Instead, you now need to consider the issues that come with owning your own firm. things like project management, future initiatives, marketing, and accountancy. In the past, you might have worked with someone who only performed one of those tasks. However, as a freelancer, it is now your responsibility to manage them all.
Therefore, we’ll be looking at the different talents needed to be a successful freelance web developer in this piece. Of course, we’ll talk about technical talents, but we’ll also discuss the abilities you’ll need to manage a company or yourself as an independent contractor.
The talents we often consider for developers are technical. You need these abilities to finish the services you provide and sell to clients. That may be anything from front-end React development to back-end development using AWS. You must have the abilities to carry out the tasks and pitches you present to clients if you want to flourish as a freelancer. We wrote earlier how hard is website designing?
It’s quite widely known that a developer is probably lying if they claim to know everything. As a freelancer, you must stay up to date on the most recent web development news and adjust to the changing times as necessary because the digital industry is changing more quickly than ever and new technologies are emerging every day.
When new technology and tools become popular, you can position yourself in the market in a special way if you have the ability to quickly learn new concepts and skills. But this is only possible if you have a quick learning curve, so how do you do that?
The real answer to this question varies for each person, but what you need to know is how to learn most effectively. Although it may not seem like a skill, being able to effectively process information and translate it into useful actions can put you in a strong position to outperform competitors in the market.
Try experimenting with several techniques in order to determine how you learn best. Since there is no one ideal approach to learn for everyone, engaging in an experiment is the greatest way to discover yours. After discovering the techniques that are effective for you, concentrate on integrating them into your processes and systems.
If you don’t have the actual talents to complete your jobs, it’s good to have all the other skills necessary to be a successful freelancer, but you won’t be in business for very long. The bottom line is that if people are paying you to be a developer, you should be able to complete the assignment.
Avoid making inflated results promises and then underdelivering on the finished product. Customers won’t just be dissatisfied, but it may also spoil a solid working relationship and prevent you from working with them again on future projects.
The ideal answer for a client’s issue may occasionally not be the one that immediately relates to your preferred technology, service, or area of interest. To guarantee that the best option is chosen for the customer and the project, you must be able to think critically and objectively.
It’s not always the tech stack being used on a project that matters the most. Sometimes it’s about helping the client achieve their objectives and making them happy with the project’s outcome.
It’s true that you are running a business as a freelance web developer, even though some people may not prefer to call it that. As a result, even though it may not come naturally to you to think like a businessperson, you still need to adapt and acquire their traits.
Project management, the fundamentals of bookkeeping and accounting, branding, and marketing are just a few examples. There are plenty of talents to pick up here; the key is to learn the ones that will enable you to address the issues facing your company and move it forward.
Good organization is the cornerstone of any successful business, whether it be managing client meetings, project files, contracts, proposals, invoicing, or backups of crucial data and corporate papers. The truth is that efficiency and structure must be at the center of your business if you want to spend more time focusing on client projects and expanding it.
It can be simple to ignore administration and maintaining an orderly structure in favor of concentrating on the work that is coming in, but what happens when it’s time to get paid? Has that customer paid already? What were the agreement’s terms? And how much do they currently pay? Answering these questions could easily lead you down a rabbit hole of going through old emails and conversations in search of the answers if you don’t have a good system in place.
Time and project management
There are many moving pieces in running a firm that must continue to move or operations will stall. Meetings with clients, meeting deadlines, or breaking the task down into milestones and completing them all fall under this category.
You might have had a project manager following you for every deadline when you were working a full-time job, but that isn’t the case anymore, so it’s up to you to be truthful with yourself and with the progress you’re making. You must make sure you’re on track to fulfill the deadlines and allot the required resources and time to achieve the project’s ambitions and goals.
As a developer, managing projects and your time might not come naturally to you, but that’s okay. Start out simple by allocating yourself some time at the beginning of each project to set up some goals based on the logical sections of the project. For instance, they might be design, development, and review. You might then experiment with new project management approaches as you gain comfort and expertise to evaluate which ones work best for your workflow.
When it comes down to it, failing to meet deadlines and follow through on your commitments is one of the quickest ways to end a business relationship and guarantee that clients won’t hire you again in the future.
Marketing and branding
Whether you go by a corporate name or not, as a freelancer you are on your own in the world. You won’t be in business for very long if you can’t discover a reliable source of new business and clients to pay the expenses. Marketing and branding can help with this.
I’m aware that many developers roll their eyes when they hear the word “marketing,” but the truth is that you have to do it if you’re a freelancer. You must be able to promote yourself successfully and create a brand for the services you provide.
In the end, you want to establish a strong enough market presence so that customers approach you without you having to make any sales pitches, etc. People have seen your marketing and branding efforts, so they are aware that they want you.
Sharing your work and the journey that projects and clients take with you in public is one of the best methods to accomplish this effect. Social media or blogs are both options for sharing. However, by documenting the path, you are not only sharing your work but also developing a reputation and social proof, which may reassure potential clients who are conducting background checks on you.
