If you are a freelancer then you are a lucky guy because you have no boss :) Freelancing is a best thing for a web developer and its the second stage for any web developer. I said second because obviously the first would be to learn programming and convert yourself from a non skilled into a skilled programmer. On one side, freelancing gives you a state of satisfaction but on the other hand you need much care to handle this satisfaction and keep your position maintain.
In this post, I tried to discuss few very important qualities of a web developer which he/she must adopt if they want to be successful freelancer. Please not that these qualities are not about technical experience of web development but these are the things that play an amazing role for successful freelancers. Because every one can be a freelancer but not every freelancer can work longer as a freelancer, if they don’t adopt and follow the things which they must should have.
1. Are you active on Social Networking websites?
Yes very important for new freelancers who are in try to find good clients. If you are a freelancer then it happens to you many times that new comers asks you “How to find Clients” :) And you should ask them, Do you have any profile on Facebook, twitter or LinkedIn? So,it is this really important to have any online profile or portfolio. If you are no one then you will remain as no one. Get a profile on such websites, follow the technology blogs and see whats happening in the web development world. Put your involvement in any on going web related discussions. Show them you are some one who also knows programming.
On your profiles, clearly mention who you are and what you do. Always use your real full name on professional profiles instead of short and fake names because trust starts from your name.
2. Sign up on Major online Workplaces
A good option for finding some good clients but don’t take it easy pal, because you are going to wait for weeks or even few months to get a project. Well, some lucky guys get hired in their first day. You can be too, Who knows :) There are many job portals where people are looking for good developers. If you create a good profile, add your experiences, what you did and what you can do as a freelance web developer. Don’t get excited and fill the profile with lot of things. Only add what you have experienced with. Be specific, add more example of your work and website links you have developed. If you don’t have any previous work to show then set your skills set more properly so it should show a client what you are capable of.
3. Do what you can do.
If you can not work in WordPress then don’t try to add it in portfolio. It will make your resume heavy and clients may think you as much experienced than originally you are. Show what you got and do what you can do. If you don’t know how to fix a Joomla website then don’t try to bid on a Joomla project on jobs websites. You should be more care full in bidding on projects. New users try to bid on more projects without checking the detail of project and its scope. If you get any project which you are not able to do then you are on step one to ruin your job profile. So, always bid on projects which you are sure about.
4. Communication and Client handling
If you ca’t communicate to your clients then you are in big trouble. Communication is very important and key tool in building relations with clients. If you use emails or messages to communicate then use appropriate words in your message, don’t discuss non related things which can hide your original goal to discuss. Be specific and always give important what the client is saying and what he is looking for. Client satisfaction is much important than your problem in doing those things :)
5. Check client’s bio data
Always try to find out the person who is hiring you. Some times people get you involved in fake discussions just know your point of view about their ideas. Always try to search who is on other side. For this, you must have the contact address from which he is communicating like, email address, skype, msn or what ever is using. Put that in google and let it show you what is related to that person. Ask the person to use a professional email address. If still you are not sure about him or could not find anything about that then let it go with speed until comes to a deal. This is not necessary but you should not ignore this thing, that’s what I think :)
6. Consistent working time
Are you working in different times each day? Then you are losing something. If a client is expecting something from you at 11 am then don’t deliver it at 5 pm. Build a suitable time table which should be good for you and your clients. Normally there can be time difference in clients and freelancers so chose the time which can be best for both of you. Different timings while working will create gap of direct communication which will lead to weak relationship.
7. Use your own development server
Work professionally and as a freelancer you should have a hosting space on which you can show your work progress to clients. Don’t submit whole work to client. Upload on your server and send your client a demo url to check the progress. Keep that url secure from public access. Its better if you have any blog or your own domain name which will help you to use it for such purpose and also will give your work a brand name.
8. Estimate work and cost properly
If a new project arrived, give it some time to gather all the requirements. Read each and every thing and make it clear in your mind. Find out its complexity, how much this gonna take your time. If any thing is confusing don’t hesitate to ask your client. Try to clear every point. Schedule talk/chat meetings with client, such way many hidden things of project can come to view. In fact you should prefer to give dedicated days for estimation of a project because if your estimation is good you are going to enter in next level of trust with client, which is mean you are going to get more work.
9. Easy access for clients to you
This is very important that how easily a client can contact you or talk to you? So for this you should always check your emails twice a day at least. It will be best if you can be online on a mobile device, this way clients will feel comfort and it will be in his mind that he can contact you any time he will need. Use simple contact meanings, don’t give your client a list of email addresses or phone numbers. Try to use single email address or direct all other account’s emails to a single so that you don’t miss any email.
10. Track of changes and bugs
Always note the changes and bugs posted by client to a proper place. If you are using a online project management tool then ask your client to use this and help him in learning to post issues, bugs and changes there. This will help you both to track down the changes and bugs in better way plus client will feel more comfort in sending you queries. If your client is not a tech guy he will prefer to use emails to send changes and discuss things, in that case you should take care of those things and put them in proper place so that you wont miss them.
Freelancing is a good thing but not easy thing to do. You should always be man of rules. If its time for work and show something to client then don’t go outside and enjoy with your friends ;-) If you are working in a company then you have achieved a good thing but if you are working as a freelancer and have a good number of potential clients, earning much than a monthly job salary then this is best thing. In next post, we will cover “how to be a successful freelancer”. Be in touch.