I recently completed my first ever web design job. I got the job almost by accident, because the webmaster wanted help with some graphics.
I ended up charging only a small amount, as it was my first job and it was only a navigation bar with a redesigned logo and some textures.
I am wondering, how would someone in my position go about getting more work of this kind? I know about networking and asking around, and I know that most jobs I get will be "by accident". I don't even have a website!
Is it possible to work for a small design company just to help out, or what? I'm not sure.
Any tips on finding more work, or what I should do next?
Background: This is currently only a hobby - I am a university student.
I have also done a couple of jobs designing a database for a local education centre, which earned me about AU$600 combined (about $US350 ?).
If you're serious about working in web design there are a few things you can do to help yourself get started.
The first one is to build a portfolio. Build yourself a site which showcases your design skills. Here you can put in examples of all the work you've done.
But you've not done any work? Well that's the next part. You can't really expect to be paid straight away. Try doing a few 'freebies' for local charities, clubs etc. Build them sites, design them some graphics etc for free and you can add these into your portfolio. If you're lucky these organisations might then refer some paying clients to you, and even if they don't, the experience is valuable. You could even enter some design contests on SitePoint Forums to add more examples of work to your portfolio, or, as you said offer your skills to a small design company for a small or no fee.
When you're done building up an array of sites and graphics you can try some local advertising. Distribute business cards, posters etc, or maybe even place an ad in local press if your budget allows it.
You'll find that once your name is known in the local area, businesses will hopefully start coming to you. This doesn't happen overnight, but as your portfolio and experience grows you can hopefully be earning a good amount of money from this little venture.
I'm actually still working on my first ever 'client's site, but hopefully it's the start of something big too. Keep us posted as to how it goes and if you need any advice drop me a line :)
I like the demo site you showed us. It looks very professional, tasteful and clean. I don't like though, the background images that you have behind the top sets of links, the purplish gradient one...personal preference though.
Do you mean the 'buttons' at the bottom?
This was the specific design the client specified. I had had flatter and smoother buttons in an earlier version.
It was enjoyable working on this project and I am thankful for the experience.
Please note that the link I provided was a temporary example only, and the text on that page was simply just for commucation while I designed it...
nope...I was referring to the top set of links. There appears to be a background image inside each table cell. I personally dont like that look. I prefer large areas of flat color myself.
Carry business cards with you everywhere!
I can't tell you how many times I've been to doctors or dentists, or even parties with friends, and had people say that they wanted/needed a website for their company, or that their boss wants a website. It much more professional to hand them a card than to scrawl your phone number or email address on a napkin. ;)