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6 Quick Ways to Attract Clients as a Freelance Software Developer

Finding clients is one of the most difficult challenges newbie freelance software developers face. In a competitive industry, even experienced freelance software developers can find themselves struggling to attract their next client.

As a freelance software developer, you get more control over your work schedule and earn more compared to what you would get with a full-time job. But without a stable client base, freelancing can be a frustrating journey.

You have bills to pay. You need to earn money. So why not just quit your struggles as a freelance software developer and get a full-time job instead? Your pay is guaranteed and you do not have to struggle to find clients.

Before giving up on your freelance software developer career and switching back to the limited possibilities of full-time employment, ask yourself if you have truly done everything. There are freelance software developers who get more than enough clients. What are they doing differently?

In this article, you will learn the quickest ways to attract clients as a freelance software developer. Your focus should not just be on getting clients but on getting the right clients. The right clients are those who appreciate the value of your work and pay you accordingly. 

6 Quick Ways to Attract Clients as a Freelance Software Developer

1. Build an Online Portfolio

An online portfolio website is an essential requirement for every freelance software developer. How do you convince clients to pay you when you don’t have a website? Your online portfolio is a great opportunity for you to position yourself as an expert even if you are just starting.

Clients do not care how long you have spent in the software development niche, they want to know if you can deliver. Not having an online portfolio is a sign that you are a new freelance software developer or an unserious one, and clients don’t want to hire either.

They do not want to throw away money on inexperienced software developers, they want the best value possible for their money. 

Avoid pitching yourself as a newbie, you are chasing away clients. You are not a newbie! You spent months if not years learning software development and have done a few projects even if they were practice exercises.

Spend time creating your online portfolio website. It is your chance to make a long-lasting impression on prospective clients and get them to hire you. Build a convincing portfolio that will make prospective clients feel stupid to not hire you instantly.

Use a simple design instead of one that is jam-packed with showy graphics and designs. You do not want your clients to focus on your website design, you want them to focus on your samples.

Add screenshots of the top-rated projects you have done and include a short and straightforward description of the projects. Ask people you have worked for to write reviews about the works you delivered and add them to your portfolio.

Don’t have any projects you have worked on that you can display on your online portfolio? The next tip will show you the fastest way to get sample projects you can display on your online portfolio with zero work history and no paying client.

2. Work for Free

New freelance software developers do not have it easy. They have learned the skill needed to become a freelance software developer but as they end up discovering, that skill alone is not enough. To get clients to hire you, you need to show them proof of previous projects you completed. They are looking for freelance developers who have a reputation for delivering quality works.

But how do you provide proof when you haven’t worked on any project yet? You can get the proof needed by working on projects for free. You can also get paid projects to work on. The most important thing is to get work on projects and start building your reputation.

Offering to work for free is the fastest way to get your name behind software development projects. No one wants to take a gamble on hiring an inexperienced software developer with no experience. However, when you offer to work for free, you get clients more willing to hire you.

Individuals crossing from a full-time software development job do not need to work for free. They already have the work experience and projects they worked on that they can use in their online portfolio.

Working for free is an opportunity to gain some experience, make new contacts, and build your reputation. Clients who you work for free may eventually end up as your first paid clients if they liked the job you did for free.

Here are some rich areas where you can find good work for free opportunities that you can add to your online portfolio.

  • Pitch Free Work to Startup Companies. They are often cash-strapped and will be more than happy to have you work for them. You can get a glowing client review you can add to your online portfolio.
  • Local Organizations. Pitch to local organizations to see if they need software development services.
  • Look Local. If your friends and families own businesses, offer to help them with their software development needs. It is another rich ground you can use to get positive client reviews that will boost your chances of attracting paid clients.
  • Send Emails to Organizations You Want to Have on Your Online Portfolio. Gather a list of top companies you want to work for that can boost your reputation as a freelance developer based on mere association. Offer to work for free which is a just reward for the reputation it brings to your brand. Use mass email services such as MailChimp and other MailChimp alternatives.

3. Get Testimonials

Testimonials are a powerful tool you can use to attract clients quickly. They boost your reputation as a freelance software developer and mark you out as someone who produces quality work. Clients want to know if you can deliver on their projects.

The presence of testimonials encourages clients to hire you. If you did it to others, then you can do it for them.

When adding your testimonials to your online portfolio, ensure you reveal the name of the client and the company you work for. Little details like that add credibility to your testimonials and convince clients they are not made-up ones.

After you finish every project (free or paid), ask for testimonials. The testimonials you receive will vary, only select the most detailed and result-focused testimonials as they are the most likely to convert your clients.

Also, if you have worked for a popular figure or a popular company, include their testimonials for the sake of the name. Once clients see you have worked with popular figures and companies, they will be more comfortable with hiring you.

4. Find a Niche

Positioning yourself just as a freelance software developer is one of the key reasons why you are struggling to attract clients. There is so much competition in the freelance software market. You can reduce the competition and get more clients to hire and pay you a higher fee by niching down.

Specializing in a particular aspect of freelance software development is your ticket to attracting more clients. Imagine yourself as a client for a minute. You need someone to develop an iOS app for your business. Two freelance software developers approached you with a bid.

The first offered himself as a freelance software developer with vast experience in developing iOS software, android software, flutter, and other services.

The other person positioned themselves as a freelance iOS developer and produced tons of samples of past projects. Who will you hire? The freelance iOS developer. Now you see the benefits of finding a niche even as a freelance software developer.

5. Get Active on Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are places where freelance software developers can find clients. People buy from those they know and trust. You can build trust with clients simply by having a strong social media presence.

As a freelance software developer, you should concentrate on building your brand and social media presence. Share your best works, interact with others, and share valuable software development tips with your followers. Join freelance software developers groups and communities to network with other developers in your space.

By showcasing yourself as an authoritative voice in the freelance software development industry, clients in these spaces will feel more comfortable with hiring you.

You can also get free recommendations from your followers when someone around their circle needs to hire the services of a freelance software developer.

Social media platforms also allow you to actively search for your ideal clients and pitch your services to them. You can send LinkedIn prospecting messages to your target clients. Use social media management tools to effectively manage multiple social media accounts. 

6. Regularly Check Job Boards

As you already know, freelance job sites like Freelancer, Upwork, Fiverr, and Guru have too many freelance software developers competing for jobs. Once a job gets posted, you have to compete with a large number of applicants.

Most of the jobs available on these freelance platforms are incredibly low-paying jobs. The high-paying ones will only hire the best freelancers with a rich work history.

You can navigate this rat race and get high-quality clients that are ready to pay a fair price. These clients post their job boards. Another plus of using job boards is that the competition is lower than what is obtainable in freelance job sites.

Some job boards you can use to find freelance software developer jobs include:

  • 99u Freelance Jobs
  • Authentic Jobs
  • Codeable.io
  • Coworks
  • Gun.io
  • Hubstaff Talent
  • Krop
  • OnSite
  • Smashing Jobs
  • We Work Remotely

Next Step: Bring The Value and Market Yourself

You will attract clients quickly if you can show them that you can provide the value that they are hunting for. Focus on developing your freelance software developer to improve the value you can offer clients.

While you are developing yourself, do not forget to market yourself. No one can refer or market your brand for you except you put yourself out there in the first place. Have a presence in all the places where your potential clients go to find freelance software developers.

Building an online portfolio with samples of your best products and testimonials from clients will not only attract clients but make them hire you. If you do not have any work history or project to showcase, you can work for free to gain experience.

Pick a niche in the freelance software development sphere, get active on social media platforms, and bid for jobs on job boards. Do these three things and your struggles with attracting clients will be history.

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