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  • 1 Post By TheGAME1264
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Thread: So... uh? Friends?

  1. #1
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    So... uh? Friends?

    G'day guys Henry here.

    I am currently trying to do a little business networking. Wondering how you guys do it (yes apart from these forums, twitter and facebook) to meet new people?

    I've seen events and that posted on 'group' sites where they just meet up every now and then however don't see myself picking up the phone and ending up with a happy guy on the other end wanting to grab a coffee.

    Are these sites and volunteering opportunities really the way to go to get a ground level?


    Info on me: I'm in my last two weeks of high school and so the people I know currently aren't involved in business.

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  3. #2
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    What kind of business? Are you talking about us getting website development and design jobs for businesses?

    Some of us (like myself) have other unrelated full-time careers. We just do this "on the side" for small businesses. All word-of-mouth referrals.


  4. #3
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    The short answer is "I don't."

    The reason I don't is because...well, I've never needed to. My first client was someone I worked for as a teenager and bailed out of a really bad situation when I discovered he didn't have a backup of the data on his server on my second day on the job and got it onto a tape drive two days before the server hard drive crashed...this was the mid-90s, so RAID wasn't really a thing back then. My second client came as the result of my first client. Other clients came as the result I did for the second client...so your classic word of mouth. And so on and so on.

    This is why I have worked with the vast majority of my clients for at least the past four years, and a few of them over 10 years. You do good work, you make people money, you solve their problems, and your need to "network" or "be social" is minimal at best.

    Another thing you'll want to consider is the type of people who plug "networking" or "social media" as a marketing tool. If you look at them, they're generally low-grade salespeople and/or failed webmasters trying to "market" to other low-grade salespeople and/or failed webmasters who are in their various networks. It's sort of like going to a sporting event and seeing the scalper yelling "who wants to sell a pair?" beside the one saying "who wants a pair?" Sometimes, they get together with the idea of ultimately selling tickets to some chump who wasn't smart enough to order his/hers in advance, not realizing they're both selling the same overpriced thing to one another. Of course, they're networking and "building relationships" and "building brands" and redistributing articles about networking and "building relationships" and "building brands" while doing nothing to "build the brands" they're working for...assuming they even have an employer of any sort to work with / for, and half the time they don't and are on Twitter and Facebook begging for work.

    There's a guy that used to "work" for me years ago that did exactly this...could talk himself up and make himself sound like a million bucks. I was suspicious of what he said, but I needed someone desperately at the time so I hired him anyway and gave him three tasks to do. The first task was a programming task, and he couldn't do it. The second task was a smaller programming task, and he couldn't do that either. The third task was pure HTML, and he couldn't even do that. He disappeared the day I was going to terminate his contract (the one smart thing I did was to hire people as contractors), and then showed up 6 months later not looking to be paid, but looking for files he had stored on my server. In the meantime, he had somehow talked his way into working for a company that a friend of mine worked for at the time, so I warned my friend. My friend passed the warning onto his boss, so they went to check on him only to find he was working on client projects while on the company clock. So he got fired immediately.

    He then tried other things, like event coordinating (only to find it's a lot harder than most people think it is, even if you're a superstar webmaster or you talk yourself up to be one) and becoming a cop and then eventually "fell in love with social media" and became a "digital strategist". Translation: he spends all day on Twitter and Facebook talking to other losers who don't really do anything either. He's been hired by a few companies, but never lasts longer than 6 months. Yes, it's contract work, but if you really know what you're doing, companies will keep you longer than 6 months.

    So the moral here...focus on your work, develop the design and development skills required to do things that the social media types talk about doing and take full credit for when you pull them off, pick up a few clients, focus on doing the best job you can for them and making them money, and you won't have a problem getting hired.
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    Sorry for being so damn slow, I have finished up school over the past few weeks. Thanks for the insight Game. Mlseim the goal is yes to get more clients. I have made some classified ad site posts and advertised in (for free) in my local area for free sports and social club websites and plan to find some volunteer organisations to help out if i can be of use to them for free. I'm not too confident about my strategies though, it seems everyone including you guys, Game and Mlseim, seem to say that referrals are the way to go, however at current rates of failure it seems to be an issue to find the first few clients. I plan to go door to door over the next few weeks as cold calling also hasn't been successful.

