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  1. #1
    SitePoint Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Advice for coder on running a local Web Design Business?

    Hello Everyone, I'm a php / mysql coder with around 10 years of experience. I've done tons of odd jobs for clients on freelance websites, and as I gained experience, I have learned the value of my work. I have a handful of really great clients who I occasionally do part time work for. Now I want to enter the local web design scene.

    I want to offer top notch standard compliant sites. The problem is, I have no portfolio and no design skills! My idea is to hire a web designer to design the client sites, pass on the design to me and let me handle the rest.

    I live in mexico, where 90% of the sites are still web 1.0, high speed internet is beginning to flourish here and I want my piece of the cake. As I have no design portfolio, I was thinking of finding any designers who are interested in sharing their portfolio in exchange for guaranteed work. Do you find this idea feasible? I'm looking for ideas on how to build a portfolio FAST!

    Another question is how do coders find quality clients? (apart from freelance website.) How do you showcase your coding abilities?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard johntabita's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    In a big, big house, with lotsa lotsa room
    7 Post(s)
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    If you want to transition from coding odd freelance jobs to selling web services to businesses, then keep in mind that business owners care nothing about your coding abilities. All they care out is:
    • Can you solve my problem?
    • Can you provide a solution?
    For example:

    Solve my problem: I have a crappy web 1.0 site that's an embarrassment to me. No one can figure out how to use it and I'm losing business because of it.

    Provide a solution: My top competitors are all online and making money and I'm missing the opportunity to do the same. I need a website and good search ranking in order to compete with them.

    Talk to clients about the results your produce, and not the skills you possess.

    When I first started, lack of a portfolio wasn't that much of a problem. Many of those early clients did not even ask to see one. There's a saying in sales: "Don't answer questions your client isn't asking." Why offer to show your portfolio if the client isn't asking to see it?

    If you team up with a designer, you could bring printed samples of some of his work. If the client asks for a portfolio, explain what you've told us, that you're a programmer who works with a design partner who creates the front-end, and show him the printed portfolio. But again, if he doesn't ask, don't volunteer.

    As far as getting clients, that the toughest challenge. I suggest to visit SitePoint's business section and read some articles. The Web Design Business Kit is also another good resource. Here are two others I can recommend:

    Honest Selling

    Get Web Design Clients

    Hope that helps.

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