How to Get Web Development Projects: Your Guide to Getting a Paid Freelance Gig

October 30, 2023
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While some individuals are drawn towards the safe route of a full-time web development job, others want to blaze their own trail and become freelancers or independent contractors.

After all, this opens up the door to more flexibility and autonomy, higher earning potential, the ability to curate a personal brand, and all sorts of other enticing opportunities. 

That being said, you may be wondering where to get web development projects - or how to get web development projects in the first place.

Whether you’ve just graduated Debug Academy’s Drupal training and are ready for that first paid project or you’re pivoting out of a full-time job or want some work on the side in your spare time - you’ve come to the right place.

We’ll share the best places to find projects as a web developer and empower you with tips on making a thriving career out of this opportunity. First, why work on a project-by-project basis instead of a full-time career?

Why Try and Get Web Development Projects Rather Than a Full-Time Job?

The safety and security of a full-time job in web development are very attractive. You also get benefits and other perks. 

So, why would you want to step outside the box and work on individual projects as a contractor rather than landing a full-time job?

Flexibility and Autonomy

Choosing freelance web development projects over a full-time job provides unparalleled flexibility. You have the power to set your own schedule, choose the projects that interest you, and work from anywhere in the world. 

This autonomy enables a better work-life balance, allowing you to tailor your career to suit your personal life, not the other way around. That being said, not everyone can handle this much freedom - so you’ll have to be sure to hold yourself accountable. 

Diverse Opportunities

The world of freelance web development is vast and varied. You can work on a plethora of projects across different industries, gaining exposure and experience in areas a full-time job might not offer. 

This diversity not only keeps your work exciting but also broadens your skill set, making you a more versatile and attractive candidate for future opportunities.

Potential for Higher Earnings

While freelancing comes with its own set of financial uncertainties, it also offers the potential for higher earnings. It’s up to you to determine if the risk/reward ratio is worth it.

You set your own rates and earn significantly more than a salaried position might offer with the right skills and network. Additionally, you’re not bound by a fixed income, giving you the freedom to take on more work during peak times.

Building a Personal Brand

Freelancing is an excellent opportunity to build your own personal brand. Every successful project adds to your portfolio, showcasing your skills and reliability to potential clients. 

This personal brand becomes a powerful tool in attracting new business and establishing yourself as a trusted expert in the field over time.

Downsides to Consider

While there are numerous benefits to pursuing freelance web development projects, it’s important to also consider the downsides. 

The lack of a steady income can be stressful, and you are responsible for all aspects of the business, from finding clients to managing finances. 

Additionally, you miss out on the benefits and securities that come with a full-time position, such as health insurance and retirement plans.

So, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons and determine which path makes the most sense. The trust is you don’t necessarily have to choose one or the other at first, either. 

You can try to learn how to get web development projects as you work your full-time job, slowly but surely building up a roster of clients that send you projects on a consistent basis. 

That being said, let’s talk about where to get web development projects before talking about how to get web development projects. 

Where to Get Web Development Projects

Discovering the right platforms to find web development projects is crucial for a flourishing freelance career. 

There are more places you can start your search than ever before - but we recommend narrowing your focus rather than taking a shotgun approach and applying on every job board you can find. 

Here’s a rundown of some of the top websites where you can secure your first project:


Upwork stands as one of the most popular freelance marketplaces, boasting a vast array of job postings daily. 

It caters to freelancers of all skill levels, and web developers can find a plethora of opportunities, ranging from short-term tasks to long-term projects. 

Create a comprehensive profile, set your rates, and start bidding on jobs that match your expertise.


Fiverr offers a unique approach by allowing freelancers to create gigs based on their skills and services. Potential clients can browse these gigs and purchase them directly. 

This means showcasing your specific skills for web developers, whether it’s front-end development, back-end development, or full-stack capabilities, to attract the right clientele.


Toptal prides itself on connecting clients with the top 3% of freelance talent worldwide. The platform has a rigorous screening process to ensure that only the best developers get to work on projects. 

This means it's harder to get on, but leads to better opportunities. Toptal can provide access to high-quality, well-compensated projects if you have extensive experience and are confident in your skills.


Dribbble is widely recognized in the design community, but it also has a job board that features opportunities for web developers. 

With its focus on design, Dribbble is a great platform for front-end developers and web designers looking to work on aesthetically driven projects.

Stack Overflow 

Stack Overflow is a well-established community for developers, and its job board is an excellent resource for finding web development projects. 

You can filter job listings based on technology stack, location, and job type, making it easier to find projects that align with your skills and preferences.

How to Get Web Development Projects: Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Paid Freelance Gig

There is so much discussion on how to get a web developer job without experience or how to become a web developer without degree. But, what if you want to learn how to get web development projects instead of a full-time job?

While some of the steps and techniques are similar, there are a few nuances to consider as you start looking for that first paid freelance gig. But, you’ll feel confident in your next steps by the time you finish reading this section below!

Honing in Your Skills & Specializations

The first step to attracting potential clients is to ensure you have a robust skill set. Specializing in a specific area of web development, such as Drupal, can set you apart from the competition. 

What is Drupal, though? Drupal is an open-source content management system known for its flexibility and scalability, making it an excellent choice for web developers looking to specialize. It comes out on top even in comparing Joomla vs Drupal or Drupal vs Wordpress.

You position yourself as an expert in a niche market by mastering Drupal, increasing your chances of getting hired for projects requiring this specific skill.

