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  1. #1
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    How long to establish yourself as a web development business, can you go solo?

    Freelance probably comes to mind.

    My target goal is in 4 months.

    I guess I don't really know how this sort of business would work, I imagine what you would want is an ongoing thing, not just "build this site, paid once, no more money" eg. hosting and upkeep.

    My monthly expenses is around or at least $1,200.00 a month, I wonder if I could start to make that.

    I'm a self-taught LAMP developer, but I recently took this test for a potential job as an entry level web developer and it tested on HTML5, MySQL, and PHP. I failed miserably. I told them "Yeah, it's pretty clear I'm incompetent." As I haven't used HTML 5 at all, and don't use MySQL outside of PHPMyAdmin eg. bash querying not querying through a php-file.

    Anyway, I do have a lot to go, while I can build websites, I don't know everything, I just know the surface of stuff here and there. Basic stuff, account creation, inserting data, domain mapping, recalling, barely know pagination, haven't worked on RESTful yet, but I can't develop a mobile app yet either, touched on that.

    I guess I'm trying to hope, that I can make it in four months but I highly doubt it and should look at a new job, currently working as data entry and I absolutely hate it. Only reason I haven't left is for fear of going to anything worse eg. dish washing or making pizzas (what I was doing before).

    I'm not a very good people person face to face, so the business of walking door to door and trying to get someone to have me build them a website...

    I think I will start attempting to freelance first, although last time I tried, I was met with a lot of competition.

    I may try and advertise locally and on facebook.

    I am looking to develop a name, potentially build a "drop and go site" kind of deal, point your domain to this ip, choose, insert modify, that sort of thing (wordpress anyone?). I've worked with wordpress but I'm not sure if I really want to go down that route, I'm more looking towards just building sites outright, although I understand the ability to modify the content by non-developers. I just have this feeling of wanting to build things from scratch, why reinvent the wheel I know, frameworks, RUBY... I don't know. Stubborn I guess.

    Anyway, what are your thoughts is this notion ridiculous?

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  3. #2
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    You sound like someone I know about 15 years ago.

    First of all, you're right...you don't want to door knock for business. It's rude, it's invasive, and it's increasingly ineffective. Avoid that route as much as possible.

    Second, you're right in that your notion is ridiculous...right now. As in "based on your skills and experience to this point", it makes no sense at this particular snapshot in time. That doesn't mean that your notion is ridiculous in perpetuity, however, and it doesn't mean you can't freelance. Do it part-time (say evenings and weekends), learn, build your skills up, and then as you get busier scale back your data entry job. This is precisely the path I took with my last non-freelance job; I went from 5 days a week in 1999 to 4 days in 2000 to 3 in 2001 to 2 in the first half of 2002 to my last day on June 12, 2002. The more I learned and the more I picked up, the more I was able to establish myself and the less I had to work at my job (which was an odd bookkeeping job.)

    One thing, though...make sure you have a unique selling proposition. Something that sets you apart from everyone else. If you have that, then you'll ultimately have no competition on some level. I don't expect this statement to make sense to you right now, but if you ever acquire/develop a unique skill set you'll see what this means.
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  4. #3
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    Thanks for your response. I am not sure how to set myself apart, as I am starting with nothing in a way. I don't have warehouses of servers and such... but skill / creativity is something that can be unique to a person.

    The freelancing part "on free time" sounds bad in a way depending on the deadline of the person but I would inform them of my availability.

    Anyway, thanks.

  5. #4
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    That's pretty much all you can do early on. It's a fairly common path for freelancers to take. Ronald Roe does it, for example. He has a full-time job for (I think) the United States Air Force.

    The warehouses of servers aren't necessary. I only have one myself. Skills can be unique to a person, yes. Creativity...that depends on how it's applied. Most designers in particular are "creative" in that they're artistic, but very few are original thinkers.
    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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  6. #5
    Senior Member Vapr_Arts's Avatar
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    Its truly difficult to just jump into the deep end of freelancing. Unless you have the money to support yourself for a few months while you establish a client base and a reputation its very smart to do it on the side. If the Games timeline worried you, don't be. While he probably went the best route for him it may take you less time. this does also mean it could take you longer as well tho. By allowing yourself to take it slow you will better understand your target market and competition. You will know and understand your unique skill and pushing point.

    Personally, I think jumping in head first and not starting slow would actually increase your chances of failure. You don't fully understand the business and relying on it as your primary source of income is just asking for trouble, good luck if you go this route.


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  7. #6
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    ...and if you do go that route, chances are you'll be one of millions of designer/developer wannabes who strike out on their own for about 3-4 months, fail miserably because they're woefully underprepared, and then complain that "there are no JOBS in web design" as if somehow employers are ethically bound to hire everyone in the universe who wants a job in his/her chosen field.

    The fact that you were smart enough to ask should be enough to avoid that path, and that's a good thing.
    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)

  8. #7
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    I understand, I tried to do it before, and didn't make it.

    I will have to prepare another future and work on this on the side.

    Thanks for the insight

  9. #8
    Senior Member breno's Avatar
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    Greenace, depending how much to you can put into learning and gaining experience, be prepared for it to take years before you can go full time freelance. I'm not full time freelance yet, i've been practicing, learning, developing in my spare time which is not a great deal with a full time job and 2 young boys but i'm persistent damn it because I love it. Along the way i've picked up some jobs, have one returning client thus far and more on horizon through referrals. As you read, learn and grow in the different aspects of web design/development you pick up things that you never thought existed about the industry and you start learning who you are and where you fit, at least for me anyway

  10. #9
    Senior Member bleau canon's Avatar
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    You're trying to enter one of the most competitive markets in the world. I would suggest you listen to the good advice you're been given so far.
    Bleau
    "Give the gift of life, Adopt a child, And an Animal"


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