There are no easy hacks on how to get your first web design client. It can be a long process, but it is always worth it in the end. Although it is possible to get your first client in the next 72 hours, it will need more willpower, confidence, and effort than anything. The good thing is, once you get your first web design client, your business will grow so long as you perform to meet client expectations.
Here are the first few steps you might need to take to get your first web design client:
Build your portfolio
This is pretty much the most important of all – building a portfolio. Any prospective web design client would want to look at your previous work, not just your credentials and achievements on paper. Most, if not all, clients want to see the “real thing” a.k.a. your web design samples. This builds trust and credibility both of which are essential in setting up a business (and that business is you). Think of it as a resume that exhibits all your best web design work.
MAKE SURE TO SPECIFY YOUR EXPERTISE. Closed deals are more common when you are clear to the clients what you are specifically offering. If the range of services is too wide, clients can make second guesses before they decide. You are the expert, so you show them what they are looking for before they even tell you.
You can create different portfolios to match a variety of prospective clients. If your portfolio contains previously published works, the better. But, honestly, it can still contain even your best drafts and personal projects. As long as it showcases your capabilities, any work will do. There are lots of tutorials online on how to create a portfolio. Once you have a good working portfolio, your client hunting can now begin.
Set up connections
Setting up connections is not easy. You can start with your close set of friends and family. Then, you can extend to their networks. This will be no easy task and would require more confidence and socialization than you could ever imagine. Marketing yourself on social media is also a good way to network.
Thankfully, there are now trustworthy freelancing boards and websites that connect potential clients with freelancers. Just remember, lots of these freelancing boards have bidding processes. Here, you will see the typical ranges and averages that other freelancers charge for their web design work. This gives you an idea of how to properly provide quotations for your clients. If you are not comfortable in going too low, you can opt-out and look for another client where you are comfortable with the price.
Another way to set up connections is to call or email potential clients straight up. Write a good letter of intent, find the person to contact, and submit your portfolio (even for pooling purposes only). The downside to this is the fact that you might need to call a good amount of potential clients before actually bagging one. It may be old-fashioned but it can prove to be effective.
Work for free
We don’t mean that you should give free services to your first client. What this means is that you should get the right experiences and exposures first. Yes, we mean it, work for free. This could be in the form of providing free to download work (creative commons). Or sometimes, doing web design work for charities and NGOs can be a good way to get clients.
If you are not too confident about charging too much with a very thin portfolio, offer up your services to outlets that will publish and market your work to a wide audience. Not only can you build up your portfolio, set up connections, you can also buff up your experiences through this. You can even get free PR for your work.
These are helpful in building a steady foundation not only to bag your first paid web design client but all your potential clients as you go about your career in web design. In fact, these life hacks are applicable for finding clients in almost any industry. Happy client hunting!
Also read: 8 Excellent Design Resources for Your Creative Projects
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