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I have been working on freelance sites for a good 4 or 5 years, bending over backwards to build a decent portfolio and generate great ratings. I take huge pride in my work (web applications).

I'm completely lost because when I think what would happen if I suddenly lost my freelance account it isn't a pretty picture. I have literally no idea where else I could advertise my services apart from google paid advertising.

Any suggestions? I'd of course be more than willing to pay for marketing and such. I've been searching google for ages and can't find much advice on where to advertise to secure good clients for web development work.

I say good clients because I mean actual business owners, not somebody else who is outsourcing to me (where do they find clients?). I'd appreciate any help.

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Go to actual businesses and tell them why they need to pay you to contract for them? –  Nic Jul 20 '11 at 2:44
    
@melee, I'm talking about online advertising. Sorry. –  Damien Roche Jul 20 '11 at 2:47
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Personally, I wouldn't waste the money. If someone contacts you because they're familiar with your work, that's one thing - but as a former freelancer, the unsolicited opportunities were the WORST. I found much higher quality opportunities by working with local companies in the flesh. –  Nic Jul 20 '11 at 2:50
    
Ahh, I see that was the exact (bountied) answer to one of your other questions. I'm sorry about that. –  Nic Jul 20 '11 at 2:55
    
Where do you live? Which freelance site have you been using? Do you do more frontend or backend work? –  Daniel Jul 20 '11 at 3:50
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2 Answers

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It sounds like the first thing you need to do is make yourself a web application that has your portfolio on it if you don't already have one, so if whatever site you are using loses your portfolio you still have all the information available. I would also consider creating an LLC or private corporation or something as well. Then take your website you create and make sure you make it available to people looking you up everywhere you frequent, your SE profile, your freelancer profiles, other forums profiles/post signatures...

Essentially do for yourself what I assume you have done for many of your clients.

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One good way to market yourself on the internet as a software developer is to contribute to a prominent open source project or, even better if you can, start an interesting project yourself. On a website like github it's easy to show how much you contributed and how much your contribution was valued by other developers.

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