It takes time to become a good web designer.
I know it— it took me years to move from personal website design (which I still do) to working for company websites.
At first, all you can do it grab opportunities and turn them into changes to grow as a person and as a designer. But when it comes to big companies, it’s important that you present yourself as an experienced web designer who built a considerable clientele and a good reputation over the years.
I know it might sound unfair — and sometimes I feel bad when I stumble upon gig announcements that require experience and numbers I don’t have (especially if I really, really like the company) — but that’s how it works— and I honestly believe it’s just, because an experienced web designer worked so hard to get to that point in their career. 😉
It’s why I really admire Cara, the web designer who runs CEB Design Studio, a web design DC based service.
And I love it that she begins her About Me page with a very heartfelt “I truly love what I do“. :love:
Cara has 7 years of experience under her belt. And she understands business, too. Sounds like someone I’d really love to make friends with. Or at least, we could get talking (about business and web design, what else?).
I believe she’s the kind of person who can make a difference for the clients she works with. Sometimes to be a solopreneur means you have to work harder to earn a company’s trust, but as you collect more and more bonus points from a job well done and lovely client relationships, trust will become almost a given.
And trust is more important than your resume, you can believe me on that. (I’m a freelancer, remember?)
If you’re a web designer like me and Cara, read on…
Don’t just put up a portfolio website. Don’t stop to testimonials and a few contact links.
Tell your prospective clients who you are, what you love, what you enjoy doing at work and outside of work.
Clients are human beings, too— they want to know the person behind the website. They’re not interested in a sterile resume. It’s the human touch that makes the difference.
Also, have free resources that both companies and fellow freelancers can download and use (and get to know you for your value and not just your words!).
Here’s an example from Cara’s Resources page [a screenshot]:
Cara’s website is a great example of how to help clients feel nurtured and taken care of.
She uses colors in a non-stressing way, too. Just what helps people focus their attention without hurting their eyes.
(Hope I’m doing good in that sense, too!)
And then, if you are a company…
Look at the person in front of you before you consider their work. Does she inspire trust? Is she kind and understanding?
Her work will reflect those personality traits.
Now, does her work show love and passion for what she does? Is there creativity and drive in there? Is her portfolio supported by genuine testimonials?
These are good starting points.
You should try to get in touch and see how your prospective web designer will respond, too. If she’s a nice, kind and available person, she will speak with warmth while keeping it professional, and she will do everything in her power to accomodate your needs without slaving it away.
Because real professionals are people with a dignity and know how to step up for their rights, if they have to.
But I’m sure you’re NOT that kind of company. 😉 The collaborative ‘friendship’ that will be born from working together will make a difference in both of your lives.
I know that, because it’s what happened to me– as a freelancer, collaboration always brought great human relationships to the table.
From what I can see from Cara’s website, she’s also that kind of professional.
Fellow web designers, what’s your take on client relationships and the honesty and trust that your responsibility involves?
Companies, how do you appreciate a collaborative, kind and honest approach in a professional web designer?
I’d love to read your comments! 🙂
“Web Design” image courtesy of Stuart Miles from FreeDigitalPhotos.net