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justint

Best places/way to look for work or advertise?

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I've had rather a dry spell recently. About £100 in the last six months!

 

I was wondering what the consensus of opinion was on places to find work?

 

I've been trying networking events, advertising (gumtree, facebook) posting twitter, social media in general.

 

Not much is working, need to break this bad spell.

 

Thanks for any ideas.

 

Justin

 

 

 

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Hi Justin,

 

According to your profile we are a similar age, I'm 48. I'm not a web designer, though. Is Web Design your main passion, and or source of income? I notice your address on the site says University, etc.

 

I'm just curious. I wonder if you have any ideas as to where you want to be.

 

Hang in there mate. If times get tricky emotionally, enjoy going outside into nature and seeing the bigger picture and endless possibilities. Sorry, I like to focus on the important things.

 

Talking about outside, have you tried visiting smaller shops, restaurants and companies and offering to make them a simple, clean and low cost site? Tell them about the benefits of an online presence, etc. Maybe you have a tablet on which you can show people your ideas and work and how their site would immediately highlight their location on Google maps, etc. Those kinds of customers could help keep things ticking over.

 

I am a little shy about adding my own photo at this age, but on your site (which I think you should properly name in your sig) you should (in my opinion) add a higher resolution photo and smile in the photo. You look a little serious or reluctant in the photo you have chosen, and on a monitor it looks a little low res. Nice T-shirt. You could try different color T-shirts, too.

 

I like the simplicity of your website GreyLizard. The nice but strong background color is instantly apparent, yet unexpected given the site name.

 

Smile in a higher res photo and that alone will give a friendlier impression. Maybe other people can back me up on this (or not).

Edited by Grant Barker

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Hi Justin, just a few notes....

 

I would remove 'I have even outsourced to India!' as it sounds like you send work abroad to be done on the cheap.

 

I'm also a little bit confused about your pricing... you state that websites cost from £400 but that you charge £40 an hour. So You're building a complete website in 10 hours? Either you're incredibly talented, or cutting corners. Or I've missed something.

 

Consider getting a copywriter to review what you've written, I did.

 

Word Press should be WordPress.

 

'Powered by 123ContactForm | Report abuse' when I see things like that I think 'argh, it's one of those plugin installer type developers' and I would not pay £40 an hour for that kind of developer. For reference, I don't charge that amount per hour and I'd have no problem building my own contact form.

 

'A template modified from: HTML5 UP.' Same comment as above... if you're using someone else's template then how can you call yourself a 'Web Designer'? Developer maybe, but the title of your website references 'Web Design' (twice) not development.

 

Just my two-penneth.

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Thanks for the comments.

 

I probably didn't word the India thing very well. It was a little complicated, as a chap I know in India got me to do work for him. So I was doing work for a person in India as opposed to them doing work for me and as opposed to them employing another Indian.

 

10 hours would be about right to setup a pretty standard WordPress website. Like this one: http://idilhope.com/
(she's fiddled with it since so it's a little bit untidy now)

 

Yes I should get a copywriter you are right. I shall be studying it in my 3rd year at uni next year.

 

By webdesigner I was trying to give an all round webdesign feel, I can do a wide range of things from graphic design to social media. Though I have often been referred to as a webdevoloper I must admit.

 

You are right about the 123 contact. I did code a nice one but it broke and I haven't got round to fixing it yet (shoddy!)

 

Though I used a template from someone else I modified it substantially. WordPress tends to be the same.

 

Thanks for the comments, right as always :)

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To be honest I was more concerned with the question I asked:

 

I've had rather a dry spell recently. About £100 in the last six months!

 

I was wondering what the consensus of opinion was on places to find work?

 

I've been trying networking events, advertising (gumtree, facebook) posting twitter, social media in general.

 

Not much is working, need to break this bad spell.

 

Thanks for any ideas.

 

Justin

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From your portfolio there's no clear niche (unless I'm missing something). The best way to get work is to target a specific market, then people will begin to be referred to you and come to you rather than you having to chase every job and only getting budget projects.

 

What are your strengths and what do you enjoy? E.g. making ecommerce sites for small businesses: build your business around that. Or perhaps the networking events that you've been going to - go to some grassroots marketing or SEO ones where marketing freelancers and consultants are looking for people to build them sites and there's no competition or conflict of interest. Show them some sites you've done that are in line with what they're looking for, even if you've just made mockups. Any virtual office space in your area? Ask if you can drop some business cards or if they'll send an email round offering your services at an exclusive discount.

 

Would also suggest getting on the books of agencies that specialise in contract work and freelancers. They can help you hunt for short term work too and it's a nice way to get big names as social proof.

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I always considered a niche would limit the work I could do. I was trying to be all inclusive. Is that a bad idea? I have been told a few times to specialise in conservation websites, but they don't have any money!

 

I use the university as my office hub. I guess that just makes me look like a student, though there are several businesses based here.

 

Freelance contract work is a great idea. A friend does that in a different industry but does have trouble getting paid.

