A lot of new developers will often email me, “Hey Derick, I’m a new developer. Can I land a remote freelance job too?”
My response is always, “Different projects need different levels of experience. What projects do you have under your belt?”
When I ask that question, some developers might get the idea that they need to have full-blown apps or websites created to showcase to a client. They think that if they don’t they won’t get taken seriously.
Here’s the reality: Most clients don’t ever fully go through a portfolio anyway.
The client’s main objective is solving a business problem. Most portfolios don’t have case studies. What is a client supposed to think about a project? Even when a portfolio does have case studies, it’s usually written from the developer’s point of view. Some developers write about what they accomplished instead of how that project can help the client.
In this article, I’m going to knock out the myth that you need a full-blown portfolio website full of completed case-studies. Here’s what you can do instead to start landing remote freelance web development projects.
Clients don’t want to read a resume. They want a business problem solved.
The only question that is going through a client’s mind is: Can you help me solve my business problem, fast?
If your goal is to land a remote freelance project you want to quickly showcase to the client what you’re capable of creating as soon as you contact them. And, you have to do it in a way that the client can easily understand how it helps them.
Build small components that you can create within a day
The best way that I’ve found to do that is to build a series of small, understandable projects that a client can look at without much effort.
And then in the email cover letter that I send I explain those projects in how they can help the client rather than what I accomplished.
When clients are looking through an email cover letter they want to quickly understand how you can help them accomplish their business project.
Most of the time they won’t give you the benefit of the doubt. They’ll just move on to another candidate. Also, they won’t take the time to go through your portfolio.
Building a series of small projects allows you to do that in a way that’s convenient for you to build and also convenient for the client to go through.
I use this technique a lot when I’m reaching out to a potential client.
Where should you host your projects?
There are many services that’ll let you create and host code for free. It doesn’t matter which one you choose. I personally chose CodePen, but you can choose any service that feels best for.
Here is a list of a few websites that you might be able to use:
- Codepen (https://codepen.io/)
- Glitch (http://glitch.me/)
- JSBin (https://jsbin.com/)
- JSFiddle (https://jsfiddle.net/)
- Plunker (https://plnkr.co/)
The most important thing is that you’re able to create an account and get a link to each individual project. That way you can link them up in your email when you’re reaching out to clients.
Pick your challenge and create projects for 21 days straight.
Start a 21-day challenge for yourself. Bang out a project every single day and start building up a series of projects that you can showcase to the client.
There are already some developers participating in different versions of this same concept. There’s #100DaysOfCode challenge where developers creating something new for 100 days. Imagine how fleshed-out your portfolio would be after that one!
CodePen themselves have a /challenges section and encourage developers to go out and build something new every month.
Other developers took the challenge of creating front-end code for a DailyUI challenge.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter the number of days. It just matters that you get a series of projects under your belt so you can improve your skills and you can showcase them when you reach out to clients.
Conclusion: Create bite-sized projects so you can easily showcase your skills in a digestible manner to the client.
In the end it comes down to two things if you want to land a remote freelance web development project.
- Find great remote freelance projects.
- Send potential clients great proposals with very clear explanations to your projects so they can understand that you’re capable of solving their business problem.