How To Get That First Freelance Web Development Client

Getting your feet wet with freelancing is easy, and potentially lucrative. If you’re looking to get into web development, what better way than to begin by helping new clients launch their own online businesses. Freelancing gives you the opportunity to work for yourself and make a good living in an industry that will only continue to grow as more people look for ways to cut out the middleman.

You might be worried at first about taking that first step and if it’s your first time freelancing, there are a lot of things that could go wrong. I know because it happened to me! The more I worked with them, the more confident I became in my skills and my ability to deliver results for whatever projects they might have needed me for.

But what do you need to make all of this happen?

How to get your first client as a freelance web developer
Key Takeaways
Freelance web development requires a strong foundation of technical skills, business acumen, and effective communication.
Finding your first client can be a daunting task, but there are many strategies to help you get started.
Networking, building a strong online presence, and leveraging job platforms are all effective ways to find freelance web development work.
Providing quality work and excellent customer service can lead to repeat business and referrals.
Continuous learning and staying up-to-date with the latest technologies and trends is essential to staying competitive in the industry.

1. Showcase Your Work

If you’re a web developer and want to move into freelance work, it can seem like an impossible challenge: How do you find that first client? It’s hard enough to bring in money as a side job while you figure out the pieces of running your own business. But if someone told you that they could build your freelance business for you and get you paid, would you listen? Of course!

What if we took all of our experience of managing and building businesses in the past decade, put it all together and created something great for web developers looking to take their first steps towards becoming freelancers. 

Something where we share everything we know about getting started as a freelancer? We know what it is like when starting out fresh with no clients. When trying to make your way into the world of freelancing, especially as a web developer or designer, it can really be hard. There are so many distractions: forums, Facebook groups, Twitter chats. You name it.

What we’ve done with Freelance Create is simple: We’ve made a place where everyone knows what they need to do next to become successful at freelancing. The best bit is that once users get on board they are going to be part of a growing community that will help them succeed!

As a freelance web developer, it’s important to continuously improve your skills and stay up-to-date with the latest trends. Our guide on improving your web design freelancing career offers expert tips to help you elevate your game and stand out from the competition.

2. Answer Questions

Asking questions is the best way to learn how to do a task. Managers like it when you show that you really want to know how things work, and your client will feel respected by your desire to understand their needs. By the end of this article, you’ll know what kinds of questions to ask and why they matter. In turn, that will help you get more clients.

The first time I interviewed with a company, I was so nervous I thought my phone call would be shaky and hard to hear. My mind raced: “What kind of questions should I ask? What if they think these aren’t good questions?” Then I listened carefully as the person on the other end of the line spoke about their business needsthey had an app built with Ruby on Rails, which is a framework for web development that uses Ruby.

This led me to my first question: “If you could build anything for this app, what would it be?” They said they wanted a mobile version of the site because people were using phones more often than computers for browsing online content. 

As we continued talking through their problems and goals, I had more opportunities to ask questions about how everything fit together. When we finished our conversation, it felt like we’d covered everything important about their project and ended up with a complete picture in our minds about what needed done for them next.

3. Focus On One Thing

Getting your first freelance web development client can be a daunting prospect. If you’re a beginner, it’s easy to feel like you know nothing and have no experience. But at the same time, it’s also easy to feel overwhelmed with all of the options out there (e.g., which programming language? which CMS? which type of website?, etc.).

 It’s important to not get caught up in this overabundance of choices, as it can cause paralysis and prevent you from taking any steps forward.

For your first client, I recommend choosing one thing to focus on above all else:

Focus on one programming language: Choose just one programming language for web development and stick to it for your first few clients. You don’t necessarily need to fully master the language; rather, focus on becoming proficient enough so that you can build basic websites without much outside help or research. 

You’ll probably want to pick something fairly popular since there is bigger demand for those skills (and therefore more potential clients). Examples of popular languages include PHP, ASP, Ruby/Ruby on Rails, Python/Django, and Java/Spring. 

When selecting a programming language for your freelance work, keep these things in mind:

Client demand : Is there heavy market demand for this particular skill? Check out job boards or ask around locally if possible.

