Many of my readers are already accomplished freelancers or thinking about a career in this area, so it would make sense to chat a little about our first experience with a client. I’ll be the one to start and I’ll invite you all to write your own stories in our comments section. Would love seeing how each of you did and if it was a good or a bad experience.
Somewhere in 2004 I think … I was a webmaster already, since 2002. Had a web site about Karate (one of my hobbies back then) and I was already learning a lot about web site administration, web design etc. I had a lot of time and willingness to learn and no money, so it was a perfect ‘fit’.
My first client (and the one who actually opened my eyes that my passion could turn into a side job at least) was my brother in law. We were having the family lunch one Sunday at my husband’s (we weren’t married back then) and my BIL asked me if I could help him with his company’s site. He was running a small firm that was importing construction materials and wanted to have his own site to promote the business. He thought that, if I’m already tinkering all day long with my site, maybe I can do this for him too.
Sure, I said, and started working on his project. I first created a ‘mockup design’ (as I still do now), so that we both can see how the web site will look. He was very pleased with the design, so I sliced the Photoshop design and started the HTML/CSS coding. In few weeks the site was done. He PAID me for my entire work, even if I felt a little weird asking my boyfriend’s BIL for money. “No, he said, you worked for this. It’s my company and I would have paid a designer anyway. Why can’t it be you?”
Being very pleased with my work, he also told me something that clearly gave me even more courage to work as a web designer from now on. He said I had a gift for this and I should pursue my hobby even from a business standpoint. When I started my site back in 2002 all I wanted to do was to create my own project and share my knowledge about Karate. I never dreamed of doing anything else, especially earn a living online.
Long story short, I did get more clients in the following years, even if I kept my freelancing just as a ‘side job’. All the experience and thousands of hours of work/learning did pay off in 2009, when I lost my main job and started pursuing web design as a real business. Anytime we’d talk about this, how much I earn, what possibilities it all opened up, he’s just smiling and telling me “told you so“. He sure did.