Hi, I live in the SW of England so there is no big city’s around and I want to try and make a living out of what I am good at(web design and development). I am 17 and I have already designed and built a site for a accountancy firm of a family friend and I really am just asking for some tips about how to get other clients because I am aiming for the local small-medium sized business market but I just don’t really know how to approach them or get my name out in a repetitively small town as there is not a big community of developers or designers and i just want to build smaller websites to start with and to gain client experience.
I hope that makes sense and any tips would be much appreciated
a) make sure you have your own website that best displays your ability.
b) make a small presentationintroductory packet on you and your business and services.
c) go to door to door, only to people who can actually benefit from a website, and ask if they’d be interested in learning about your services and what you can do for them.
d) readily have available your packet and business card everywhere you go. You never know who you may meet.
e) be as prepared as possible. people will look at you like a 17 year old kid, and unfortunately, "17 year old kid" often goes along with irresponsible, incapable, and inexperienced. try to prove them wrong.
f) do more research on the web… there is a plethora of information on how to do business. Expect to do hours and hours upon hours of research… you will learn many things that are important and vital to proper business practice and success, and things that you will most likely never find on a forum, much less a forum for tips and tricks on Cascading Style Sheets. ;)
Or, a better route then trying to "make a living out of what i’m good at", is not going the freelancer route right away. There is simply too much involved, and unless you already have business experience and understand taxes, liability, etc, you could really screw yourself. I would recommend submitting your portfolio to an actual design firm, looking to be an apprentice, or if you’re really that good, a hired job straight away. You can then learn the ropes, and maybe, possibly, one day be a freelance designer. There is so much involved in getting and doing your own business to actually make a living, that, I can only guess, at 17, you have no clue about. I’m not talking about making 300 bucks after a month of work for a mom and pop bakery. Making a living as a freelance webdesigner = multiple, several thousand dollar paying clients a year at least.
The reason I say all this, is because when you’re dealing with real clients, you aren’t dealing with a "family friend." You’re dealing with someone who is expecting a product to be delivered because they are paying you real money. You *need* to be prepared for everything, not play it by ear.
Thanks for the advice, I am working on a website at the moment and doing some work for free to build a up a portfolio. I have been researching and reading lots of blogs for years now and I just feel ready now to build a business. I have read a lot about business and taxes contracts and all the boring stuff and I have sorted out a contract and my dad is an accountant and runs a business who has said he will help with that side of things and my brother is doing a business degree and I have quite a lot of other contacts so if I get stuck I will be able to get help, but I really think I am capable of doing this with enough work put into it.
Thanks, I will take all that on board