10 Steps to a Stronger Professional Network

by Steven Snell
on April 5, 2010

in Business/Freelance

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Networking is a critical part of building a successful freelance business. A strong network can lead to more referral business, better recognition within the industry, new opportunities, and much more. Although it isn’t the type of work that directly produces income for a freelance designer, networking should be a priority that warrants some time and attention.

In this post we’ll look at 10 things you can do if you’re looking to improve the strength of your network. This may be helpful for those who are just getting started in their careers or for people who simply want to make more of an effort to build a better network.

1. Know What You Have to Offer

One of the most common mistakes made in networking is only focusing on what you can get out of the relationship. Networking is a two-way street and must be beneficial for both people in order for it to have any long-term success. If you are focused only on what other people can do for you and on getting connected to people that can help you, you’ll be missing out on great opportunities to build strong relationships by helping others.

As you work to get to know other professionals and build your network, be sure that you know specifically what it is that you have to offer other people. As a web designer you have valuable skills and experience that many professionals would like to have as a part of their network, and your existing connections may also be very valuable to the people that you meet.

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Guide to Localizing Your Design Business

by Steven Snell
on April 1, 2010

in Business/Freelance

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One of the benefits of working as a freelance designer is that you can work with clients all around the world. Location isn’t the same type of barrier that it is with most traditional businesses. However, because of the possibility to work with clients in just about any location, most designers do not market themselves to clients in their local area.

With the amount of competition that exists from other freelancers and design agencies, one way of standing out and potentially increasing your workload is to specifically target clients in your local area. This can be effective both in terms of offline marketing as well as search engine optimization.

If you would like to pick up more clients in your local area here are some tips.

1. Make it Evident on Your Portfolio Site

Having an effective portfolio site is an essential contributing factor to the success of almost any designer or design business. If you are targeting local clients, in order for your portfolio site to be effective it must address the needs of this audience. One of the first steps towards attracting more work from local clients is helping them to feel comfortable with you and showing them that you are interested in working with them.

For targeting local clients your portfolio site should clearly state where you are located and what services you can provide to clients in the area. Some clients will not care where you are located, but others will feel more comfortable with a designer that they know lives and works nearby. When these people arrive at your portfolio site they should clearly see that you are interested in working with local businesses.

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Building Your Freelance Business Around WordPress

by Brian Casel
on March 28, 2010

in Business/Freelance

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WordPress has been nothing short of spectacular for freelancers and clients alike. Of course, we all know it’s the go-to system for blogging, but these days it’s much more than that.

In this post, I’d like to cover how different types of freelancers can build their businesses around this great piece of open-source software. And I’m not just focusing on programmers! There’s something for everyone here, thanks to the flexibility and versatility of WordPress.

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Keys to Getting Your First Web Design Clients

by Steven Snell
on March 26, 2010

in Business/Freelance

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I receive a lot of emails and comments from designers who are just getting started in their work as a freelancer and looking for advice. With that in mind I thought it would be helpful to many readers to provide some tips or pointers for getting those first few clients.

This post is intended for those who are fairly new to design and not so much for designers that have been employed by an agency for several years before beginning to freelance.

1. Start with Personal Projects

This first point isn’t about finding new clients, but rather about preparing yourself for when you do find those clients. If you haven’t done any freelance work before, it can be pretty frustrating when a client wants something that you don’t know how to do. Having some personal projects to work on will allow you to gain some experience in an environment where it’s ok to experiment and maybe make some mistakes. With some projects under your belt you’ll feel a lot more prepared when you begin working with clients.

Personal projects can also help you to have some work to show potential clients if they want to see what you are capable of. Some designers have gained loads of exposure by having a personal project featured in design galleries, although this isn’t easy to do for new designers.

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