I started doing volunteer work for charities, and my local community. After a while, word of mouth led to paid jobs. Also, whilst honing my skills, and taking part in communities like Dribbble and Forrst, I had other job offers. One of the more significant offers I have had recently actually came due to my blog (where I write about web stuff, mainly CSS). Lastly, I have had people approach me after seeing some of the crazy CSS experiments that I love to do.
@_john_ It’s perfectly normal to feel nervous. I was the same way when I first started but eventually you become confident in your work. @joshuanhibbert has a good point. Doing little side projects to show your talent and ability is a great way to get hired and use for your portfolio. As I stated above, you don’t actually need clients to show this. Also, I would advise you to become comfortable and knowledgeable in development before accepting clients or applying for a position.
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Well, with some of that info @John I’d have to take back my “not the worst idea to do it for free” comment :). It sounded above as though you were more of a computer programming and just finding out if web was something you think you might be interested in. As your passion is in web technology and you want to grow in this area, even your first clients should expect to pay you. In reality, all of us that are charging clients are essentially being paid to get better and better.
You’ve got to stop thinking that because you love something that it doesn’t merit a high value. I argue that it makes you far more valuable because there are a million drones out there that don’t give a damn about the client they are working with. One thing that keeps winning me referrals is that people pick up on the fact that I genuinely love what I do and I genuinely care about their company/business/organization.
@_john_ , from what you’ve written I have to say I am in exactly the same position as you, I’ve told myself I’m not going to get myself out there until I’m fully confident and made a few test sites that I’m absolutely happy with, yet I’m seeing people over the web asking questions that I already know the answers to, as well as recognizing bad coding. So I thank you for asking this question and getting the discussion flowing!
As for everyone else, thankyou for replying to john! It’s always nice to know there’s friendly people out there looking out for you.
What I’d really appreciate knowing is, how do I go about taking on a first client with ‘no experience’ ? (aside from personal) I’d love to have a well written personal site up and running by then with some ‘mock’ websites on, but how would you recommend handling the question? (what past work have you done?)
Also would anyone recommend starting off part-time freelance or trying to join a design firm as a junior/intern?
P.S. @_john_ don’t forget to let us know how you get on!
I appreciate the generous and gentle comments towards the free work. @ChristopherBurton, i gave that article a good read. thanks for the link. Ive started with a portfolio site and im quite happy with it so far.
One thing i can take away and start doing now is just make fake websites, templates, and post those on my resume/portfolio site and the experience will come to me.
@ptbbetts, I will be updating the status of the client relationship here regularly.
@css-tricks community, I really do appreciate all the constructive comments. The general audience here seems to be a good group of technical professionals that conduct themselves so.