How to start getting paid for web dev?

Currently I work full time in a non technical, non web job. I have been learning html, css, javascript and jquery for 3 months and have built a couple of sites in my free time. I’d like to start building web sites full time so that I can devote 70hrs a week to it (as opposed to the current 50hrs day job, 20 hrs web design). I’m not looking to get rich, just get by, while I learn.

I’m thinking of learning Wordpress to start doing client work since it is a quick and easy.

I’ve also thought about applying to a few web dev jobs and hoping that somebody takes a chance (maybe offering to work for a reduced salary).

Can anyone make any suggestions or share how they got their “big break”?

I hesitate to give tips for job entry for someone who has been learning for only 3 months. Are those sites online where they can be reviewed?

You might want to read this book:

@Steve, thanks for the reply.

My two sites are available for potential clients/employers to see but I hesitate to post them. The reason being that one is my wedding website (a little personal) and the other is a friends company that launches in a couple months.

My question may have been interpreted incorrectly. Really, what I want to know is how to quit my day job in order to build web sites full time, while still paying the bills. I can learn twice or three times as fast if I can devote twice or three times as much time to it.

If you have 20 hours to devote to web design I think you can do it. Don’t rush. You should focus on getting a couple of good professional portfolio pieces before you can ask to get paid for projects. Wordpress is actually not that easy if you’re going to get into the coding part of it and in most cases you’ll have to dabble into PHP to make customizations. I ran into many troubles mainly with PHP and the database part. Take some time building your portfolio and some client base. Also…I learned this hard way: if you’re going to use WP don’t start from scratch! Either get a minimalist theme and build upon that or something that is close to what you’ll build. It takes a long time just to customize the themes. If you can, team up with a web developer.

I’d start off looking for some small jobs and slowly look for bigger ones. Don’t quit your regular job with the expectation of finding work straight away; it can take a long time to find regular work/clients. Sometimes it’s a good idea to save up some money before trying to expand freelance/business clients so if you do struggle you have a backup.

Make a huge effort to learn some Sales Skills.

Everyone and his/her dog can churn out a website, but not many people can actually sell one. And then the next. And the next. And the next…:smiley:

Sales skills are actually more important than technical skills if you want to make money as a freelancer.


A good way to get your work online and out there is on Code Canyon! Like the ebay of development. Or you could have a look at People Per Hour. I used this for around a year before meeting big clients. This will also help you get more confidence in your own work and what way to work as a developer.

I would first try to search for some friends/family (or their employer) who need a website, and wouldn’t charge a lot for it. Then, with more experience, i would search for clients in my local area (maybe small-medium businesses with no, or poorly designed websites). Its a good advantage to have a client with whom you can meet face-to-face. After that step, with even more experience i would go global and look for clients all over the world. It would be a gradual process for improvement.

It is unlikely that the original poster will ever see this but… it would be interested to know if he wanted to work in an agency or if he wanted to freelance.

Thank you everyone for your responses, and I apologize for being MIA.

@molona, my goal is to work in an agency. I will start a new thread that makes this more clear.