How to Start a Freelancing Business as a Web Developer

A freelance web developer will often work from home, coffee shops, libraries, or any communal space. They have a lot of flexibility and mobility in their line of work. This flexibility allows them to get creative and tackle projects that they prefer. And since they’re responsible for their work, they can determine their rates, prices, working scheduling, and choose which clients to work with.

Freelancers usually provide their services in fields like developing software, managing data, optimizing websites, or teaching programming languages. They can also take on jobs of optimizing a website to make sure it is compatible with different browsers and digital surfaces. 

While their work seems simple enough to understand, there are still steps people tend to miss when approaching this versatile business. There are a few stages to starting a freelancing business as a web developer. And as you follow through on them, you shouldn’t have any trouble establishing a business.

Starting a Freelancing Business as a Web Developer

Finally, you decided to step into the creative and lucrative web development business as a freelancer. You see plenty of opportunities in front of you, which makes you excited for the future. However, you still have doubts in your mind, and rightfully so. While you do get to enjoy the liberating experience of being your own boss, you also have to take up more responsibility.

Decide What Services You Want to Provide as a Web Developer

The web development field falls into three main categories, and you need to figure out which one is your area of expertise. 

Front-End Development

Essentially this development means optimizing a website and ensuring it looks and operates according to the client’s preferences. Front-end web developers have to make sure the people visiting their sites have a good user experience (UX). They are in charge of customizing the aesthetics of a website along with the efficiency of their interface.

To be a front-end developer, you need to know HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. After learning these three programming languages, you need to know the relevant SEO strategies.

Back-End Development

If you’re considering entering back-end development, you need to deal with tasks involving a site’s core creation, database, APIs, or server-side-related activities. Essentially, back-end developers handle the practical side of a website. 

While other primary programming languages are important, back-end developers need to have extensive knowledge of PHP, Phyton, MySQL, and other frameworks related to your preferred language. For instance, you can choose Phalcon or Codelgniter, along with many popular frameworks.

Full-Stack Development 

Full-stack development includes both responsibilities of back-end and front-end developers. Suppose you opt for full-stack development. You need to learn how to optimize the UX of a website and manage everything behind the scenes.

Essential Skills to Have as a Freelance Web Developer 

Apart from the different programming languages, it’s imperative to learn other skills that will help you provide excellent services to your clients. Several additional skills will improve your credibility as a freelance web developer:

  • Technical Skills: A freelancer with technical skills can stand out from their competitors. These skills include: debugging, SEO techniques, back-end skills, and copywriting.
  • Soft Skills: It’s a given that when you opt for freelancing, your ability to collaborate with others needs to be excellent. Maintaining a good relationship with the client is essential to ensure your career as a freelancer. Soft skills include interpersonal and analytical skills. 
  • Business Skills: Just like any other business, you need to have business skills to correctly market yourself, and handle the business when it takes off. 

Build Your Name by Gaining Experience

Before pursuing web development as a freelancer, you should perfect your skills and fill your portfolio. This will lead to more clients, more income, and a better overall name for you. Also, it will give you a better understanding of what’s your specialty and how you can best tackle complex projects. 

One of the easiest ways to gain more experience is through volunteer work. For instance, if you see a local business struggling with its website, you can help them out or create personal web pages for your friends. While this may seem unnecessary, you can benefit from this the most in the near future. It will convince more clients to hire you and spread your name and talent.

Set up a Business Plan

Setting up a business plan is necessary when you become a freelancer. When you’re working independently, creating a comprehensive plan to succeed is essential. A thorough plan will cover all key aspects of your business and steer you in the right direction of your goals. When you set a vision, and ultimate goal, determining your income and choosing a client can be a lot easier.

Moreover, you can open another bank account strictly for your business. This way, you can keep track of your money, taxes, revenue, and other expenses. 

Remember Your Legal Obligations

Depending on where you live, you may need to fulfill certain legal requirements before working as a freelancer. This may vary from state to state, but specific laws may require you to register with your local government. Since freelancers aren’t considered actual employees or business owners, they fit a strange gray area instead. 

If you’re unsure whether or not you need to register, you can contact your local law firm. Alternatively, you can hire an accountant. An accountant will help you sort through any laws or particular guidelines that you might have for freelancing.  

You can consider getting a third party to negotiate expenses and manage projects on your behalf. It will make the process simple and hassle-free. However, if you prefer direct contact with the client, make sure you have an official contract dictating the money they owe you. 

Getting insurance is also a significant step in ensuring your business is free from any liability claims from clients. Clients can sue your company when making poor quality agreements or breaching them. If you get sued, insurance can usually protect you from most financial losses. 

Build Your Portfolio

You can build your portfolio through a website and showcase your best projects on this personal web page. This offers the creative freedom to let loose and experiment with different types of projects. Visitors and clients will be able to see your talent and skills through the design of your website. Moreover, excellent visuals combined with engaging content will improve your chances of getting a rating.

On this website, you can add different testimonials from various clients you have worked with. This can establish a sense of trust in people who are new to your services. Also, discuss your education, past projects, skill set, etc. You should also try to make yourself approachable by adding your socials and email address, availability schedules, and contact information.


You can move on to marketing when you have finished all these steps. It’s challenging because you must display yourself and constantly interact with different people and businesses. That’s why you will need to promote your services appropriately, along with making a portfolio. 

A freelancer has a plethora of marketing options to choose from. And when you’re a beginner, you should stick to one of them before trying out other techniques and strategies. 

Some of the most popular marketing methods include:

  • Building or entering a community 
  • Websites
  • Referrals
  • Content marketing
  • Social media


When you decide to become a freelancer, you wonder how to start a freelancing business as a web developer successfully. After following these steps and stages, you can establish a name for yourself without any problem. The main takeaways are that you should know your expertise, check for legal obligations, and spread your name via marketing while building your portfolio.

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