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You do need to pick a good niche; if you're trying to appeal to parrot lovers in Scarborough who are also gluten free, you're going to have a hard time (spoilers!) If you try to appeal to everyone you're going to appeal to no one. Plus you just end up with clients who want to pay the least possible, because that's the only way they know how to differentiate you from the competition.

 

If conservation websites don't have any money, how about something related to that? Maybe something in a gardening-related field?

 

If you use an agency for contract work and have a watertight contract with the client, you shouldn't have an issue getting paid in most cases. Especially if you have a late fees clause.

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I did think of specifying startups. At the end of the day that is actually the most common thread in my portfolio.

 

Yes I shall definitely look into freelance, good idea :)

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Personally, a lot of the content doesn't fill me with confidence, and you're in a very competitive industry. In a lot of places you mention themes, templates, and you have content like 'This coding was beyond my backend coding ability'. You need to do the opposite and convince people your the right person for the job. Think less about mentioning outsourcing and collaboration, and more about what you can do yourself. If you think of it from a potential clients point of view, the more people involved, the more difficult the project will be to manage, there are plenty of freelancers in London that can do everything.

 

You need to focus your efforts and work out what you're best at, and what you want to work on. Offering services like web dev, flyers, computer repair and MS Word training is too spread out, you'll have difficulty finding clients without narrowing what you specialise in.

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Have you not considered getting a job in the industry at a web agency and building up experience before going freelance?

 

Without wanting to sound condescending it sounds like you have a lack of experience when it comes to building modern websites / applications in what is a very competitive market like Jack said. Contrary to what many think, if you're a solid developer you can earn more than many freelancers, especially if you branch into contracting / consulting as you become more experienced.

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Yes, I guess as I have been at it since 1998 my experience is just old experience. Humm.
My angle was to corner the lower cost market but all that means is I can't pay the bills.

Maybe just saying I do WordPress would be best?

I have been thinking of becoming a boss instead, employing a developer and networker.

I'm ready to jack in webdesign as a sole trader.

Edited by justint

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Yes, I guess as I have been at it since 1998 my experience is just old experience. Humm.

My angle was to corner the lower cost market but all that means is I can't pay the bills.

Maybe just saying I do WordPress would be best?

I have been thinking of becoming a boss instead, employing a developer and networker.

I'm ready to jack in webdesign as a sole trader.

 

Wow, so much room for improvement I don't even know where to start, I would use it as a learning opportunity though.

 

I think, if you are a designer, you should start with that, refresh yourself with current design standards and work your way forwards, start here https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01MYE53YR/ref=oh_aui_d_detailpage_o06_?ie=UTF8&psc=1 a great book to get you thinking.

 

I would also check out some basic coding bits, I like DevTips on youtube https://www.youtube.com/user/DevTipsForDesigners he is more of a designer but he has great coding tips, best of both worlds really.

 

I would also shift my way through these https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-b3c7kxa5vU-bnmaROgvog more brilliant web specific tips and advice.

 

Lastly, don't neglect those software skills, this guy is an 'all rounder' https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeR7U67I2J1icV8E6Rn40vQ learn some new things, if you want to bring the customers back, stop working long hours for crap pay and get the skills to work shorter hours for better pay because you have more skill in what you do, no-one respects anything that comes cheap.

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You may wanna reword this sentence

"I'm happy to make a traditional website with an engine behind providing simple a editing system"

to

"I'm happy to make a traditional website with an engine behind providing a simple editing system"

I'm personally not a designer but a front end/back end developer so I can't really comment on the design aspect of things but I started out trying to be a designer but tbh hated it!! like a lot. I have found it's easier to get work as a developer. Is your passion design work? I mean do you enjoy it? If not I'd try the development side of things even tho it can take a while to learn languages like PHP etc..

Edited by webdesigner93

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Ah, thanks for the typo flagging up.

 

Yes, front end design is what I like. I know how the backend works but the design of the site is where it is at for me.

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Ah, thanks for the typo flagging up.

Yes, front end design is what I like. I know how the backend works but the design of the site is where it is at for me.

With that in mind why don't you either find some developers to collaborate with and offer design services, or find a role at a design agency? I personally prefer working for somebody else as a developer as opposed to freelancing because I can just write code every day and focus on becoming a better developer without having to worry about finding projects, dealing with accounts, red tape and so on. It's also a stable, reliable income.

We all have different wants and needs but if what you actually enjoy is more in line with design than running a business then maybe the employed route could suit you? You would also get the benefit of working with other skilled designers and devs that you can learn form. I know from my own experience if I had been freelancing I'd have learnt at a far slower rate than I have due to me working alongside experienced colleagues.

Edited by rbrtsmith

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With that in mind why don't you either find some developers to collaborate with and offer design services, or find a role at a design agency? I personally prefer working for somebody else as a developer as opposed to freelancing because I can just write code every day and focus on becoming a better developer without having to worry about finding projects, dealing with accounts, red tape and so on. It's also a stable, reliable income.