Whether you offer Drupal migration services or you build sites from scratch and make regular updates to them, this is one of the best specializations in web development for those wondering how to get web development projects.

We’ll talk about how to learn Drupal fast later on so you can get that first paid gig ASAP. In the meantime, let’s highlight the role a strong portfolio plays in earning consistent projects.

Building a Strong Portfolio

A portfolio showcases your skills and previous work to potential clients. It’s essentially your way of showing that you can do the work you’re applying for, offering the client peace of mind that they’re hiring a worthy candidate. 

So, ensure it is up-to-date, well-organized, and highlights your best projects. Include a variety of projects that showcase your versatility but ensure that your specialization in Drupal is evident. 

Highlight how your expertise in Drupal contributed to the success of these projects, demonstrating your value to potential clients. 

Being able to tie a dollar sign to your work (such as how much money an e-commerce company generates on their website that you built, or how many more leads came in with design improvements you made) will be key to earning projects consistently. 

Crafting Winning Proposals

The ability to write compelling proposals is crucial in securing freelance gigs. Start by thoroughly reading the project description and understanding the client’s needs. Tailor each proposal to the specific project, highlighting how your skills and experience make you the perfect fit for the job. 

Emphasize your expertise in Drupal, providing examples of similar projects you’ve successfully completed. Be clear about your approach to the project, your availability, and your proposed timeline and budget.

While you likely won’t have to go through a formal interview process, getting up to speed with the common Drupal interview questions is a good way to feel confident in your follow-up conversations after submitting your proposal.

Setting Competitive Rates

One of the most challenging aspects of freelancing is determining how much to charge for your services. You don’t want to leave money on the table by underbidding, but you also don’t want to scare a prospective client away with an excessive price point.

So, conduct market research to understand the standard rates for web development projects, especially those requiring Drupal expertise. 

Consider your level of experience, the complexity of the project, and the value you bring to the table when setting your rates. Be transparent with your clients about your pricing structure and be ready to justify your rates by highlighting your skills and previous successful projects.

Effective Communication Skills

Building and maintaining strong relationships with clients is crucial in the freelancing world. Ensure you are clear, concise, and professional in all your communications. Keep clients updated on your progress, and don’t hesitate to raise any issues or questions as soon as they arise. 

Good communication not only helps in delivering projects successfully but also aids in building trust, which can lead to repeat business and referrals. After all, you’re not just trying to get a single project - you want a consistent stream of work from clients!

Managing Your Time and Projects Efficiently

You will likely be juggling multiple projects at once as a freelancer. Effective time management and organization are key to ensuring you meet all your deadlines and deliver quality work. 

Utilize project management tools to keep track of your tasks and deadlines. Prioritize your work, and be realistic about what you can achieve in the given timeframe. 

Learning to say no is also a crucial part of managing your time effectively. While it’s tempting to take on any and every project to earn more income, it’s all too easy to end up overwhelmed by doing this. It can take a toll on your reputation and leave you stressed out.

Getting Referrals 

A satisfied client is your best source of new business. Don’t be shy to ask for referrals or testimonials at the end of a successful project. You can also offer incentives for referrals, such as discounts on future services. 

Networking with other professionals in the industry, both online and offline, can also lead to referrals and new opportunities. This is part of building your personal brand as we discussed earlier. And, what better way to invest in yourself than through tailored education at Debug Academy?

Set Yourself Apart From Other Devs With Debug Academy!

Distinguishing yourself is key in the crowded field of web development. That’s why devs who want to set themselves apart come to Debug Academy for our world-class courses.

We’re passionate about equipping aspiring developers with the robust skills and real-world knowledge necessary to stand out. Our comprehensive Drupal training ensures you’re not just learning to code - you’re learning to solve problems and build scalable, efficient solutions.

Our curriculum is meticulously crafted to provide practical experience, mirroring the challenges you'll face in actual web development projects. You’ll graduate from our courses not just with theoretical knowledge, but with a portfolio that showcases your ability to handle the demands of real-world clients. 

Our commitment to small class sizes guarantees personalized attention, ensuring no query goes unanswered, and every concept is thoroughly understood.

Moreover, our instructors are industry professionals who bring a wealth of experience and insight into the classroom. You gain invaluable insights into what it takes to succeed in this competitive field by learning from their journey.

We have everything from free Drupal training and Drupal training for beginners to our more advanced Drupal certification program and Drupal 9 training. Explore our suite of courses and take a leap of faith as we draw this conversation on how to get web development projects to a close!

Parting Thoughts on How to Get Web Development Projects

Embarking on a journey to secure web development projects, whether as a freelancer or contractor, can be daunting yet rewarding. 

The flexibility, diversity of opportunities, and potential for higher earnings make it an attractive option. However, success requires more than just coding skills. It demands a combination of technical prowess, effective communication, and business savvy.

Investing in yourself through comprehensive training at Debug Academy positions you to not just navigate, but thrive in this competitive field. You’re ready to take the freelance world by storm with specialized knowledge in Drupal, a portfolio of real-world projects, and the confidence that comes with being well-trained.

Learn more about getting jr web developer jobs, the typical Drupal certification cost, is Drupal still relevant, and more in our blog. Or, take action today by enrolling in a course at Debug Academy.  

Don’t let the uncertainty of securing web development projects hold you back. Take the first step towards standing out and building a lucrative career with Debug Academy. Your future in web development awaits, and we’re here to help you achieve it.

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