I’ve met a lot of good developers who think they can’t do remote work. They think they somehow lack the skills, they’re not good enough, or they don’t have remote experience.
That’s all false. If you’re currently working as a developer you have the potential to get remote freelance work. I’m not talking about UpWork or Freelancer either. I’m going to show you how with just a little bit of extra work, mostly on things not related to development, you can get your first fully remote front-end freelance project or job in 2018.
1) Clients don’t come to you. Find them and reach out directly.
When I first started freelancing I thought that just by putting my portfolio online clients would come and contact me. They didn’t. The truth is that 80% of success in freelancing comes from reaching out to clients directly and selling them on the value you can provide.
That can be scary because we’re creators. We’re good at programming. We don’t like seeing ourselves as “sellers”. Instead, look at selling as a way to communicate the value your skills can provide your potential clients and you’ll dramatically increase your chances of landing a client. It’s a numbers game. The more proposals you send the more likely you are to land a client.
2) Avoid UpWork, Freelancer, and Fiverr
The good clients avoid websites like UpWork, Freelancer, and Fiverr like the plague. They know it always dissolves into a bidding war with inexperienced overseas developers. That’s never fun for both the client and developer. As a remote freelancer, I’ve been lucky enough to not have to use these websites and you don’t have to either.
There are already countless articles describing how horrible marketplaces like UpWork are.
3) How to find good clients
So where do you find the good clients? They post all over the internet in various communities, job boards, and forums. Clients post their job on job boards like Codepen Jobs and Angel List, post on Reddit, comment on a thread in Hacker News, and post on a variety of other places. It can be overwhelming and take hours a week if you don’t know where to look, but the good ones are definitely out there posting and looking for talent.
4) Resumes are dead. Send good emails.
The reality is that when a client posts a job or freelance project online they’re getting slammed with replies. It’s frustrating for a client because most of the time those applications are just a PDF resume and nothing else.
Harbind, my partner and Co-Founder at RemoteLeads, had the responsibility of bringing new developers on board when working as a senior back-end developer for an agency. You wouldn’t believe the number of terrible resumes that he would get. It would literally just be a PDF attachment. Here’s his advice: Avoid resumes. Write a good cover letter directly in the email body instead.
I took that advice and found that my biggest advantage when landing clients are the proposals that I write. You can get an edge over 90% of applicants just by putting a little extra thought into the proposal you write in the email body and how you can solve the client’s problem with your skills.
An example of how I layout the copy in my email body
How to write proposals that win you remote freelance clients
I wrote an article to share with you how with just a few minutes of extra research and modifying your email copy you can dramatically increase your chances of winning a client.
5) Your Portfolio. State your value proposition immediately.
Clients are busy. From their perspective, it’s a full-time job going through applicants for freelance project or job. You have 3 seconds to show a potential client what you do. You can state that clearly by having a single sentence at the top of your portfolio that says what you do.
The sentence I use in my portfolio.
Clients are going through so many portfolios that it’ll be a breath of fresh air when they see your portfolio laid out simply with the value proposition immediately stated at the top.
Make client’s lives easier by making all of your portfolio information easy to access.
Also, make sure you have clear links to your previous projects, your GitHub, and Codepen profile. Clients want to see what you’ve worked on before and they don’t want to have to scour your website to find them.
Conclusion: Putting everything together
Ultimately, it comes down to finding good clients and then clearly communicating your value proposition to them. You can do that by avoiding marketplaces like Upwork, creating a good proposal in your email body when you email them and making sure that your portfolio clearly states your main value proposition.