As a freelance developer, you’re constantly looking for ways to keep your client pipeline flowing. But as coding becomes a more common skill, the number of competitors who can seemingly undercut you at every turn is rising. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t enough clients to go around, nor does it mean you aren’t talented enough to stand out from the crowd.
Whenever a conversation about freelancing kicks off with fellow developer friends, we’re always discussing the same concerns:
- How can I get more clients as a freelance developer?
- I finished a coding bootcamp and I want to get started as a freelancer. How can I start?
- How do you deal with cheap competition?
- How much should I charge?
As a developer your job is to solve problems. You’re not just selling websites, plugins or apps — you’re helping a client achieve a specific and tangible goal. To attract the right kind of clients, that mentality of providing value rather than a soulless service needs to surround your work and personal brand. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how you can apply that mentality to reality.
I have prepared a list of the top 7 ways of how you can get new clients for free.
- Contribute to Open Source Projects
Being a professional developer takes more than just calling yourself one. Getting involved in open source projects is a great way to cement your reputation as a developer with a purpose.
- Work For Free (For Now)
Most freelancers balk at doing free work. It can indeed be a difficult pill to swallow, but the benefits can be immense, especially if you’re just getting started.
- Go Niche
By going after a very specific market, or by specializing in a particular language or technology, you immediately decrease the amount of competition for new work — and at the same time, you can work on mastering that one dimension of your craft, which gives you a reason to charge more.
- Create a Referral Engine
If you have any previous (and satisfied) clients, they can be great sources of new work for you. Whenever you complete a new project for a client you should have a follow-up sequence.
- Use the “Be Everywhere” Approach
If you want potential clients to find you online before they find your closest competitors, be everywhere.
That means getting your personal brand or agency a website, a Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and everything else in between.
- Befriend Fellow Freelancers
Maybe it’s time to stop seeing other freelancers as your competition, and start seeing them as your community.
It can be helpful to build a rapport first by sharing their work on social media, or by commenting on their blog. Once they know you exist, let them know you’re available to help if they’re too busy and need to delegate work to someone capable.
- Get Listed on Freelance Marketplaces
Don’t hesitate to create your own profile on freelance marketplaces. A lot of job boards are filled with low-paying job postings and a high level of competition. Most of them should be avoided, but not all.
Most of the marketplaces are free to join. Here are the most popular ones:
— Upwork (formerly oDesk)
— 99 Designs
- Produce Content at Scale
Content marketing can be an incredible way to get new leads for your freelance business. Blogging on your own website and sharing it across channels is the best way to start.
- Pay Attention to Your Own Website
No one would trust his website to a company that can’t optimize their own one. It goes without saying that the design and functionality of your website should be on point. Make it as user-friendly and intuitive for the user as possible. However, this is not the major factor.
- Offer Free Stuff
This magical word “free” can do you a good turn, Offer special deals, promos and discounts.
As you see there are plenty of ways to attract new web design clients. Some of them will bring instant results, some work better over the long term. Trying several of them working together you will be able to achieve a positive outcome in the shortest possible period of time. Anyway, you should not be afraid of experimenting and trying new things. Your main goal is to learn to sell your services. This is your key to success in the web design business.