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  1. #1
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    Hi all,

    I have just turned freelance lately (though I've been in web design for like 6 years now), and have worked on freelancing sites like Elance and oDesk for a bit, but I realize these are not clients of the highest quality, often wanting to pay no more than $500 for a quality website. (Some offer to pay no more than $1/hour. How absurd...) I think I am a good web designer - I don't come up with the best designs on Earth, but I think they are good. Plus I spend a lot of time and effort thinking for clients and trying to come up with custom solutions for them. And it irks me to have clients turn me down for another 'designer' who clearly modifies existing templates for a living, simply because I'm more expensive.

    So I realize that in order for me to survive, I will need to start finding clients elsewhere. Can fellow freelance web designers share how and where you find your clients? Any idea and/or experience will help.

    Thanks in advance, I look forward to hearing from you.

    YAWD

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  3. #2
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    In order:

    Previous business contacts I established as a teenager (not the generic "networking" advice that people spout off, but people I've actually talked to).
    Search.
    Word of mouth.
    oDesk.
    A couple from WDF (although that's not why I'm here).

    Mind you, if you're looking for a generic answer to help you out, you probably won't get very far for two reasons:

    1) You're a web designer. You haven't indicated that you're a web developer, which means you probably aren't. That makes you one of about 10,000,000 people on the planet who are web designers. That means there's absolutely nothing on the surface to distinguish you from anyone else.

    2) What works for me won't necessarily work for you. You need to understand your skill set, your clients, and their clients.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

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  4. #3
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    That makes you one of about 10,000,000 people on the planet who are web designers.
    You know what? You are right - and that's the precise problem we're all facing. But that's not the point - the point is there are millions of clients out there, some willing to pay decently, some willing to pay a lot, others not willing to fork out money. And my problem is I don't know where to find the ones that pay. I'm not looking for THE solution, I'm looking for advice, suggestions, your past experiences - something that can make me go, "Right! Why didn't I think of that?" and go try them out. May or may not work for me, but worth the try.

    Thanks anyway for the reply.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    1. Create your own site and portfolio that will showcase your skill sets.

    Even if they are only mockup sites that are for made up companies, and have generic conent, what you want people to see are your design skills.

    Many of the people that are willing to pay good money want to know before they agree to you working for them, that you actually know what you're doing. As previously mentioned, you are now 1 in 10,000,000 so you have to do something that is going to make you stand out and get you noticed.

    2. Sign up for and do some volunteer work ( volunteermatch.com ), offers "virtual opportunities", to volunteer for and do some work. No you probably won't get paid for this work but the ability to add them to your portfolio and possibly get a professional reference is worth much more than the money. Many organizations have little money for these things so both of you will benefit.

    I've done work for non-profits in the past that have lead to some pretty sweet paying gigs... Not always but sometimes ... People that have multiple business's associate themselves with some non-profit organizations... By doing work the for non-profits, you get exposure to these people.

  6. #5
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    That's exactly my point, though. Let's say I have a magic client formula. One that works for me. (I do, by the way, and only one other WDF member may actually know what it is.) I post that formula, or any formula, on this thread.

    What do you think will happen?

    Either my advice will be so generic that you can't follow it, or someone else reading this thread (and a lot of people read these threads and don't comment) will take my advice and do exactly the same thing as you, which screws you over and ultimately renders my advice useless.

    I will, however, give you a clue as far as that goes, because it's a clue that if applied properly will be completely impossible for anyone else to duplicate...what makes YOU different? If you're "yet another web designer", then you're not really any different than anyone else. But if there's some skill that you have or something that you've done that very few people (if anyone) can, then you'll have your answer. Mind you, that's going to require a lot of time, effort, and soul-searching on your part.

    The other thing I will say is that you've got it a bit backward. Rather than "looking for the clients that pay", you should be giving "the clients that pay" a reason to pay you. That ties into the clue. Make yourself different, make yourself unique, do or say something no one else can, and you'll have your answer. You'll either understand exactly what I'm saying and be able to apply it, or you won't have a clue what I'm saying, in which case you're pretty much cooked.
    Ronald Roe likes this.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

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  7. #6
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    Webzarus, thanks for the tip - I'll certainly look into it.

    TheGame1264, I agree with everything you said except the last part - you said that 'rather than "looking for the clients that pay", you should be giving "the clients that pay" a reason to pay you' - but if from the start you don't have clients that pay, then who are you giving "a reason to pay''? E.g., there are some clients who don't want/need good design, whose priority is keeping the cost down. You can give these clients all the reasons to pay, show them your top-notch ability, your unique designs, but they won't pay you for them. It's like showing a middle-class salaried worker all the prowess of a Ferrari - will that make him buy the Ferrari? No - he will settle for a Honda. So while I understand what you mean by finding out what I do best that someone else can't duplicate, the core problem of finding the right market to sell my product (in this case, me) still remains.

  8. #7
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Then you don't deal with them unless you have to and move on to the ones that do. If you're good enough, you'll be able to weed out / filter out the lower-paying / more PITA clients and move on to legitimate, reasonable ones.

    Again, though, your focus is backward. You're using "what's in it for me?" logic when the client will use "what's in it for me?" as well. That's known as betting against the house. House usually wins.

    Besides, there's nothing wrong with Hondas. Hondas are built to last. My two favorite cars were the two Civics I had.
    Fireproofgfx likes this.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

    My stuff (well, some of it): My bowling alley site | Canadian Postal Code Info (beta)

  9. #8
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    Hello,

    I seem to have found most of my clients off of craigslist. Secondly, organic search has played a huge part into driving leads. It surprises me that craigslist had such high quality clients every so often. Most of the time it was wasted phone calls.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    CL success is completely dependant on the market you're in.

    99% of all scams and people looking for web designers that want to "work for a percentage of future profits", originate on CL.

    I have a monitor setup and get emails whenever someone post anything regarding web design on my local CL, I can tell you in 3 years there may have been 1 legitimate post for a business looking for someone locally to do design work.

    The one in the large metro area just south of me, gets a couple a month. But there are more for companies looking to hire in-house designers than actual web designers.

  11. #10
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    ...and the other 1% come here and get weeded out in about 10 minutes.
    AlphaMare likes this.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

    My stuff (well, some of it): My bowling alley site | Canadian Postal Code Info (beta)


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