[thelist] Advice on Getting That First Client

Shirley Kaiser, SKDesigns skaiser1 at skdesigns.com
Fri May 10 17:39:26 CDT 2002

At 10:48 AM 5/10/2002, you typed:
> > 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

I totally agree. That can really make a difference. Potential clients need
to see what you can do.

>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.

In terms of the Big Picture, doing a few freebies can get your foot in the
door to more work, though. I've seen that over and over again. I got
started that way running my own single-person web design business, too,
almost 6 years ago. I did a freebie for my local church with several
thousand members. Didn't take long at all for word of mouth to come my way
and bring me some work that people paid for, and off I went, running full
speed ahead with plenty of business ever since. So if you're selective
about the freebie work, it can help jump start things for ya.

Another colleague of mine got started by building a site for the local
chamber of commerce. Bingo, too. So if you're selective about it, it can
make a difference.

And definitely add those to the online portfolio. You don't need to confess
that they were pro bono, either.

>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.

Underbidding can also help, too, as long as you raise your rates, of
course. ;-) And consider telling them you're underbidding as a favor,
depending on the situation, too. In some cases it's better not to say
you're underbidding, but in other situations it could be advantageous.


Shirley E. Kaiser, M.A.,  SKDesigns  mailto:skaiser1 at skdesigns.com
Website Design, Development      http://www.skdesigns.com/
WebsiteTips: Design Resources  http://www.websitetips.com/
Brainstorms and Raves  http://www.brainstormsandraves.com/
WaSP Steering Committee       http://www.webstandards.org/

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