So you’re wondering where to find freelance web development jobs right now to increase your earnings and grow your network of clients this year?
If you’re a freelancer web developer (or soon to be one), chances are that you need more clients.
Finding freelance work online has never been easier than right now. There’s a plethora of job boards and websites that list thousands of lucrative freelance projects.
But online job platforms aren’t always the perfect place to look. With tough competition and low earnings potential, how do you go about finding the perfect freelance web dev jobs for you?
How can you make sure you reach the right client who wants to hire you over other freelancers?
Maybe you’re looking to land a freelance web development job on Upwork and haven’t got very far. Or maybe you’ve taken a break from freelancing and want to break into the scene again.
Whatever your skill level is, you’re in the right place. In today’s post, Tim Noetzel is going to walk you through a few smart steps to figure out where to find the best freelance web development jobs for you.
If you need more clients, this is your go-to resource for finding freelance web development jobs faster.
Take it away, Tim!
If you want to become a successful freelance web developer, you’re going to need to find clients.
And while there are plenty of ways to market your services, some methods are far more effective than others.
So where should you start?
Use the Right Channels For Your Skill Level
Not all clients are created equal.
Some clients have complex needs and six figure budgets. They’re looking for experts, and they’re highly selective.
But even if you’re a novice developer who’s just getting started, there are clients out there looking for somebody with your skills! If you can create a basic website or help somebody set up their Shopify theme, you can start freelancing.
The key is to remember that, while both types of clients are valid targets, they look for freelancers in different places.
So it’s important to evaluate your skill set and decide which types of clients you can best serve before you start looking for jobs.
Finding Freelance Web Developer Work: 3 Skill Levels
The secret to finding and landing freelance web developer jobs is to focus on the right channels. Whether you are a beginner freelancer or have years of experience under your belt, it all boils down to this:
The only way to reach your ideal client is to figure out where they are looking for freelancers like you.
To help you find the right type of freelance web developer work faster, let’s look at where you should be looking for clients next.
I’ll cover three powerful job channels for different freelancer experience levels:
- Beginner-level freelancers
- Intermediate level freelancers
- Experienced freelancers
Let’s get started!
1: Beginner-Level Freelance Jobs
If you’re new to programming and freelancing, sites like UpWork or Freelancer.com are worth considering.
They’ve put the sales and marketing process on rails, so it’s relatively easy to land small, short-term gigs like making minor edits to a website or building a simple landing page. All you need to do is create a profile.
Be prepared for the way these sites work, though. Because anyone can join, everybody does. That means you may need to submit dozens of proposals before you land a gig, and those gigs often pay as little as $20 per hour. Many clients on these sites are flaky, so watch out for those who expect the world for minimal budget.
Pros of Freelance Sites:
- Anyone can join
- Easy and free to get started
- Sales and marketing process is predetermined
Cons of Freelance Sites:
- Requires lots of time submitting proposals
- High fees and low hourly rates – (outsourcing your marketing/sales process comes with a cost!)
- Lots of scammy / flaky clients
2: Intermediate-Level Freelance Jobs
If you’re new to freelancing, but not new to programming (or vice versa), consider high-value job boards like We Work Remotely, Wellfound, TopTal, and Storetasker.
These sites typically have more sophisticated clients offering bigger and more engaging projects. As a result, you can expect higher hourly rates, averaging $50+ / hour. While this pricing is certainly better, you’re still just selling your time, meaning you may lose out on extra income that might be tied to high performance in other scenarios.
These job boards are even more competitive than lower-tier sites like UpWork, so expect to send lots of proposals to land a single gig and potentially go through a more formal interview process similar to applying for a full-time job.
Unlike lower-tier freelance sites, there are far more long-term gigs, including full-time and half-time arrangements. While these arrangements may be beneficial to some, they can lead to peaks and valleys in your business because it’s more challenging to stagger when clients start.
Pros of High-Value Job Boards:
- Higher hourly rates than sites like UpWork
- More interesting / complex work
- Intuitive Sales Approach (sends lots of proposals)
Cons of High-Value Job Boards:
- Still just “selling your time”
- Companies may require more formal interview/hiring process
- Still requires sending lots of proposals – Much lower close rates than referrals
- Gigs are often half- or full-time, leading to more peaks and valleys
It’s also worth considering doing subcontracting work for marketing, design, and web development agencies.
These companies often have more work than they can handle, so they’re often looking for freelancers to help support them on various projects. While outsourcing the sales process is beneficial, expect to earn lower rates than you otherwise could (often in the ~$50/hour range), since these agencies are effectively selling your time at a premium and pocketing the difference.
This arrangement may be especially appealing if you dread client management. The agency will typically handle most or all communications with the client, meaning you don’t have to do the difficult work of setting boundaries or scoping projects. That said, avoiding this work means you’ll have little control over the type of work, tools you use, or other factors you may find important.
