9 Replies Latest reply on Aug 16, 2007 9:12 AM by destind4film

    OT - Advice on building up Web business

    destind4film Level 1
      So I am pretty new to web design...designed a few sites so far in the last year and I am working on a couple others currently...But everything has thus far been for friends and family with no return other than my own satisfaction and knowledge gain...

      I would really love to be able to focus 100% of my time to web design and I am a fairly creative person (better at creating the Photoshop layouts and graphics than the coding of the actual site especially with working with DIVs and floats) but it seems to be an uphill battle. I can come up with graphics pretty quick but then struggle for weeks with figuring out how to implement them in DW so that they look and interact the way I want.

      I know everyone says that networking is key...but what about Outsourcing or collaborating?

      There is a guy in my office - total snake oil salesman - who knows enough to get himself into trouble, but he has connections and outsources lots of sites to the middle east or somewhere. Makes a bunch of side money for just getting the sale.

      I don't really want to be a salesperson and outsource, cause I like the creative process. What is the point of getting into web design if I am not gonna design?

      Any advice on how to get things going? What has worked for others?
        • 1. Re: OT - Advice on building up Web business
          joeq Level 1
          i'm not really sure what you're asking - if you just like the design part but can't be bothered with the coding, that's a perfectly respectable decision. hook up with someone who has little interest in the design end of things and is a whiz when it comes to dw, html, css, etc

          i would say that, instead of outsourcing the work to qatar, you'd be better of joining forces with someone local and going in to pitch business as a team.

          • 2. Re: OT - Advice on building up Web business
            Level 7
            1) Find part-time or full-time work in a real web design shop where you'll
            hopefully learn the importance of Html, CSS, server-side scripting languages
            and SALES.

            2) Take on a few non-profit site jobs on the side - the pay is lousy but you
            learn as you go and if client's are happy, you can add them to your
            portfolio later.

            3) Collaborate with other web developers who can through you a bone now and
            then.

            4) Network, network, network...

            Best of luck to you,

            --Nancy O.
            Alt-Web Design & Publishing
            www.alt-web.com




            "destind4film" <webforumsuser@macromedia.com> wrote in message
            news:f9tdj2$ldg$1@forums.macromedia.com...
            > So I am pretty new to web design...designed a few sites so far in the last
            year
            > and I am working on a couple others currently...But everything has thus
            far
            > been for friends and family with no return other than my own satisfaction
            and
            > knowledge gain...
            >
            > I would really love to be able to focus 100% of my time to web design and
            I am
            > a fairly creative person (better at creating the Photoshop layouts and
            > graphics than the coding of the actual site especially with working with
            DIVs
            > and floats) but it seems to be an uphill battle. I can come up with
            graphics
            > pretty quick but then struggle for weeks with figuring out how to
            implement
            > them in DW so that they look and interact the way I want.
            >
            > I know everyone says that networking is key...but what about Outsourcing
            or
            > collaborating?
            >
            > There is a guy in my office - total snake oil salesman - who knows enough
            to
            > get himself into trouble, but he has connections and outsources lots of
            sites
            > to the middle east or somewhere. Makes a bunch of side money for just
            getting
            > the sale.
            >
            > I don't really want to be a salesperson and outsource, cause I like the
            > creative process. What is the point of getting into web design if I am
            not
            > gonna design?
            >
            > Any advice on how to get things going? What has worked for others?
            >


            • 3. Re: OT - Advice on building up Web business
              destind4film Level 1
              joe,

              Thanks for the reply. Yeah, sometimes I don't even know what it is that I am asking!

              It isn't so much that I can't bothered with coding...just that Iam still so new to it and don't always know the answers or the best way to achieve the effects or functions that I am trying to get. The forums are always a big help and I have a subscription to lynda.com and several books. I know that my skills have increased from my first site design...but it is still so time consuming since I don't have all the expertise.

              I guess I am walking a tight rope. Stuck in a day job that pays the bills but isn't what I strive to do. And then the need to spend time with my wife and son outweighs any time for my creative outlet. I know that if I was dedicated to it full time I could easily learn the coding side much better and that in turn would make me faster and more proficient at designing.

