Getting good at web design/development is good, its essential but it’s not the ultimate. The most successful web designers/developers are not necessarily the best at web design itself, but are more than average in design, marketing, customer relations and public relations. To be successful, you’ll have to have a good mix of all these. I try to help you solve more than one of these challenges in this post.
We live in a social world, no Man is an island as they say, as humans we need one another to survive. Especially in developing countries where there is no recruitment infrastructure, you’ll need referral. People you know would introduce you to people they know who needs your services, those would in turn introduce you to those they know that needs your services as well, the chain goes on. No matter the services needed, a soon to be client would most likely knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who is a web developer, personally this accounts for at least 40% of all my projects. Its important you give a good first impression to your prospective clients and maintain a good relationship with your already existing client, people would not introduce you to other prospective clients if they think you’d embarrass them either by sub-standard work or bad behavior.
In a highly competitive and, in most places, saturated market, you need to make sure your reputation as a freelancer is well-managed and continues to grow. It’s very possible to get a good reputation without being the best in the world, and it’s even easier to lose that reputation. You could even apply incentives such as referral bonus to motivate your old clients to help you get new ones.
Nothing on the Internet right now does marketing like social media, services like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, On-line Forums (Nigeria- http://www.nairaland.com webmasters section) if used can help sell your services as a web designer. Make sure all your connections/friends/followers on these services know you’re a web developer/designer. Showcase what you’ve done to them, you could also offer referral incentives here, you’d be surprised how many prospective marketers you’d motivate!
Online Persona/ Portfolio
In this day and age, I think its very dumb for a web designer/ developer not to have an online portfolio. With proper SEO, this could at least help you get local search traffic for prospective clients, it could also serve as a referral point, where you refer prospective clients/partners to. It should showcase what you’ve done, what you’re capable of doing and who your clients are.
“Your website should be at the centre of your marketing strategy. It’s where people go to see who you are, what you’re about, whether you know what you’re talking about and what work you have done. It’s your silent 24/7 salesman, and it needs to be right. Fortunately, what your website needs is straightforward:
-Well-presented work with a good description of the roles you played
-A brief history of who you are and why you’re where you are
– Contact details that are easily accessible
-Content that is continually tweaked, added to, and updated”
Every person you know is your audience, even folks you’ve never met. Start from your email address book, every contact there is an audience and either a potential customer or referrer! You could also simply take out time to scan your mailbox, find all those mails that you received that was sent to many people, copy the email addresses and you’ll already have a large audience.
Make sure you’re clear about your intentions. If you’re starting a new business – it should be clear that you are going to be charging for your services. Be certain, from the start, that your potential client (and friend) knows that you’re not giving work away for free.
Only offer help where you can make an honest, positive difference. These people trust you, don’t abuse that trust just to build your portfolio. In the long run, your friendship (and your reputation) is more important than your portfolio.
Start small and over-deliver. Don’t promise the moon in order to sell your services. It’s always better to start with a small project and execute it perfectly. If you have an idea on how to expand the project, discuss it after you’ve proven you’re a genius.
There are a number of sites that help freelancers get jobs, many of such sites do not only provide jobs for web designers and developers but also programmers, database administrators etc. Getting jobs from sites like this is quite competitive so be patient, here are some of such sites