Highlight text to annotate itX
Hi folks, John Pedan here, telling you how to be freelance web designer.
So there's four basic points here. Point number one is build your skills. You're only as good
as your skills. The more in demand your skills, the more you can charge. More or less, it
is as simple as that.
So figure out which skills are in demand in the marketplace right now, and also figure
out what you want to work with, i.e. what you want your skills to be. You might already
have a particular skill that you want to sell and know that it's in demand in the marketplace,
but if you're just starting out, it's helpful to look at what's in demand and what you want
to be good at. Find something that fits both, and you're on to a winner.
As an example, web design for mobile screens are really popular right now, as is user experience
design. There's a real shift towards making the site responsive towards the device that
the user is using, and added to that, making the experience of using the website more intuitive
or higher performing for better conversions when a visitor hits an e-commerce site, as
In order to build your skills, you may have to work for free. Now just because you're
working for free, doesn't mean you're not being paid. As such, you are not earning financially
perhaps, but you might be earning in terms of experience -- that's the goal here -- or
indeed networking opportunities, future work with a client, or you might be doing some
work for a charity, as an example, that you believe in and you want to support.
Alternatively, you can invest your time in a project and you can build your skills without
spending any money. Something like a WordPress theme that you can sell might be a good starting
So in addition to building your skills, point number one, you have to build your portfolio.
As a freelancer, you're only as good as your last contract, your last gig. Your CV or resume,
if you're based in the states, has its place, but the real focus of your efforts should
be on crafting a really, really sweet portfolio that totally showcases how amazing you are
at web design.
It seems really, really obvious, but you would not believe how many web designers have a
really shocking website. It doesn't need to be all bells and whistles; it can be quite
simple. Certainly mine is, if you go to www.johncpeden.com, it's basically just an online business card.
But what it does do is showcase all the work that I've done on other peoples' websites,
and all the technologies that I've used and how good I am at them. That's what the client
looks for. They don't really care that your site can do all this fancy, jazzy stuff. What
can you do and how does it benefit them, that's all it comes down to. So build your skills,
build your skills and build your portfolio.
Point number three is build your network. It really is who you know and not what you
know. If a friend of yours is looking for a graphic designer, and you recommend a graphic
designer; chances are, he'll go with your recommendation. There are very interesting
psychological reasons as to why we put stock in the recommendation of a friend.
But without going into too much detail here, your network is really, really powerful. And
again, people spend hours on job sites and uploading their resume to this, or updating
linked in and all this kind of stuff, and then miss this massive network of friends,
family, acquaintances, colleagues, neighbors that could potentially offer them work.
So build your network in that sense. Make people aware of what you're doing; that you're
looking for work, that you're trying to build your portfolio and your experience, the skills
that you can offer and what you can do.
Another great thing you can do here is to find people who have done what you're trying
to do, what you want to do. Ask them questions about how they got to where you want to be
and you'd be amazed at how much great advice people who are real gurus in your industry
will be prepared to give you.
Because it's really flattering to be asked for advice.
Now obviously, if you're reaching to the very top of the tree and these people are super
busy, you might fall short, but give it a go. The worst that can happen is that they
don't reply to you.
In addition to that, you want to find people that can put you in front of your clients.
So recruitment agents are a real prime example. Certainly in web development, almost all the
jobs I have ever been offered have come from an agent.
So you befriend the agent and the agent feeds these jobs back to you and all the hard work
is done for you. So long as the agents know that you're looking for work and the skills
that you can offer, they get paid basically to put you in a job, so it's in their interest
to find jobs for you. So befriend the people who will find you work. Make sense?
Again, working for free can be leveraged here. As I said before, you might not be paid, but
the pay off comes in terms of experience or networking. Networking is a real focus here.
I'll do some free work for a big journalist, let's say, who can then say, "What a great
job so and so did on my site," and put me in front of potentially thousands of new clients.
So finally, point number four. We have build your skills, build your portfolio, build your
network. Point number for is finding clients.
Now that sort of overlaps with the last one about building your network, but basically,
in terms of working with your clients, you need to figure out what they're looking for,
where do they go for their solutions, and what kind of person are they looking for when
they hire you.
So the real aim of this whole exercise is to craft yourself and your offer in such a
way that the client cannot refuse. Basically you want to present yourself as the most tempting
thing that they have ever come across. They have this problem and you are the solution.
They don't need to train you, they don't need to work with any weird personality quirks;
you fit perfectly into their organization. You obviously understand them, you understand
the problem, you understand that your skills can solve the problem.
So the key here is to craft the perfect offer. Now how do you do that? You do it by researching
Now as I said, a lot of the jobs that you'll come across in web development and web design
will come through agents, and agents can be ***, for lack of a better word. They
can really restrict the amount of information that comes your way and make it really, really
difficult to find out who it is you're going to be working for.
Some of the better ones I've worked with will reveal certain bits and pieces -- you know
the company name, the company location and all that kind of stuff. That gives you the
opportunity to research the company, to find out who works there, the kind of stuff they
do, and when you come in to meet them you're then presenting yourself as -- "Oh he's really
intelligent. He's done all this hard work. He knows what we're about. He knows the ethos
of the organization, the nature of the problem. And most importantly, he or she knows how
their skills are going to solve our problem. They don't want to have to teach you how to
get up to speed with it. They just want you to come in and fix the headache that they've
got. So figure out what the client needs from you and offer it to them.
That's all there is in this video folks. For more great freelancing information, just click
the link down here, and I'll see you on the other side.