Finding Clients And Landing Them – How To Stay Afloat As A Web Designer
Building a career as a freelance web designer is an exciting way to support yourself on the cutting edge of modern technology. Not everyone who tries it succeeds at it, and the division between the successes and failures does not have a lot to do with the respective designers’ skills. If you want to make money and keep doing web design for a living, finding and securing clients is vitally important. Here are some things you can do to make that easier.
First and foremost, you should recognize that in order to turn a profit, you will be going after business owners and professionals. These types of clients represent the perfect balance for you. Their establishments are usually too small to boast any in-house web design expertise, but their revenues are high enough to hire you at a decent rate. In order to impress professional clients, you have to let them know that you’re at home in their world.
You should be making a positive impression on a potential client even before you open your mouth. You need to have a few solid outfits in your wardrobe that are at the snazzier end of the “business casual” spectrum; meeting a new client is a perfect time to bust one of them out. You need to be ready for the ancient ritual of business card exchange with a professional-looking card of your own. (Resist the temptation to express yourself by using irregular shapes, refrigerator magnets, or ripe fruits with your address cut into the rind as business cards.)
When you sit down and get to business, the key to landing a client is thorough preparation. You should prepare in both a general and a specific sense. That means having a standard pitch for your design services that you have practiced and polished and made as convincing as possible. In terms of “specific” preparation, you should make an effort to learn everything you can about your potential client and his or her business before you meet. You want to demonstrate this information in a subtle way. A good technique is to ask them to clarify something about their line of work for you. This demonstrates a passing familiarity with their business while still acknowledging their expertise.
If your meeting progresses well, you want to present your services as professionally as yourself. Have a formalized price list for the different design functions you’re willing to provide. Take the time to research your local competition and make sure that your pricing is attractive to potential clients. It’s also an excellent idea to work up some informational material you can give away to would-be clients. This can teach them more about web design in general and your services in particular. If you can get a potential client using your materials as a reference when they interview other designers, you’re well on your way to landing them.
Although being an independent web designer gives you a great opportunity to be your own boss, if you want to be successful you do need to be able to hunker down and play the part of a business professional from time to time. As you can see, it’s not that difficult a trick to pull off. The more you do it, the easier it will get – and the more business you’ll have!