There is really no better way to learn a new skill than by doing. So, while it might feel like you are being “thrown into the fire,” trust me. This is the fastest way for you to quickly become a top web designer.
I recommend you find a real project to work on to build your first website. The easiest way to do this is to approach someone you know and simply ask them if they would be your test subject for your first project. You would do this pro bono, most likely, but you could charge a modest fee.
Just let them know that you’re taking a training course and need a real business to work with for your project. At the end of the project, if they like the website it is theirs to keep at no cost.
The big benefit to the business owner is the knowledge they will gain about how to improve their website to make more money. Yes, you can deliver pretty amazing results as a complete rookie, if you follow this bootcamp closely.
If you need help getting that first client, click one of these links to access a live online training class entitled, How to Get Your First Client:
Here are a few more pointers to make sure your projects run smoothly. You can pretty much follow these same guidelines for your first project.
Carefully selecting your clients and the projects you want to work on.
This is where most designers and developers make their first mistake. Way before you even take on a new project you can set yourself up for failure or success. This begins with selecting the right projects and clients.
I am always looking for the right opportunities. This means I carefully select the right clients. It doesn’t always work out, but here are some of my criteria.
A. Select an established business. It is much easier to step in and improve upon an existing business than to help start one from scratch. Also, start-ups are often on a tight budget and will have unrealistic expectations for their website project.
B. Select a business with an existing website. This is not a requirement, but it certainly helps to have a website with some history especially if they have traffic already coming to the site. In many cases you can step in and make just a few changes to dramatically improve their online business. C. Recognize and select money making opportunities. It will take some time to develop this skill, but in the future you will have enough experience to easily uncover hidden opportunities in business. For example, I can typically assess the financial opportunity in any situation with a detailed interview with the business owner and then a couple hours of research. If it is an industry that I know really well, I can sometimes make that assessment in less than 30 minutes.
D. Select a business owner who will stay out of your way. Another thing you should look for is a business owner who recognizes that you are the expert and will give you control over the website project. This is a tough one because it’s rare to find a business owner or CEO who will let you run with a project and build it like you know it should be.
Over the next few days, try to find a client you can work with during the course of this bootcamp. Remember to be selective and choose someone you can really help succeed. This part of the process is as much for your learning as it is for your reputation as a web designer.
You may feel uncomfortable approaching a business owner, and that’s completely natural. We’d like to encourage you to go for it anyway and find someone that understands you’re in the learning phase. Think outside the box including business owners, charities, organizations, clubs, etc. However, you may choose to complete your own portfolio website as part of the bootcamp.
The only rule is that your website must be live when you complete the bootcamp if you plan to apply for the certification, and it must be built for a real person.