back then.

Go to a coding Bootcamp. Then came the coding boot camps that teach you how to program in just a few months. The best-known example is probably the General Assembly in New York City. Most people learn HTML/CSS/JS there and are hired as junior developers by smaller companies after they graduate (the famous web dev jobs).

Attend university and get a degree in Computer Science or a related subject (mathematics, physics)

The advantage of going through these options is that you can focus on building projects for clients as soon as possible and be paid for it rather than focus on other non-essential subjects like history or literature

Starting your own freelance web development business can be challenging, but with the right strategy and mindset, it can be incredibly rewarding. Check out our guide on how to build a freelance web development business for tips on getting started and growing your business.

Choose A Niche

The first step to becoming a successful freelance Web developer is to choose a niche. Choosing the right niche is critical to your success. You must choose something you are passionate about, something you are good at, something that you will enjoy doing, and something that is in high demand. It’s even better if it’s a high-demand niche that has been around for a while and will continue to be in demand for many years.

Once you find the perfect niche, you want to start building your knowledge of the different aspects of that niche so that you can become an expert. For example, if your chosen niche was “web design” then some areas within it would be WordPress development, HTML development, CSS development, and so on.

So basically when choosing your main web development area of expertise, focus on one or two main categories (such as WordPress development) but also make sure there are areas within those categories where you can build up multiple skills (such as plugin creation or theme creation). 

That way when someone comes to hire you for X particular project, there’s always a chance they might hire you for Y particular project instead because not only do they like your skills but they also like working with YOU! This will help build up trust between clients and yourself which is another key component of successful freelancing!

Develop A Product

If you have a product or service to sell, then you’re probably wondering how to make a living in this field. You might have already spent time and money building up your skills, but it’s likely that you still feel frustrated when it comes to making sales and getting clients.

Even if you haven’t created anything yet, the first step is to develop a product that will help you achieve your goals. Over time, this can evolve into something that other people may want or need. If your goal is to make money with web development and you believe that this can be done without spending any money on marketing, then consider building an online course for others who are just starting out.

If you know what kind of product to build and who your audience will be (not everyone likes the same things), then the next step is to figure out how much it will cost. 

Don’t worry about whether this whole thing will work out instead, focus on what type of the business idea makes sense for your situation: Are there any costs involved? What are those costs? Is there anything else I can charge for so I don’t have to provide everything free? 

Does my potential customer have a credit card or PayPal account? Are they willing to pay more than they would normally spend on something like this? The more questions you answer now about your product idea, the less time you’ll spend on things that won’t end up helping anybody get started (like figuring out how much it would cost). When all else fails, pick one of these strategies:

Transitioning to a career as a freelance web developer can be overwhelming, but learning from the experiences of others can make the process smoother. Check out our article on things I wish someone had told me when I became a freelance web developer to learn from the mistakes and successes of others.

Offer Your Services To Employers

Once you have some experience under your belt, it’s time to look for work. There are plenty of resources out there that can help you find jobs.

Google coworking spaces near you and call them up to ask how they can help connect you with potential employers, freelance opportunities, or tech meetups that can give your career and business a boost. Coworking spaces typically host a variety of events, like tech meetups, where web developers from all over the city can network.

Job Sites

Go to popular job sites like Indeed or Monster and type in the search box “freelance web developer” followed by the name of your city or state. You’ll be able to browse through recent postings and contact the companies who are advertising for freelance web developers with an email of introduction mentioning why their position sounds like a good fit for you.

Get Yourself Into The Market

A junior developer is a starting out web developer. As a junior, you are still learning your tools and how to use them. You’ll likely be mentored by more experienced developers and paired with more senior co-workers (on big projects) who will help guide you through your tasks.

On the other hand, a senior developer has been in the game for years. A senior developer is able to work independently on their own projects; they know how to get things done quickly and efficiently.

It’s important as a junior to get yourself into the market as soon as possible so that you can start building your portfolio! In order to find these opportunities, look into local development meetups in your area and attend events hosted by companies that hire developers. If you can’t make it out to an event for some reason, check out job boards such as Indeed or Stack Overflow Jobs. Once you’ve found something that seems like an opportunity for growth, apply for it!

Learn From Your Experience As A Junior Developer

You have to learn from your experience as a junior developer. You will not get it right the first time and that is okay. There’s no such thing as the perfect code, but you can always improve. That’s what you should be striving for – improvement.

There are lots of things about software development that require experience to fully understand:

Best practices for writing code

The software development lifecycle and different developer methodologies

Developer tools (task runners, linters, test runners)

Working in teams – Git and GitHub workflows, communication in teams…

Writing documentation – how do write technical documentation and why do we need it at all? What kind of docs does our project need? Who should write them? When and where do you publish these documents? How often do you need to update them?  If you are familiar with these things but have no practical experience, don’t worry! You’ve got a ton of time ahead of yourself to learn all this stuff while working on real projects with other developers.

Starting out as a new web developer freelancer can be exciting, but also challenging. To help you avoid some common mistakes, we’ve put together a guide on 9 mistakes new web developer freelancers make and how to avoid them that can save you time and headaches in the long run.

Create A Brand For Yourself

Start building an online presence. This is the first step toward starting a brand, and it’s simple to do. Sign up for social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. While you’re at it, create a website with your own domain for yourself using a personal website creation tool like WordPress or Squarespace. Update these sites daily!

Start building a portfolio. Create a collection of work that you’ve done so far. If you don’t have any yet, start working on some test projects to build out your portfolio! Show off the best work you’ve got!

Start building a resume. Include all of the relevant information about your technical skills on this resume: languages you know, the software you’re familiar with, etc. Make sure it looks good and professional! Resume templates are available online for your convenience – just choose one and fill in your info!

