Owning a web development business and serving as the lead developer, I have worked with countless clients as well as a diverse group of businesses both large and small — I have learned that there are literally 3 simple steps to follow to grow and maintain your business which apply to freelancers as well.
Ingredient #1 — Learn To Consult
Generally speaking, a proper consultation will give you a clear window into the existing and future status of your client’s website to help you determine where you stand in terms of leveraging cost efficiency, competitive edge, search engine optimization, website validity, and compliance.
A good consultant will also provide guidance to the client on how to properly execute your vision on the web in terms of site usability, goals (whether it be leads or conversions such as sales) and leave them with an effective understanding of how they should receive your service.
There are plenty of companies and/or freelancers who do it all, though I always like to recommend providing guidance in a way the suits your skill-set the best — this will ensure you are proficient in the results produced as well as keep you from being bored.
Ingredient #2 — Getting Work
This concept is simple. Learn that trends come and go, new frameworks come and go — but the basics, for this example let’s say HTML/CSS/JS/PHP are more than adequate to maintain and develop new websites that fit the mold for modern businesses and will continue to put food on the table.
Learn to be ok with that.
You don’t need to learn every framework under the sun, just be good at what you are good at, then sell the hell out of that.
Display your work and put yourself out there. Be fluid, able to move with current trends, and have the ability to adapt to different work environments. Remote designers are always in demand, in fact, most companies frown upon having to hire in-house for web design or development work.
I would encourage you to sell yourself as a service. Reach out to employers and provide your skill-set, examples, and explain how you could benefit and/or cut costs of their current graphic design requirements/needs.
Ingredient #3 — Follow Up
Learning the art of following up without an invitation to do so is an opportunity to allow you to present yourself in an incredibly professional manner.
Don’t look at it as following up for more work, look at it as evaluating their current situation based on the work you previously performed or want to perform. Offer suggestions for improvements as well as state that you would enjoy working with the client or prospect to further optimize their initiative.
Even though you may not be retained to monitor their progress, doing so, allows you many chances to up-sell and offer your services with real value as well as be looked at as a reliable resource for the long-term.
Best of luck to everyone working in the web development or freelance space.