At a more detailed level, this can involve activities like SEO and creating a robust online presence that appeals to the type of work you wish to attract. For instance, if you create marketing websites for coffee shops, you should market and brand yourself appropriately so that your name and business appear when people search for “coffee shop website developer” (assuming there are many people searching for that).
If you work full-time, it’s likely that work is delivered to you and that you are simply given projects or tickets to work on on a daily basis. You now have to fend for yourself as a freelance developer, find your own projects, and work to make ends meet.
To ensure that others think of you when they need something done in your niche or using the technologies you work with, you must network to meet new people, widen your relationships, and strengthen existing ones.
Although it may seem most obvious to network with companies and potential clients there in hopes of finding new employment and career prospects, don’t stop there. Additionally, think about networking with other developers, both employed and independent. Why? Because developers frequently delegate tasks they cannot complete to other capable developers they know.
You can rely on them for support if necessary by establishing links with developers and networking with them. You might have questions if you’ve taken on a project that is a little outside of your comfort zone, such as being a React developer working on a Vue project.
Lastly, you might go a step farther than engineers and establish connections with advertising companies. Agencies occasionally need outside assistance because they lack the internal resources to handle all the work they have going on. Or they could not have any internal development capabilities (like a graphic design agency, for instance), but they nevertheless provide services that frequently go along with website projects. They’ll still be looking for someone they can rely on to give their clients excellent results.
People management and delegation
Finally, we have delegation and people management for the final category of our business skills. You might not think of it right away if you’re trying to succeed as a freelancer because, after all, being a freelancer entails being independent.
Yes and no, I suppose. Sure, as a freelancer you might not employ individuals full-time as that is more of an agency approach. But, even as a freelancer you can still outsource duties you don’t like doing.
For instance, you might outsource design work to a designer for tasks that require it because you don’t enjoy or have the expertise to do it yourself. Alternatively, if you want to focus on your SEO objectives but don’t enjoy generating content, you might hire a writer to do it for you.
Even if you operate independently, you can still collaborate with others on your projects. However, it does imply that in order to benefit the most from outsourcing, you’ll need the right talents. How frequently will you coordinate with each other? You’ll need people management abilities and to be more structured in your approach to projects. Which tasks will you provide them? How much independence can they expect? To get the most out of outsourcing, you’ll have to deal with these issues and difficulties.
Personal talents are the final category. These are the abilities that are more akin to soft skills that you utilize on a daily basis when working on projects or interacting with clients but aren’t immediately relevant to your business or the services you provide.
The abilities in this category may not appear crucial or conventional, but without them, it may be more difficult for you to land and keep a job or fulfill client promises.
In essence, they are the kinds of abilities that enable you to maintain your composure under stress, communicate clearly, and guarantee the timely and high-quality completion of a project.
Communication and charisma
Even if you are a very talented developer, it’s doubtful that you will land the job or fully comprehend the client’s initial requirements if you can’t successfully communicate with potential clients about their projects, ideas, and wants. Will they want to cooperate with you if you can’t answer their inquiries regarding the project in a way that makes them feel at ease?
In order to complete the project to a high standard, you ultimately want to give each client the sense that you are the right person for the task and that you understand their wants and requirements. You won’t succeed in this if you act as though you are an expert and boast about your abilities.
While we’re talking about talking to people and communicating with them, you should also strive to be charismatic. There could be tens, if not hundreds, or even more persons prepared to take on the task and finish the project, thus potential clients are not required to use you for the project. Therefore, you want to have a magnetic personality if you want people to like and desire to work for you.
It’s unlikely that you’ll get the job if you irritate people and treat them rudely, but if you can establish a good rapport with them, you might just get a repeat customer who comes back repeatedly.
Commitment and persistence
Building a freelancing business takes time and can be extremely difficult on your physical, mental, and emotional health for the great majority of people. You must be able to trust in yourself and your abilities to persevere through the challenging times because the ups and downs in income and employment might be unsettling.
Your freelance business is unlikely to prosper and turn into a reliable source of revenue for you if you give up or leave when things become tough. There may probably be times when you doubt your business’s ability to succeed, but it’s important to have the self-assurance and perseverance to go through these challenges and remain dedicated to creating a lucrative freelancing career.
Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, this list is not exhaustive. There are a ton of talents available that would help you and the web development specialty you’re aiming for. When targeting Jamstack marketing websites, this might be design expertise for a UI/UX developer or SEO and marketing expertise.
Therefore, this list is applicable regardless of the type of freelancer you want to be, as opposed to trying to compile a single comprehensive list of every ability you need to be a successful freelancer.
As a final point, I just want to emphasize that anyone can succeed as a freelance web developer. Some people might need to master more abilities than others. Some people might succeed in three months while others might in three years. Since everyone’s journey is individual to them, there really is no clear-cut path. The one unifying reality is that just because you don’t currently possess the necessary abilities does not imply that you will never do so. Simply said, you must begin!