Start a Successful Web Development Business
A freelance web development business is an exciting prospect for any developer, but it takes time and energy to create a successful career. There are a few things that these ambitious developers will want to keep in mind before they launch their business. While they may seem small, these four tips will ensure that, along with understanding taxation and other business fundamentals, the launch of the new business will be successful.
Portfolio and Personal Projects
One of the most important things for a web developer to consider prior to beginning their business is a portfolio of both commercial and personal projects. This portfolio can be the make-or-break factor in a client hiring them, so it’s crucial that the developer cull through their projects and select the five-to-seven best projects they have done for other clients. Along with the portfolio, developers should consider placing some personal projects on their business website. This will show clients that developer’s range outside of the portfolio, which may not demonstrate all a developer’s skills and may generate more interest in the business.
Maintain a Social Media Presence
Social media is important for any entrepreneur, but there is no excuse for a web developer not to be on at least one platform. Their entire business is conducted online and results in online products, so being able to connect with potential clients and other professionals in the community is crucial. Social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, can provide individuals with leads on potential projects they may be good for, warn them off clients who refuse to pay for services rendered, and keep them up to date with news that’s pertinent to them. Additionally, sites such as Behance or Art Station may provide them with the chance to showcase their portfolio in order to gain interest from clients and make connections with designers and copywriters who need their talents.
Marketing goes together with social media, but it goes further than that; web developers must be able to market themselves, their skills, and their finished products to both clients online and in the real world. Many successful web developers who own their own business know how important it is to get out, meet people, clue them in on their work process, and deliver a finished product. Marketing finished and ongoing projects, along with an individual’s personal brand, helps clients see a cohesion between the developer and their own work. This means that each web developer who wants to run a successful business must have a website that showcases past and current work; there are bonus points for having a testimonial page on the site or for case studies, which showcase a developer’s understanding of how to analyze a problem and create a solution to that problem.
Find a Niche
Web developers work in a variety of niches. Some choose to work as business-to-business developers, others choose to work as business-to-consumer developers. But these are not the only options; web developers work in the entertainment industry, for video game companies, at nonprofit or nongovernmental organizations, business, government, schools, and more. Some choose to work in a niche within their sector; some may work as front-end developers for lifestyle websites, others choose to work as full-stack web developers for big brands, and still others choose to focus on back-end development for retail companies. Developers are advised to pick a niche and stick to it; this helps them build expertise in the field and will help them build a network of clients that can help sustain their business.
Continue to Learn
Web development is an evolving field; new programming languages, productivity tools, and trends spring up almost daily, meaning that professionals staying stagnate in their skills will miss out on more work. The best thing an entrepreneur can do in their field is staying current on everything to do with their field and if a new technology or programming language arises, learn how to use it as soon as possible. Not only will this show clients that the web developer takes their business seriously, but it also opens up new pathways to learn skills that might otherwise have cost them projects in the past.
Web development is often lumped in with web design, which is not a bad thing; Entrepreneur published an incredible article on how to get started in building a successful web design business that can be used for developers as well. What is most important for developers-turned-entrepreneurs to know is that their drive, patience, and discipline will help them in their business aspirations. Individuals who are ready to start to build their own business should do more research before launching their endeavor.
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