The great thing about a part-time online programming course is that you can start earning money from web development almost from the word GO. Let’s say you’ve signed up for a Full Stack Web Development bootcamp, now’s the time to earn some spare cash on the side.
Here are some strategies to keep in mind:
1. Don't work for free
Of course you’re keen to get some work under your belt and perhaps you’ve been offered exposure or a byline. Don’t do it! There are a number of problems when it comes to working for free. For example, you may not get honest feedback when it comes to your work. People are likely to feel bad about criticising work they received as a favour. But worse, freebies are not always valued.
Says multi-million dollar business owner Ramit Sethi on Business Insider, who is also the author of the book, Your Move: The Underdog’s Guide to Building Your Business, ‘Understand that people value what they pay for. You’re not doing them a disservice by charging them.’
2. Set up a portfolio as soon as possible
In this case, your website will be your portfolio. Here’s your chance to show off your expanding web development skills.
- Make sure your site is original. Don’t copy anyone else’s.
- Ensure there is space on the homepage telling people how to get hold of you. Include a variety of ways of contacting you.
- Include something personal. You should probably have a headshot photograph as well.
- For Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), include fresh, original content. Your Google ranking will be higher as well. You may want to think about starting a blog.
- Include any examples of work you have done. Your website is essentially your portfolio for earning money from a web development career.
- Think about the kind of niche or industry you want to service. Ensure your language is appropriate for these industries – e.g. language usage can be funkier for creative-type industries, and more formal for banks or financial services.
- Who you are
- What kind of work you do
- How you carry out your work
- Who you want to work with
- Where you want to go next
Ever seen the movie Six Degrees of Separation? Basically, you want to mine your contacts – and then your contacts’ contacts. Grab coffees, connect on LinkedIn and set up meetings. Start with family and friends, but then expand outwards, like the ripples created by a stone thrown into a still pond. Something is likely to develop, whether it’s a new business contact or even a job interview.
The thing is, people like doing business with people they know or have heard about. Use this to your advantage. Have a business card ready and don’t be afraid of the soft sales talk.
You can start handing out business cards as soon as you start studying. Remember, networking takes some time to gain traction.
4. Show, don't tell
Sign up for GitHub, where you can host and review code, manage projects, and build software alongside millions of other developers. Add your existing code to share with prospective employers or start new projects to keep yourself relevant. GitHub accounts are free, and it’s the best place to swap ideas and code with other programmers online. You can also blog or guest blog on GitHub. Just think – guest content writer can be another achievement added to your portfolio!
To earn money from web development, you need to convince people that you are a credible developer who will get the work done. GitHub gives you another opportunity, besides your portfolio, to show what you can do.
5. Finders, keepers - losers, weepers
When it comes to networking, you may think that you should avoid the competition – i.e. other web developers, but this is a short-sighted approach to take. In fact, other developers, in the same industry as you, are likely to be excellent referrers of work. It’s possible they have too much work and would be happy to refer some of it your way. Or maybe there are certain jobs they’re not keen to take on. The point is, they are in contact with potential clients and upcoming projects, and can be vital reference points in helping you to start earning money from web development.
Get testimonials. Here’s something you might not know. People obtain testimonials and references by asking for them. Don’t be shy. When you’ve finished work for someone, ask him or her to write you a quick review. Then put it up on your site. If you really want to make it easier for a potential reference writer, offer to write the review yourself. You’ll be surprised how many times people will take you up on this.
The bottom line is that you can start earning money from web development almost immediately. You don’t need to wait until you have finished studying. Employ these strategies right from the beginning and you’ll be gratified by how quickly your bank balance grows.