We all have different wants and needs but if what you actually enjoy is more in line with design than running a business then maybe the employed route could suit you? You would also get the benefit of working with other skilled designers and devs that you can learn form. I know from my own experience if I had been freelancing I'd have learnt at a far slower rate than I have due to me working alongside experienced colleagues.

 

Yes, this is great stuff. I'm definitely feeling this is the way to go. I had an intern job at the university I'm at last summer (University of East London) adding to their public website, which was where I realised front end is my thing more than ever before. We were building a Sitecore website. Sitecore was new to me but I got it straight away even though colleagues were struggling.

 

You have hit the nail on the head for me. Thanks very much, great advice.

 

Now to look for work in London! :)

Edited by justint

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Yes, this is great stuff. I'm definitely feeling this is the way to go. I had an intern job at the university I'm at last summer (University of East London) adding to their public website, which was where I realised front end is my thing more than ever before. We were building a Sitecore website. Sitecore was new to me but I got it straight away even though colleagues were struggling.

 

You have hit the nail on the head for me. Thanks very much, great advice.

 

Now to look for work in London! :)

I'm confused now, I thought you said your realm was more in design? I should re-iterate that frontend typically doesn't involve design. I am a front-end dev and I very rarely design beyond offering feedback to our design teams. You can absolutely do both design and front-end development but with front-end becoming so complex in recent times you will find a lot of front-end devs tend to specialise just in the development.

 

So is it the front-end development you are most interested in or design? perhaps both? Either way good luck finding a role, there's loads of web dev agencies in London.

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Well, being that I do it all with my webdesign "company" I guess I have lost sight of what is front-end development and design. Mostly customers ask for WordPress and I fiddle with a template for them until it fits what they want. With off the shelf plugins I maybe losing my grip on what is what :)
I guess if I just tell the agencies what I can do they can decide if I'm ok or useless. :)

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Well, being that I do it all with my webdesign "company" I guess I have lost sight of what is front-end development and design. Mostly customers ask for WordPress and I fiddle with a template for them until it fits what they want. With off the shelf plugins I maybe losing my grip on what is what :)

I guess if I just tell the agencies what I can do they can decide if I'm ok or useless. :)

 

Here is the definition of front end development

 

 

 

Front-end web development, is the practice of producing HTML, CSS and JavaScript for a website or Web Application so that a user can see and interact with them directly.

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Yes, that is what I do. Though I can design also.

 

Did a smiling pic now. haha

Edited by justint

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Yes, that is what I do. Though I can design also.

 

Did a smiling pic now. haha

 

I know it was mentioned earlier but I really suggest you get rid of powered by 123contactform It doesn't really instill confidence having a powered by link there. Building your own PHP contact form is not really all that difficult or use a pre built php contact form that doesn't require a link back.

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For the record, I can see that you've changed your photo and you are smiling more now. :good:

It looks much better, and you look happier and friendlier, too.

Nice one.

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I would consider saying: 'I cater for all web needs..' instead of 'I can cater for all your web needs...'

 

Something like: 'Being able to provide solutions which generate results - is something I enjoy the most.' instead of 'Being able to provide a full service to customers is something I enjoy the most and finding solutions to your web needs.'

 

2 cents

 

Although the word 'web' seems a little old. I'm not sure.

Edited by Grant Barker

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Let me give you a tip on how to speak to clients on your website

 

Clients are typically very selfish, all me me me so whatever you write, it must be about them, not you, for example, you currently have

 

 

I am Justin Tuijl, an East London-based web designer. I can cater for all your web needs including web design, development, social media, advice, help, hosting and setup, email, graphic design, Wordpress, blogs or bespoke websites.

 

Being able to provide a full service to customers is something I enjoy the most and finding solutions to your web needs. I am happy to advise you on all aspects of the web.

Communication is the key to building exactly the website you need. You’ll get a direct customer to designer relationship without the big bills.

 

I would adjust that to be more like

 

 

I am Justin Tuijl, an East London-based web designer. are you looking for a new web design, some development, social media advice, help, hosting and setup, email, graphic design, Wordpress, blogs or bespoke websites.

are you looking for a full service, do you want to find solutions to your web needs. if you are looking for someone to advise you on all aspects of the web, I can help you.

Communication is the key to building exactly the website you need. You’ll get a direct customer to designer relationship without the big bills.

 

I don't like your very long list of 'abilities' either, people tend to like a few choices and anything else you offer is just an extra thing you can offer if it comes up, lots of choice leads to lots of confusion.

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Thanks very much for this advice. I tend not to be able to see my own website for what it is anymore. :good:

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It seems to me the market is much changed in a very few years an the glory days for jobbing website makers like you and me are probably over. The site-builders like wix have got more and more popular, the blogs better, Facebook pages more commercially oriented. Whereas a few years ago I would write a site from scratch on a very basic boilerplate i now have to use templates and themes a lot more because the requirement is for more elaborate sites for less money. It isn't necessarily a bad thing, just changing.

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