Start building a network. Reach out to people who can help connect you with potential employers or people who might want hiring advice from someone like yourself – connections go both ways here so keep that in mind while networking!

Don’t forget about networking events too; they offer great opportunities to meet new people and make friends in the industry if there aren’t any near where you live then why not host one? Just remember not everyone will want their contact information shared so always ask before adding someone’s name/email address/phone number etc.

Create A Website For Yourself And Build An Online Presence For Your Business

One of the most important things you can do as a freelancer is to create a website for yourself and build an online presence for your business. This will allow you to showcase your skills, attract clients and sell your products. Moreover, it will allow you to reach out to the community and make valuable connections.

Here are some tips you should keep in mind when creating your portfolio:

  • Your website should have a clean design and should be easy to navigate
  • Make sure that all of your contact information is clearly displayed (phone number, email address, physical address)
  • Consider adding a blog page where you share industry news or best practices

Create Connections With Fellow Developers And Business Owners

As fellow developers, we can support each other with advice. The more connections you make, the more people will be there to help you when you need it. I’ve had developers in my network reach out to me for help with their landing page and I’ve been able to offer pointers and even provide feedback on their work.

Business owners are also going to be valuable connections as they may hire a developer one day or know someone who is looking for a developer. They are happy to connect with someone in the industry who could potentially help them out in the future and if they do need your services later down the line, they are likely to come back to you! You don’t necessarily need to have a full-fledged conversation about what you do either; cultivating these relationships will lead naturally to them knowing more about your business when they’re ready.

Having these connections will also allow potential clients and partners easy access to your network which means that when opportunities arise, others can vouch for you by recommending your services (and vice versa). This is why networking events or conferences may be worth attending – because it gives people an opportunity not only to meet new contacts but also to get referrals from those contacts at some point later down the line “in life”.

Becoming a successful freelance web developer requires more than just technical skills. To thrive in this field, you need a combination of soft skills and technical abilities. Check out our guide on what freelancing skills should a developer have to learn about the essential skills that can set you apart from the competition.

Start Writing Your Own Blog And Give Away Useful Information To The Community

I’m not talking about writing a book here, but a blog. Writing is the best way to become better at anything.

It’s also the best way to learn so much new information and stay updated on what’s going on in the industry. It helps you stay sharp!

But at the same time…

It’s also your chance to help other people with your experience and knowledge, which is why I love it so much!

It doesn’t really matter how good or bad of a writer you are right now. Your content can be good and helpful for someone else, even if it sucks for you. Just start writing about whatever you feel like sharing with others, and be proud of yourself for that!

You will get better over time

Being able to write well has helped me tremendously in my freelancing career 

The reason why clients hire me is that I can communicate clearly through conversations (which is mainly just proofreading of my emails) and writing (I interview them first before we start working together).

As a creative introvert, creating a killer website can feel like a daunting task. However, with the right approach, you can build a website that showcases your skills and attracts clients. Check out our guide on how to create a killer website when you’re a creative introvert for tips on creating a website that reflects your unique style and talents.

Final Thought

In short, freelance web developers need a solid understanding of programming and good communication skills. They should also be able to work independently. While it helps if you have a background in computer science or a related field, this isn’t required.

Now go out there and get started!

Further Reading

CareerFoundry: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Freelance Web Developer: A comprehensive guide that covers the essentials of starting a career as a freelance web developer.

Hostinger: How to Become a Freelance Web Developer: A step-by-step tutorial that provides practical advice on how to start a career as a freelance web developer.

Indeed: How to Become a Freelance Web Developer: An article that offers tips and insights on becoming a successful freelance web developer.


What is a freelance web developer?

A freelance web developer is a professional who works independently on a project-by-project basis, rather than being employed by a single company. Freelance web developers typically work remotely and are responsible for building and maintaining websites for clients.

What skills do you need to become a freelance web developer?

To become a successful freelance web developer, you need a combination of technical and soft skills. Technical skills include proficiency in programming languages, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, as well as knowledge of web development frameworks and tools. Soft skills such as communication, time management, and problem-solving are also crucial for freelancers.

How much do freelance web developers make?

The income of freelance web developers varies depending on factors such as experience, location, and industry. According to PayScale, the average hourly rate for a freelance web developer in the United States is around $32 per hour, but some experienced freelancers can charge significantly more.

How do you find clients as a freelance web developer?

Finding clients as a freelance web developer involves a combination of networking, marketing, and self-promotion. You can build a portfolio of work and promote your services through social media, freelance job boards, and personal contacts. Referrals from satisfied clients can also be a powerful tool for finding new clients.

What are the benefits of being a freelance web developer?

Freelance web development offers several advantages, including flexibility, autonomy, and the ability to choose your projects and clients. As a freelancer, you can set your own schedule, work from anywhere, and earn potentially higher rates than a traditional employee. However, freelancing also comes with challenges, such as the need to manage your finances and workload effectively.

Do I Need To Know How To Build Applications?

No. It is good to know how to do this, but most web developers will never have a reason to create an application.

How Do I Get A Job As A Web Developer?

The best way to get a job in web development is through the personal connections of the people you have met while working with or studying web development. You should be able to make at least two connections who are willing and able to help you find work.

 If you don’t know anyone involved in the industry, then try attending meetups and conferences for freelancers. These events can often be attended for free or very low cost, and are an excellent way for new freelancers to connect with potential clients.

What Does A Web Developer Earn? 

The average salary for a web developer is about $100k per year, although some make more than that depending on their location and experience level. In addition, many freelance developers choose not only how much money they want to earn but also what kind of work they want to do (full-time vs part-time). This means that even if your income isn’t quite as high as it could be right now, there’s always room for improvement!

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