Come Out, Come Out, Where ever you are!
As a new web designer, it may be a little daunting or even scary trying to find that first client. I still remember to this day, finally finishing my personal website, and the feeling of its accomplishment. As I sat there and starred at it for about 15-20 minutes, I thought to myself, All I need now is someone to make a website for. A client. Who will it be? Where can I find one? How much to charge them? What if I know them? So many questions running through my head. Sitting there starring at the screen, I started brainstorming and writing down a list of the many ways I could find my first client.
How to Find Clients
From the brainstorming came an extensive lists of ways I could find clients, but I only added the more notable ones.
- Send a mass text to family and friends
- Ask around at the local mall or shopping plazas
- Visit some local mom and pop stores
- Pass out flyers or business cards at Walmart or other over populated stores
- Put flyers or business cards on windshields
- Place a newspaper ad
Sending a mass text to family and friends was definitely number one on my to-do list. How easy is it to blast out a mass text to contacts that I choose?
Ask around at the local mall or shopping plaza was definitely closer to a last resort for me. I have a full time job so in my head I’m like, “It’s not that serious yet”. Also, I doubt I’d really take someone serious who came up to me in a situation like that. Nope, moving on.
Visit local mom and pop stores or start up companies didn’t sound like a bad idea. A good opportunity to reel in that first client. I’m definitely going to keep that idea close by.
You ever went grocery shopping or went to a club and when you come out you have a flyer on your windshield up under your driver’s side windshield wiper blade? I know several times where this has happened to me. Guess what? I always take a quick look at that flyer or promotional material and then toss it inside my car on the passenger seat. A day or two might go by before I look over and see that flyer again. This time I take a closer look at it, and decide if its for me or not. Only two places it can go from there. Trash, or inside the house.
Also I thought about placing a news paper ad. Pay a certain amount of money for a certain amount of days in the local classified ads. Hey! its an option right?
So many clients out there needing web presence, and all I have to do is find ONE. I didn’t care who it was, what kind of business they ran, I just wanted to find a client. I even thought about charging a low price if necessary. I figured If I found a single client, created them a quality website to represent their brand, they would in turn send more clients my way.
Time to Execute
With my plan and strategy in place, I decided I was going to start executing my plan of action tomorrow (since it was the weekend). Exciting and feeling lucky at the same time I started writing down a list of some of the mom and pop stores, as well as the places I figured would be busy to pass out some flyers. Right in the middle of my list, here comes my daughter up the stairs asking were we still going to go get her a gymnast outfit. “Hold on sweetheart, daddy’s working”. No more than five minutes later, here she comes again with shoes on feet. “Daddy, are you finished working yet”? “Not yet, daddy’s almost done though”, and I really was almost done. Instead of heading back down stairs, she just stood there starring at me.
At that moment, I had to get back in dad mode. So what did I do?? I picked my daughter up, sat her on my lap, and opened up a new tab in my web browser. Before I make my way to the sporting goods store, I wanted to make sure they had the uniforms first. As I was navigating their website, I was thinking, nice layout, a little cluttered, but overall, pretty user friendly. I then did a search for other sporting good stores in my area. Upon seeing the search results, I looked down and saw a few other businesses that were local to me. Thats when it happened.
Light Bulb Goes off
At that exact moment it seemed as if a light bulb went off in my head. How could I have been overlooking something so simple? Why not do a local search for businesses in my area and see if they had a website. At first, my sole focus was on businesses that didn’t have a website at all. It wasn’t until I seen how many businesses in my area with terrible websites, that I started thinking about how I could improve their current site with a re-design. Think about it, The content is already there, the web hosting, the domain, its halfway complete. All I have to do is give it a more modern, professional, professional, and in demand look.
So what I did was take note of the many changes I could make to increase their website and web presence, went to their contact page and made a few calls. Unfortunately, no one seemed to answer their phone. I then resorted to the emails and web forms listed on the website. I contacted approximately five businesses and sent each the following email/message.
My name is Thas Eagans and I’m a web designer and developer in the local area. I came across your website from a local internet search. After viewing your current website, I’m able to give your business a more modern, professional, and in demand website as well as increase your online web presence significantly through search engine optimization. Mobile web browsing is extremely high with the use of tablets and smartphones. I can make your website adapt and respond no matter what device is viewing your website. These are just a few of what I can provide your business with. Please give me a call and we can discuss the details.
Quality Websites, at an Affordable Price”
Wait, How Much Do I Charge?
Like I said, I sent that same message out to like five different local businesses on the same day. The next day I had a business reply back saying they’re interested in sitting down with me. Excited, I met them at their place of business and talked about the many options. I mapped out all the things I could provide his business, but one thing I never thought about was how much. When asked how much it would cost, I froze. I was so concerned about ‘just finding a client’, I didn’t even bother thinking how much my services would cost. Not sure where I got this from at the time, but I pulled out a small sticky, wrote $850 on it, and slid it over to them.
Upon leaving, I had a high level of confidence. They seemed like they genuinely liked what I said and would be calling ASAP. Upon getting home and checking my email, I had a second business contact me and tell me they wanted to hear my proposal and they wanted me to get started on it right away. I basically had the job without ever even meeting them. Upon meeting with the new client, I walked out of there with my very first client. As happy as I was, I went home and got started immediately working on their new design. About 2 hours into it, I received a call from the first business saying they’ve accepted my proposal.
Trying to find my first client, I somehow ended up with two clients. Instead of telling the 1st client I was not available at the moment, I took on two jobs at once. As a new web designer, who has never worked with real clients before, It overwhelmed me a little. Once both projects were complete, a valuable lesson was indeed learned.