              I had tried once before to bring someone, a friend, on board with my side company (I also do some video editing stuff) but he flaked and cost me more time then it was worth.

              So I am stuck with my desire to grow my business and the need to pay the bills. I am always looking at the jobs out there for web design, but with no degree yet and limited work examples, I know it is not a possibility right now.

              I guess the original reason for the post was to get feedback on others experiences on how they got going in the beginning. Sounds like the key is really just to build up the portfolio however you can.

              quote:

              Originally posted by: joeq
              i'm not really sure what you're asking - if you just like the design part but can't be bothered with the coding, that's a perfectly respectable decision. hook up with someone who has little interest in the design end of things and is a whiz when it comes to dw, html, css, etc

              i would say that, instead of outsourcing the work to qatar, you'd be better of joining forces with someone local and going in to pitch business as a team.




              • 4. Re: OT - Advice on building up Web business
                Level 7
                On Wed, 15 Aug 2007 04:37:18 +0000 (UTC), "destind4film"
                <webforumsuser@macromedia.com> wrote:

                >joe,
                >
                > Thanks for the reply. Yeah, sometimes I don't even know what it is that I am
                >asking!
                >
                > It isn't so much that I can't bothered with coding...just that Iam still so
                >new to it and don't always know the answers or the best way to achieve the
                >effects or functions that I am trying to get. The forums are always a big help
                >and I have a subscription to lynda.com and several books. I know that my
                >skills have increased from my first site design...but it is still so time
                >consuming since I don't have all the expertise.
                >
                > I guess I am walking a tight rope. Stuck in a day job that pays the bills
                >but isn't what I strive to do. And then the need to spend time with my wife
                >and son outweighs any time for my creative outlet. I know that if I was
                >dedicated to it full time I could easily learn the coding side much better and
                >that in turn would make me faster and more proficient at designing.
                >
                > I had tried once before to bring someone, a friend, on board with my side
                >company (I also do some video editing stuff) but he flaked and cost me more
                >time then it was worth.
                >
                > So I am stuck with my desire to grow my business and the need to pay the
                >bills. I am always looking at the jobs out there for web design, but with no
                >degree yet and limited work examples, I know it is not a possibility right now.
                >
                > I guess the original reason for the post was to get feedback on others
                >experiences on how they got going in the beginning. Sounds like the key is
                >really just to build up the portfolio however you can.
                >

                Do you want to remain primarily a graphic designer, or do you want to
                become a generalist and learn the code side too?

                (By the way, there is no correct answer to this. I just want YOUR
                answer.)

                Really good graphic designers, who understand how to create
                outstanding visual designs, working from a specification and turning
                out a design comp that is designed with online viewing in mind and not
                print, are few and far between. There's nothing wrong with staying in
                that path and getting really really good at it. I HIRE those people
                now, since the visual design is not my strong area and the projects I
                bid on now can support the cost.

                You CAN build your knowledge base both wide enough and deep enough to
                be a generalist. There are a number of people on this list who do
                that very successfully. If you are also working a full time job in
                another field, and have a family to whom you commit a chunk of your
                time, it WILL be harder and it WILL take longer, but it IS doable.

                (And if you are interested in subcontracting as a visual designer,
                contact me offlist. I'd like to see a portfolio.)

                What do you want to do? Which direction appeals to you?

                Win
                --
                Win Day, Wild Rose Websites
                http://www.wildrosewebsites.com
                winday@NOSPAMwildrosewebsites.com
                Skype winifredday
                • 5. Re: OT - Advice on building up Web business
                  Level 7
                  destind4film wrote:
                  > I had tried once before to bring someone, a friend, on board with my
                  > side company (I also do some video editing stuff) but he flaked and
                  > cost me more time then it was worth.

                  Bringing someone in is still a good idea - but make sure that they are the
                  best at the job, not just your best friend. You won't have the time or
                  resources to train anyone.

