Derick Sozo

@dericksozo

How to land a remote freelance job as a junior web developer

If you’re a junior developer you might be wondering, “Can I land a remote freelance job with my web development skills?” If you’re starting to ask this question then my guess is yes.

You might not be at a senior level yet, but you do have the skills to implement a website. You just might not be sure how to find remote freelance clients or reach out to them.

In this post, I’ll uncover three big misconceptions that some junior developers can make and what you can do to start landing remote freelance projects even if you consider yourself a junior.

Get out of the junior mindset and get into a problem-solving mindset.

The biggest mistake that I see junior developers make is calling themselves junior developers. Some wear it like a badge of honor on their LinkedIn, resume, and portfolio pages.

You might feel like you’re not yet at the level you want to be at. The humility and high standards are great, but the reality is that you’re a lot better than the client who is hiring you.

When a client sees that you’re calling yourself junior, the first thing that pops into their mind isn’t how humble and high your standards are. The first thing that pops into mind is that you might be a liability and you might cost them more money than you’ll be able to generate for them.

The reason the client is looking for a developer is to help them solve a business problem. They don’t have the time or skills to handle it themselves.

You might not be at the level you want to be at yet, but you do have the skills necessary to execute on some freelance web development projects.

How you communicate your web development skills to a client and how you can help them solve that business problem is the problem-solving mindset.

Getting into the problem-solving mindset

The problem-solving mindset for a junior developer is about clearly and positively communicating how the projects that you’ve completed previously and your current web development skills can help the client solve the problem he is currently facing now.

Some developers might see this as “selling”. It’s neither of those, and that way of thinking will cause you to lose out on more projects than win.

The truth is that you’re competing with other developers who also want that same remote freelance position. And, remember the client wants to solve their problem as quickly as they can.

Instead of giving you the benefit of the doubt, they’ll just think “LIABILITY NEGATIVITY ALERT ALERT.” and just jump into looking at the next candidate’s cover letter.

Instead of mentioning what you think you lack, like your junior status, talk positively about what you have already accomplished in a way that demonstrates to the client that you’re a hard worker who’s willing to take on a problem and solve it for them.

Talk about the projects you’ve built, the frameworks you’ve used, and how your experience creating those will help you solve the client’s problems.

So don’t call yourself a junior developer when you’re looking for freelance projects. As far as clients are concerned, you’re a web developer. Period.

Clients don’t come to you. Go out and find them.

The next big misconception a lot of web developers have when it comes to finding freelance clients is that they think freelance clients will come to them first.

Some developers create a portfolio website, put it online, and then think that clients will magically find their website and send them an email looking for work.

But, that’s not the way it works.

Usually, when a client needs remote web development work he’ll post on twitter or in a Facebook group advertising that he’s looking for someone. More professional clients will post on Reddit or a job board to look for someone.

Clients usually want fast results. So, instead of spending time looking for other options a client will respond to those people who reached out to him. When he thinks he’s found the best person for the job or made the best compromise, he’ll choose someone.

So you have to take initiative and go out there and find clients where they’re actually posting.

So, where do you find remote freelance projects?

There are a lot of different places to find freelance web development work. Start by visiting common places like Codepen Jobs, Angel List, and framework-specific Facebook groups.

You don’t have to limit yourself to jobs that are explicitly looking for junior developers. From my experience, jobs that are explicitly looking for junior developers are just searching for a very cheap developer. Those jobs might still be worth applying to, but keep a more watchful eye on them.

Here are a few links to where you can start your search:

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Ditch the generic resume and personalize your cover letter.

The last misconception when it comes to winning remote freelance projects is that developers treat it like applying to a normal job.

Developers harm their chances when they send over a generic cover letter and resume expecting the client to do all of the work for them. Some will include the word “junior” in their title as well causing even more harm.

When you’re applying to a remote freelance position you’re competing with a lot of other developers.

You have to write a good cover letter if you want to win good remote freelance projects.

An example of how I layout the copy in my email body

Clients are looking through many other candidates as well and they usually choose the one who they think can solve their business problem.

First, start by understanding the client’s requirements as best as you can. Do they need a responsive website finished with a calendar displayed?

Talk about how with your previous projects you have experience using media queries and creating responsive websites. You’re confident that you’d be able to build that one in order to help him move on with his business.

If you can clearly communicate that you’re the one that can solve that business problem in the best way he’s going to choose you and you’re going to win the project.

Conclusion: you can land a remote freelance project, even if you think you’re a junior

Ultimately, clients who are looking for a freelance web developer need one thing: to solve a business problem. You have the skills to build websites so you have the skills to help them solve their problems and get paid for it. Landing remote freelance projects

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