[thelist] Advice on Getting That First Client

Ben Henick persist1 at io.com
Fri May 10 12:50:01 CDT 2002

On Fri, 10 May 2002, Jon Haworth wrote:

> You'll need some sort of portfolio to prove you can do what you're talking
> about, so start building that up *now* - have you tried approaching
> charities, churches, youth groups, or similar non-profits in your area? You
> may end up doing a couple of freebies, or giving some very heavy reductions
> on what you would like to charge, but it will at least get your name out
> there and get you some real experience and references.

Also, don't hesitate to put concept pieces in your portfolio.  If
impressive, those widgets will help to impress prospects who make it that
far.  Hell, even I have a couple of concept pieces in mine, and have at
least a few portfolio pieces that I'm comfortable with.

On freebies, take one thing into account:  in the U.S. free labor confers
no tax advantage of any kind for an independent or a sole proprietor, and
really none at all in terms of the Big Picture.  A professional accountant
will be able to explain it to you in suitable detail.

In regard to underbidding on freelance sites... this might be a good
avenue, since as often as not the people requesting bids are looking for
bargains, not superstars.

> In terms of networking, print up a batch of business cards and give them to
> everyone you meet. Tell your friends, your family, your neighbours, your
> postman, that strange lady with the carrier bags who talks to herself at the
> bus stop, EVERYONE, that you are looking for work.

Too true.

Hardly a week goes by that I don't hear about some sweet-talker with a
FP2K install (less often GoLive and Dreamweaver) who's making money hand
over fist despite an utter lack of skills.  Those jobs arrive on a
'who-you-know-not-what-you-know' basis, but if they work to the advantage
of FP_Boy, they can work to yours, too.

Nor is due diligence something practiced often by freelancers in
evaluating prospects, or by clients in evaluating vendors... sad, but

Ben Henick
Web Author At-Large              Managing Editor
http://www.io.com/persist1/      http://www.digital-web.com/
persist1 at io.com                  bmh at digital-web.com
"Are you pondering what I'm pondering, Pinky?"
"I think so, Brain, but... (snort) no, no, it's too stupid."
"We will disguise ourselves as a cow."
"Oh!" (giggles) "That was it exactly!"

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