If you’re a new website designer- finding your first client can range from a teeny bit intimidating to full on panic attack inducing. Lol.
As someone that had no formal education in design- I had man, MANY fears about how I would be perceived by potential clients and what to even do in order to land paying clients. I’m hoping, that in sharing my own trial-and-error with you, you’ll be able to land that first client too in no time!
The first two websites I built weren’t paid. I looked through my instagram and found two businesses that I really loved the vibe of ( and were the kind of clients I wanted to attract) – did a little research and then took a deep breath- and reached out! One was a fashion blogger who was also a physics teacher and another was a really fun, playful E commerce business that made and sold Polymer clay earrings!
I’m a big supporter of getting paid for the work you do- however, personally, I wanted a chance to test out and tweak my client process ( the proposal, contract, content collection etc. I use Dubsado and absolutely love it. You can use code AYESHASANTOSDESIGN for 20% off your first month or year ) without any pressure- so the first two sites I did for free. It just meant I could fumble a bit and not feel guilty or stressed- which was important for me.
Mock projects are great for adding work to your portfolio that showcases your aesthetic and vibe. And I did one of those as well.
Having work in my portfolio as well as testimonials helped me in a big way to land my first paying client- three months from the day I started my business.
Here are three tips for landing your first website client :
1. Talk about what you do – even as a newbie.
I know, I know- this can seem very intimidating! It feels like a chicken and an egg situation- you feel like you don’t have enough experience but you won’t get the experience until you actually get a client. Try and put and imposter syndrome aside and just go for it- you’ll figure it out as you go- trust me!
2. Offer knowledge generously
One of the things that really positioned me as an expert and brought in clients when I just started out was offering knowledge generously. This can sound counterintuitive to ever old school marketing strategy you’ve been taught- but it really helps build trust with your audience.
2. Keep at it consistently and market where your dream clients hang out.
Take small steps each day and know that there is no one right way to do things. One of the biggest surprises to me was when I did market research at the start of my business and was worrying about building SEO and every single ideal client I spoke to said they never went to Google to hire a designer. It was such an AHA moment and I instantly realised I’d be better off focusing my efforts on IG for the time being.
Good luck friend! And keep at it – I’m so excited to see you get your first client and grow your business. Once you bring in the first one, it only get’s better.
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