                  > So I am stuck with my desire to grow my business and the need to pay
                  > the bills. I am always looking at the jobs out there for web design,
                  > but with no degree yet and limited work examples, I know it is not a
                  > possibility right now.

                  That's a limiting belief. At what point do you think it *will* be a
                  possibility? In a year? Two years? Three? Don't wait - go for it now.

                  Clients don't want a 'degree', they want you to answer their needs. How
                  many prospects have you rang this week? If you ring 20, you might get one
                  who will want to talk to you; it might take 50 calls to get one prospect to
                  talk to you. But if you don't ring *any*, no-one will want to talk to you.

                  > I guess the original reason for the post was to get feedback on others
                  > experiences on how they got going in the beginning. Sounds like the
                  > key is really just to build up the portfolio however you can.

                  The portfolio will grow as you get more clients. But don't let the lack of a
                  portfolio stop you; talk to prospective clients, find out what they need,
                  and give it to them. Most clients don't care what you did for Fred Bloggs
                  down the road - they care about what you can do for THEM.

                  HTH,

                  Pete
                  --
                  Peter Connolly
                  http://www.acutecomputing.co.uk
                  UK


                  • 6. Re: OT - Advice on building up Web business
                    Level 7
                    Win Day wrote:


                    > Do you want to remain primarily a graphic designer, or do you want to
                    > become a generalist and learn the code side too?
                    >
                    > (By the way, there is no correct answer to this. I just want YOUR
                    > answer.)
                    >
                    > Really good graphic designers, who understand how to create
                    > outstanding visual designs, working from a specification and turning
                    > out a design comp that is designed with online viewing in mind and not
                    > print, are few and far between.

                    Yeah, that's a PITA and I'm speaking primarily as a Graphic Designer.
                    You have to consider though that we/they come from a background where
                    almost anything visual is possible and can't grasp the complexities or
                    should I say the restrictions that designing for the web involves. It's
                    quick and easy in such programs as Xpress and Illustrator to tweak the
                    designs until they are near 'perfect' and of course they don't 'move'.
                    Its a little more time consuming and sometimes not possible in html.

                    A lot of Graphic Designers views on website layout is that it is
                    'boring'. You cannot fully understand why they are 'boring' unless you
                    have the ability to understand how a webpage is constructed.


                    • 7. Re: OT - Advice on building up Web business
                      Level 7
                      On Wed, 15 Aug 2007 17:25:49 +0100, Osgood
                      <notavailable@thisaddress.com> wrote:

                      >Win Day wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      >> Do you want to remain primarily a graphic designer, or do you want to
                      >> become a generalist and learn the code side too?
                      >>
                      >> (By the way, there is no correct answer to this. I just want YOUR
                      >> answer.)
                      >>
                      >> Really good graphic designers, who understand how to create
                      >> outstanding visual designs, working from a specification and turning
                      >> out a design comp that is designed with online viewing in mind and not
                      >> print, are few and far between.
                      >
                      >Yeah, that's a PITA and I'm speaking primarily as a Graphic Designer.
                      >You have to consider though that we/they come from a background where
                      >almost anything visual is possible and can't grasp the complexities or
                      >should I say the restrictions that designing for the web involves. It's
                      >quick and easy in such programs as Xpress and Illustrator to tweak the
                      >designs until they are near 'perfect' and of course they don't 'move'.
                      >Its a little more time consuming and sometimes not possible in html.
                      >
                      >A lot of Graphic Designers views on website layout is that it is
                      >'boring'. You cannot fully understand why they are 'boring' unless you
                      >have the ability to understand how a webpage is constructed.
                      >

                      I agree. It's the reason I use the graphic designers I do: I KNOW
                      they "get" designing for online. I've seen their work.

                      IMO, it's harder to find a really good visual designer for online than
                      a really good coder.

                      It's the reason NONE of the graphic designers I use are local to me: I
                      can't find anybody here who does it at a reasonable cost. (And I'm
                      not talking bargain basement prices; I mean affordable to the small to
                      midsized client whose entire website budget may be $5000, not their
                      visual design budget!)