Popularity : How commonly used is this particular skill by other people online? Keep in mind that many online tutorials are geared towards certain programming languages and software frameworks; look for “beginner” resources that are more likely to be helpful than others.

Required skill level : Are you going to have to become an expert at this technology in order for end users not to notice any problems with the finished product? Will fixing bugs be a common occurrence due to complicated code? These aspects could make hiring someone else later easier down the road if troubleshooting becomes too difficult or time-consuming. * Focus on one CMS :

Starting a freelance web design business can be overwhelming, but with the right guidance and strategies, you can set yourself up for success. Our article on 19 rules for starting freelance web design provides practical advice and insights to help you get started on the right foot.

4. Know The Market

If you’re looking for your first freelance web development client, it’s important to know exactly what you’re doing. If you don’t know your competitors, or the audience you’re selling to, or even what services you offer and what services others are offering in the same niche, then how can you expect to get even a single paying customer?

5. Know Your Competition

Although there are many great tools out there that allow freelancers to bid on projects and find work, the most surefire way to make sure that the clients knocking on your door are serious ones is by getting involved with local business organizations. 

Take advantage of any networking events in your area (these usually involve free food) and talk up your business as much as possible. Other freelancers might be interested in hearing about how they can improve their own businesses or perhaps might have some leads for a mutually beneficial partnership. It’s very likely that someone at one of these events would be looking for a new website design or web development service provider the perfect opportunity to give them your pitch!

Are you considering hiring a freelance web designer for your business? There are many benefits to working with a freelancer, from cost savings to a fresh perspective on your website. Check out our article on why hiring a freelance web designer may help you to learn more about the advantages of this approach.

6. Know Your Audience: Know What You’re Selling

If this is your first time working as a freelancer, it’s crucial that you figure out exactly what it is that drives sales for you. Do people respond better when they receive lots of examples from which they can choose before settling on something? Or do they prefer to see quick mock-ups before anything else? 

Everyone has their own methods of selling; yours just needs more refinement! Once you’ve worked with more than one client and been able to determine which approach is most suitable for each customer, then things will start moving much more smoothly.

7. Know What You’re Buying: Know What You Offer

Knowing exactly what kind of freelancing work appeals most to potential customers is just one half of having an effective sales strategy—now it’s time to look at how valuable those services actually are! Although this may seem like common sense, take some time now while working on your

8. Network With The Right People

If you’re new to freelancing, the prospect of landing your first client can be daunting. How are you supposed to know who’d be interested in hiring you? This is one place where a strong personal network comes in handy. Here’s a rundown on some groups that can help you get out of the gate in no time:

  • Your university alumni network
  • Silicon Valley cultural community events
  • SaaS communities (there are lots)

One of the biggest challenges for freelance web developers is finding clients. But with the right strategies and mindset, you can attract new business and grow your portfolio. Our guide on how to get freelance web design clients offers practical tips and advice to help you build your client base and boost your income.

9. Jump Out Of Your Comfort Zone

You’ve finally decided to take the plunge and freelance as a web developer. You’re excited. You’re motivated. And you realize that now is the time to get out of your comfort zone and make it happen. But how?

There are lots of ways to level up: You can try a new programming language, or dive into a new framework like React or Meteor, which will stretch your brain and bring in more money and they’ll do so by giving you more opportunities than you’d have otherwise. New technologies also give you future job security, which is great for your long-term career plans.

You could also improve your efficiency by learning about remote working, or even try building an app from scratch (after getting help with structuring the backend). That self-confidence boost from writing software from scratch will be invaluable in helping you land clients later on.

10. You Can’t Get That First Client Without Showing Off Your Work

I’ll be the first to admit that I was extremely lucky when I got my first freelance client. It was a fairly large company working on a pretty big project, and they took a chance on me a guy who had only been freelancing for about three weeks. But if you really want to make freelance work work for you, you have to be able to network and build relationships. Here are some tips:

  • Never miss an opportunity to show off your work
  • Don’t ever make the client email or call you; contact them yourself
  • Have good business cards

As a freelance web developer, having the right tools can make all the difference in your productivity and efficiency. From project management software to design tools, there are many options available to help you streamline your workflow. Check out our article on 10 web design tools that will make your life easier as a freelancer to discover some of the top tools used by professionals in the industry.