    I saw Webzarus link a volunteer site the other day that allowed people to get in touch with volunteer organisations, however the pages i clicked on kept going white on me. This sparked an idea that maybe there is another site like this or a Want To Buy site that people post say looking for a website or what not?

    I think I could get up and running after the first few clients but its all about breaking that right?

  6. #5
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    There's a very good reason for that, Henry. Cold calling can work in certain limited circumstances, but it's a passť form of marketing now. Phones are much more sophisticated now (especially VoIP lines), and while people always did resent cold calling, the resentment was a lot lower in the mid-90s than it is now.

    You also have to figure that whoever you're cold calling may either have the designer working in the company in some other capacity or may be the person you're talking to. I've been on the other end of that call or email more times than I can count, and all I say to people is, "if this guy found you to tell you how much the site sucks, I have to be doing something right." I only ever have to say this once per client.

    My personal favourite cold solicitation happened when I was in a client's store during his busy season along with about 10-12 customers and a recent immigrant to Canada came through the door and started talking about what a great job he could do with the website. Didn't introduce himself. Didn't ask for the owner. Didn't wait for the customers. Just started talking. The customers were instantly put off, so I stepped in immediately and led the guy off to a corner.

    "Hi there. I'm the guy that built the website, and several of these nice people who you interrupted have visited the website and are in the showroom in large part because of it. You've also interrupted them."
    This didn't faze the idiot. "Yes, I understand and I can help you by enhancing your infrastructure and..."
    "Again, does it look like we need the help? Keep in mind you're talking to the guy that built the site. That means my work is the reason you're here."
    "What does that mean?"
    "It means that if I wasn't doing a good enough job, the store wouldn't be full of customers and you wouldn't be telling me what a bad job I'm doing."
    "Ahhh. I see." He looked like he was about to leave, except that on the way out he decided to talk to a customer and hand the customer his business card. "Hello, sir, my name is (never caught his name) and I'm a professional web developer. You look like you could use a web presence and..."
    At this point, I cut him off. "Okay, now you've gone too far. Did you know you're committing a criminal act by soliciting on private property without permission?"
    "No I'm not. I'm trying to generate business and grow my enterprise."
    "No...you're committing a felony. The Ontario Solicitation Act of 1993 clearly states that no individual acting on behalf of him/herself or a company may solicit on private grounds without permission of the people that own said grounds. The act carries an automatic fine of $125,000 for the first offence and $250,000 for the second. You've now committed the act twice. That means that if I choose to call the police and report you, you'll be on the hook for $375,000. And before you deny wrongdoing, I have several witnesses and this nice man that you bothered has your business card."

    The soliciting idiot left without a word at that point. The customer who received the business card asked me, "Does that law really exist?"
    "If it does, it was a lucky guess on my part."
    RDesignista 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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    I love it.

    I guess that sums up the marketing technique then, but how can someone be that disrespectful where he clearly wasn't wanted?

  8. #7
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    That's just it, Henry...it's "marketing training". There's a rule in marketing where you're not supposed to take "no" for an answer until the person says it the third time, and even then you can sometimes conveniently ignore it in the interest of "the sale", which justifies the means. As long as you can rationalize it some manner, sane or not, it's okay. Disrespect? Doesn't exist. Bad manners? That's a vicious Internet rumour. Sell, sell, sell, dammit!
    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
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    My 2 cents worth...

    I've suggested to several aspiring and driven people in the past to use VolunteerMatch - Where Volunteering Begins to find some web design opportunities to build their portfolio on...

    you get several good benefits from doing work like this starting out...

    1. real world experience in dealing with customers
    2. low expectations from the customer ( as you're not getting paid so they won't make outrageous demands )
    3. real world experience in the whole process ( sometimes )
    4. you're helping others with something they need while you're still learning

    when the job is done, if you ask, many will give you some really good recommendations ( if you do a good job for them ), those recommendations can help later on...

    one guy i know, took on a "web re-design" project for a non-profit... spent about 3-4 months working on it... finished up the project in less time than expected, provided them with more than they were asking for.... one of the Board Members for the non-profit was so pleased, he offered this person a job with his company ( it doesn't always work that way )... but many non-profits have other business community professionals associated with them... and your direct exposure and the fact that you volunteered your time....

    I've heard several similar stories ( I can verify them, but the one above I know for a fact happened )... so it does happen... but even if you don't get a job out of it... you get some real world exposure to the industry


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