U.S BIANGO Freelance web designer

Lesson From My First Client Website Project

Freelancing is something I resorted to after many other things failed. I launched SubDesigne to help small businesses, local organizations, and professional individuals to have a web presence.

After the launch, I was so excited to pick up my first project and get my hands dirty. I wanted to test the waters of freelancing and know if it is the right fit for me. I got some emails from friends congratulating me for taking the drive to start and run my business the day I launched.

I got other few emails from potential clients that they need a website for their business/organization. I did not follow up on any of those contacts. I thought they would come banging at my door like now and then for me to work for them. I was disappointed.

I did not land a client for a few days. None of the initial emails contacted me again. Neither did I. So what is the point of studying and researching day-in and day-out to learn how to design elegant looking websites if I don’t get any clients?

This thought and many others occurred to me that forced me to think outside the box. I thought of the book and the articles I had read on the business side of freelancing. I knew it’s time for me to put all that learning into action. And I took action.

Below are the lessons I learnt from my first project. Read on to learn from my experience.

Always reach out

Like me, you may think as soon as you launch, boom, clients will come knocking at your door. That thought is a mere illusion. When you come to the real world, you’ll realize it’s not like that. Reach out to your potential clients and let them know that you offer XYZ services.

Before I stepped my feet out the freelance door, I had read somewhere that I need to make the necessary contacts and follow-ups if I want to be successful in it. But I thought mine would be a different case. It was indeed different—I didn’t get any clients.

So, after a week, I sat down at 5 am and wrote my first pitch letter to a local organization that is very close to my resident. They had a WordPress.com website, but it was a poorly designed site. Not only that, but the site also had |dot|wordpress.com domain; it was not conveying their brand and message. I thought those could be good points. I researched the site and wrote these points down. In the letter, I told them how I could solve those issues and give them something better.

Viola! I won my first client.

Don’t start without content

Content here means the texts, images, illustrations and all other elements on a website. When I started the project, I took the direction that will best fit their needs. There was so much content already on their site, but not very much and mostly outdated. That slowed down my process tremendously. I had to use dummy contents on many pages for me to move forward and integrate their content along the way. I learned that before I begin any subsequent web project, the content/copy must be available. Website is all about content.

Don’t start without a domain

I used a self-hosted WordPress for the Content Management System (CMS) which I have to install on their domain first. I started the project without the domain name (.org). I had to develop the site locally on my computer, which has its issues you got to deal with on that drive.

One morning my local machine failed to start, and I lost everything I had done. You can imagine how I felt when I couldn’t get back weeks of work. I attempted to solve the issue. I read tones and tones of documents to get it back up, but all was fruitless. Starting all over was heartrending, but it was the only solution.

Never assume someone understood you

Before I worked on the site, the coordinator initially wanted me to buy a domain name and connect it to the old WordPress site. Based on that request, I didn’t have much to do. I gave them two weeks to complete.

We left that route which was rather costly and went with my custom design. And that was to design from scratch. But somehow that was not clear to the coordinator. He probably thought I would take the same time on the custom design as the previous plan. So I assumed he understood me. Misunderstandings arose with the duration of the project based on my contract. But I sat down with him and made my direction clear to him and moved on.

Conclusion

The above mistakes were fantastic classrooms for me. I regretted nothing. If I had not gone through those situations, I probably wouldn’t have learnt those lessons.

In life, sometimes, we treat mistakes and failures as something that shouldn’t happen. But the real case is, they teach us valuable lessons in real-time. I realized that we learn so much when we meet temporary defeats.

If you read this far and are wondering how we can get started with your project, contact me through WhatsApp: +232 30 861581 or email: umaru@subdesigne.com.

Do you want to see the projects I have done? Head over to my website and view my portfolio.

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