I decided to start making a portfolio of my website designs. I started by making a site about the burial of a celebrity in our village (after learning HTML and reading books). Then i received commercial offers to do a site for them for a
limited price – i made sure that i was able to use as much freedom in the site design as possible – so that it is your design, in your style. I next made a digital portfolio of creative things you have done, inclusive the sites i made (not just links, but screenshots or have the sites appear in new windows).
I think this was a good start to get a job: portfolio and real life experience. The best thing is making a site for somebody else. If i like a particular business and they are not on the Internet yet (and it could be useful for them), i do the following: create a site for that business. Put it on a server (on a safe spot where nobody else can find it), go to that company and tell them how Internet can improve their business/image etc. I explain that i needed some hands on experience since i am starting out and that i made something for them. I explain what i have done and why. I do not ask any money – it is just for my portfolio. I then get their opinion. Do they want to publish this site on the Internet? Would they want some changes? What kind of changes and why? If they do like it, i will then publish it free on the Internet. If they don’t like it -too bad.
Changes are that they like the idea. Then it is time to negotiate, make small adjustments for free, major adjustments for a small fee. This is not the way to make money, that part comes much later. The most important part is that you get experience and that you have names of happy customers to add to my cv. Chances are that from that point on i will get mouth to mouth advertising – and you can increase the price of course when there are more requests for sites.
I am very selective in choosing a company/shop. Take one which has not the budget to have a site professionally build. And i make a professional site of it. I try different kinds of fields – to gain experience (again) but also to add versatality to my portfolio.
A few examples from clients all around the world:
I did a site for a non profit group in Adelaide, Australia. They wanted a simple site that would tell people about their charity and how it helps people in Melbourne and Adelaide. It was a simple 3 page site with a few images and contact details for people wanting to get in touch and contribute to their fund or volunteer (i love volunteering myself!). From this came a job to do a site for an Adelaide solar panels company that installs solar power in Adelaide homes. The client, Mike had 15 years experience in solar power in Adelaide and had installed over 1000 solar panel systems in Adelaide, so knew a lot about renewable energy, solar power and solar panels installation around South Australia, but nothing about web design! So i created a simple website, wordpress based that was an excellent information site for people in Adelaide wanting solar power and solar rebate information, without being to ‘in your face’. Feed back from Mike is that the solar power Adelaide information website design has been very popular and people have told mike that they have a better understanding of South Australian solar rebates and solar panels in Adelaide. Very gratifying to hear – i have a strong ‘bent’ towards green, renewable energy and am thinking about solar panel installation myself now!
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