Maybe you’ve spent a lot of time doing web development at a large corporation, or maybe you’ve recently gotten qualified and you’re trying to get some practical experience. Whatever your reason, there are many benefits to becoming a freelance front-end developer.

This article will show you how to start freelancing as a front-end developer and explain what a front-end developer is. The topics we’ll cover include:

  • What is a front-end developer?
  • How to register yourself as a business
  • How to find clients as a freelance front-end developer
  • How to start managing your freelance income

What is a front end developer?

A front-end developer is a kind of web developer. While web designers focus on how a website looks, and back-end developers focus on the parts of websites that interact with servers, a front-end developer deals with all the elements of a website that customers interact with. For instance, a front-end developer won’t decide the appearance of your website menu, but they’ll make sure it sends visitors to the right page.

Important skills and qualifications

A front-end developer will need to be skilled in the use of several different coding languages. The three primary coding languages for the sort of work you’ll do are HTML, CSS, and Javascript, but others may be required depending on your client’s needs.

One of the best ways to ensure you have the appropriate skills is to get a degree in Computer Science or a related subject. A Bachelor’s degree should give you a satisfactory foundation in web development, but higher levels of education will allow you to take on more complex jobs.

How to register yourself as a business

Even though it’s a fairly specialised occupation, the process of registering yourself as a freelance web developer will be very similar to the process any other freelancer goes through. For example, you’ll need to become a sole trader or limited company and register a company name when you’re setting up.

You’ll also need to do all the standard financial planning that’s a necessary part of owning a business. It’s vital that you know where the money to run your business is coming from and what you will spend that income on. 

If you’re not sure how this sort of financial management works, consider using the Countingup app. It has a ton of helpful features that help make planning your spending easy.

If you’re looking for more general information on freelancing, read our guide on how to start freelancing. While this article has a ton of tips specific to front-end developers, the one we’ve linked provides more general information for anyone interested in becoming a freelancer.

How to find clients as a freelance front-end developer

As a front-end developer, you’ll have some skills that are unique to your job, but you’ll still be working in the same industry as many other programmers. This means looking for freelance work as a front-end developer is similar to looking for freelance work as any other kind of web developer

As such, the tips we’ve provided are useful to a variety of tech professionals, not just front end developers.

Build a portfolio

One of the best ways to attract clients is to demonstrate your ability by showing off websites that you’ve had a hand in creating. This will prove that you’ve got practical experience, and if you attach links to these sites, clients can try out your work before hiring you.

Even if you have no professional experience, you can create a portfolio with material created during your education. You can also create material exclusively for your portfolio, but make sure it demonstrates your skills as best you can.

As well as demonstrating the quality of other websites you’ve had a hand in making, it’s a good idea to make your own website to host your portfolio on. This will provide more evidence of your abilities, and allows potential clients to interact with a piece of work you’ve made independently.

Try freelancing sites 

Freelancing sites allow employers to post job offers online so that freelancers can read and accept them. Employers can also search for freelancers that might be appropriate for the job available.

Many of the best freelancing sites don’t strictly focus on web development, but the sheer number of employers on the sites means that you will likely find something that suits your talents. If you’d prefer to use freelancing sites specific to tech professionals (like front-end developers), try gun.io or Upstack

Be active on social media

As with any other modern business, it’s wise to have a decent social media presence. Having a social media profile is free, and allows a great number of potential clients to find you. 

In addition, specialised jobs like front-end development tend to create close-knit communities, so being on social media will also allow you to connect with other professionals in the industry to build your reputation.

Managing your freelance income with a simple app

Although being a freelancer provides a lot of freedom, it also comes with a lot of responsibility. One of these responsibilities is managing your finances

You’ll need to be able to keep track of all the money you make and spend as a freelance front end developer, which can be tricky and time-consuming.

That’s why thousands of self-employed people across the UK use the Countingup app. It’s the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place.

With features like invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Find out more here.