Pros of Agency Subcontracting:
- Fully outsourced sales process
- Agency manages clients, so you don’t have to
Cons of Agency Subcontracting:
- Artificial limit on how much you can earn
- Little control over type/volume of work
3: Advanced-Level Freelance Jobs
If you’re an experienced freelance web developer or you’re simply looking to build a sustainable, high-paying business, consider taking a more strategic approach to your marketing and sales process.
High-value clients—the kind who pay $150+/hour and offer highly interesting projects—typically don’t use websites to find freelancers. Instead, they hire freelancers almost exclusively through referrals.
But even if you don’t have a huge network, it’s possible to systematically meet the right people and get introductions.
Identify the Hubs
To start, I recommend taking two steps:
- Identify the hubs in your area—coworking spacings, startup accelerators, industry groups, and meetups—and participate.
- Meet other freelancers, particularly those who work in complementary fields like design or marketing.
In both cases, the contacts you make will prove invaluable. Active community members and freelancers are typically the first people high-value clients speak to when looking for a freelance web developer.
I’ve created a free course on exactly how to get referrals, but the key is to build genuine relationships.
If you do so, you’ll find you can quickly get high-value clients without all of the competition and effort required on freelance sites or job boards. In fact, this channel has so little competition that you can achieve close rates as high as 90% if you’ve got your sales process right.
Pros of Referrals:
- Much better opportunities – higher paying / more interesting
- You own your marketing/sales process
- Clients are more open to negotiation / flexible arrangements
- High upside
- Extremely high close rates because you’re not competing against 50+ other freelancers for every gig
Cons of Referrals:
- Some learning curve
- Requires you to be proactive and actually talk to people
FAQ: Where can you find freelance web development work?
Some popular websites to find freelance web developer jobs include Upwork, Freelancer, Toptal, and Guru. These websites offer a variety of job postings and allow you to showcase your skills and experience in your profile.
You can increase your chances of finding freelance web developer jobs by being mindful of (1) your own skill level and (2) where to find your ideal client. Also, set up a strong freelancer portfolio website that showcases your skills and experience, networking with other professionals in the industry, and actively applying to job postings that match your skills and interests.
You can market yourself as a freelance web developer by creating a professional website that showcases your portfolio and experience, leveraging social media to connect with potential clients and showcase your work, and networking with other professionals in the industry.
Your freelance web developer portfolio should match the type of freelance work you’re looking for. If you want to work for small businesses in your area, set up a portfolio that showcases relevant work samples for that clientele. Include examples of your work that demonstrate your coding skills, design abilities, and problem-solving capabilities. You should also include information about the projects you have worked on, the technologies you have used, and the results you have achieved.
Having a niche as a freelance web developer can help you stand out from the competition and attract clients who are specifically looking for your unique skills and expertise. However, it is not essential and many successful freelance web developers work across a variety of industries and projects.
Rates for freelance web developers can vary depending on factors such as experience, skills, and location. It is important to research industry standards and to consider the value you are providing to clients when setting your rates.
Building long-term relationships with clients as a freelance web developer requires open communication, delivering high-quality work, and being responsive to their needs and feedback. You can also provide value by offering ongoing support and maintenance for their websites.
Whether you specialize in front-end or back-end development as a freelance web developer depends on your interests and skills. Both front-end and back-end development are important components of web development, and many freelance web developers have experience in both areas.
Staying up-to-date with the latest web development trends and technologies requires ongoing learning and professional development. You can stay informed by reading industry publications, attending conferences and workshops, and taking online courses and tutorials.
Summing it up: Where to find freelance web development jobs
So what’s the best way to find freelance web development work that matches your skill level?
Let’s summarize today’s main takeaways real quick:
- Be mindful of your skill level:
Only apply for jobs you can finish. If you’re a beginner, remember that you’re still learning!
- Use the right channels:
Different clients use different platforms. Figure out where your target clientele hangs out.
- Beginner-level freelance jobs:
If you’re new to programming and freelancing, sites like UpWork or Freelancer.com are worth considering.
- Intermediate-level freelance jobs:
If you have some experience under your belt already, consider high-value job boards like We Work Remotely, Wellfound, TopTal, and Storetasker.
- Advanced-level freelance jobs:
For high-budget jobs, aim at landing jobs through referrals. Grow your network by participating in industry events and connecting with other freelancers.
Remember: it all boils down to relevance. Know what you can do with your skills, and look for clients and jobs that match your skill set.
Try both online and offline channels, stay persistent, and make sure you set up a professional-looking portfolio to showcase your best work samples to potential clients.
For more details, check out this full guide on how to become a freelance web developer.
About the author
Tim Noetzel is a freelance web developer based in Boston, MA. He also coaches freelancers on how to build high-revenue businesses at FreelanceGPS.com.