Final Thoughts

It seems like getting that first freelance web development client will always be the hardest part of starting your career, but once you’ve earned that first check, writing code for other people is just like doing it for yourself. 

This guide approached the topic of selling yourself as a freelancer from multiple angles: building your portfolio and website, networking with potential clients, and putting together a professional proposal for those who are interested in your services. But now comes the hard part: actually applying what you’ve read. In our experience, the best way to get over this initial hump is to treat each potential client as if they’re already on board.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to help you on your journey to becoming a successful freelance web developer:

How to Get Your First Freelance Web Development Job: This article offers practical tips for landing your first web development gig as a freelancer.

How to Get Clients as a Freelance Developer: Hostinger provides a step-by-step guide to help you find and attract new clients as a freelance developer.

5 Steps to Getting Your First Remote Web Development Freelance Client in 2018: This Medium post provides insights and advice on how to land your first remote web development client as a freelancer.


How do I find my first freelance web development client?

There are several ways to find your first freelance web development client, such as reaching out to your network, attending networking events, creating a strong online presence, and utilizing freelance job platforms.

How can I set my freelance web development rates?

Setting your freelance web development rates can be tricky, but it’s important to consider factors such as your skill level, experience, market demand, and project scope. Research industry standards and adjust accordingly based on your own situation.

How can I create a portfolio as a freelance web developer?

Creating a portfolio as a freelance web developer is essential to showcase your skills and attract potential clients. You can create a portfolio website, use online portfolio platforms, or showcase your work on social media.

How do I manage my time effectively as a freelance web developer?

Managing your time effectively as a freelance web developer requires discipline and organization. Utilize time-tracking tools, set boundaries with clients, prioritize tasks, and schedule breaks to avoid burnout.

How can I market myself as a freelance web developer?

Marketing yourself as a freelance web developer involves creating a strong online presence, networking, and showcasing your skills and experience. Utilize social media, attend industry events, and create a professional website to establish yourself as an expert in your field.

Will There Be A Lot Of Competition?

Yes. Getting a web development client is going to take hard work and perseverance, but it’s totally doable. There are resources out there that can help you figure out what you need to do in order to get started, how much you can charge, and other questions you might have.

What If I Don’t Know How To Build Websites?

If you want to be a freelance web developer, you will probably have to teach yourself! You can learn from online courses, and there are plenty of free online resources as well as paid ones. It will take time and effort, but it’s totally possible if you set your mind to it.

How Do I Get My First Web Development Client?

You’re going to want to start by making a portfolio: choose some projects you’ve done and talk about them in a way that shows off how much you know and how good you are at what you do. That’s the best way for people to see your talent. 

Then, reach out to people or companies who need work done you can find these places online or in person. You can also try contacting companies that are hiring but don’t have any front-end developers on their team yet.

How Do I Figure Out What Technologies I Should Learn For Web Development?

If you’re just getting into web development, it’s probably best if you focus on learning HTML5 and CSS3 first, because those are the foundations of front-end development. After that, you can learn JavaScript to be able to make your sites more interactive. 

You’ll also want to learn something called Git, which is a version control system that will help you manage your files so they don’t get messed up when you’re working on them and collaborating with other developers.

Do I Need A College Degree?

No! There are plenty of developers who have never been to college, and they’re doing well. Just be sure you have the skills to do the work. This means you know how to build responsive sites with HTML, CSS, and Javascript, and you know at least one programming language really well.

Should I Get Certifications?

If you want them, get them! But beware of those that don’t give you hands-on experience. It’s much more important that you can actually do the work than that you’ve passed a multiple-choice test about it.

What If I Don’t Know Any Programming Languages?

It’s time to start learning! If you don’t know what languages are best to learn for web development, here’s some advice:

HTML and CSS are the only two languages that are required for every single website on the internet today. Learning these will give you a great foundation for understanding how websites work and how they’re built, even if your goal is to become an app developer or use other programming languages.

Javascript is another great place to start because it runs on both the frontend (client side) and backend (server side).

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