                      Win
                      --
                      Win Day, Wild Rose Websites
                      http://www.wildrosewebsites.com
                      winday@NOSPAMwildrosewebsites.com
                      Skype winifredday
                      • 8. Re: OT - Advice on building up Web business
                        Level 7
                        Hi, here's my two penneth worth - I was in a job i hated and in the end
                        decided to just jump - pre mortgage and pre kids luckily - but still aged 29
                        back to college, did a communications degree where i discovered this work
                        and how I love it, so majored in multimedia. After finishing I found myself
                        knowing just about the basics really and with a whole lot to learn... and
                        pregnant... You don't have that hurdle at least! I have built up my
                        knowledge and jobs slowly slowly.... now have 2 kids, oldest is 6, youngest
                        is nearly 2, working around them is often frustrating but forces me to Focus
                        when i get the chance, working time is precious...

                        My advice would be firstly get yourself a good portfolio that you are proud
                        to show prospects, doing freebies for friends is good as you say or favours
                        for charities- they may not pay in cash but they can pay you with Good
                        References!..... get right into the code.... it can take ages to learn but
                        is so worth it.... how many of us have moments of great personal
                        satisfaction with the validator...?? :-) Whilst learning all this, don't
                        forget to get out and about..... contacts are everything...... I have work
                        coming from totally unexpected sources, often friends of friends etc Your
                        kid is a work asset! As they grow they will get more friends / kindy /
                        school etc all have parents working in many industries who become part of
                        your network, it's amazing.

                        Every site you do, make sure you are learning something new..... turn off
                        the tv at night and learn - I have found great help here on this forum - do
                        you know how to search it?
                        ( http://groups.google.com/group/macromedia.dreamweaver/topics --- a
                        lifesaving resource when you work alone) and also at www.projectseven.com -
                        I can also recommend www.sitepoint.com - I love their books. Also David
                        Powers books for when you get further down the track
                        http://foundationphp.com/

                        I don't think you need a degree to do this, I just decided on the boots and
                        all approach and mostly clients don't care anyway, also doesn't sound as if
                        you're in a position to do this, but let your day job support your dream
                        whilst you're learning and building up the contacts and eventually you'll
                        get there...

                        Now look - my childfree time is precious and i have work to do!... But keep
                        at it, working at home and being your own boss when you have a family is
                        fantastic (and pays better than my old job by a mile)

                        Best of luck,

                        Karen


                        "destind4film" <webforumsuser@macromedia.com> wrote in message
                        news:f9tdj2$ldg$1@forums.macromedia.com...
                        > So I am pretty new to web design...designed a few sites so far in the last
                        > year
                        > and I am working on a couple others currently...But everything has thus
                        > far
                        > been for friends and family with no return other than my own satisfaction
                        > and
                        > knowledge gain...
                        >
                        > I would really love to be able to focus 100% of my time to web design and
                        > I am
                        > a fairly creative person (better at creating the Photoshop layouts and
                        > graphics than the coding of the actual site especially with working with
                        > DIVs
                        > and floats) but it seems to be an uphill battle. I can come up with
                        > graphics
                        > pretty quick but then struggle for weeks with figuring out how to
                        > implement
                        > them in DW so that they look and interact the way I want.
                        >
                        > I know everyone says that networking is key...but what about Outsourcing
                        > or
                        > collaborating?
                        >
                        > There is a guy in my office - total snake oil salesman - who knows enough
                        > to
                        > get himself into trouble, but he has connections and outsources lots of
                        > sites
                        > to the middle east or somewhere. Makes a bunch of side money for just
                        > getting
                        > the sale.
                        >
                        > I don't really want to be a salesperson and outsource, cause I like the
                        > creative process. What is the point of getting into web design if I am
                        > not
                        > gonna design?
                        >
                        > Any advice on how to get things going? What has worked for others?
                        >

                        • 9. Re: OT - Advice on building up Web business
                          destind4film Level 1
                          Not sure what happened to my reply...it seems to have vanished but I will try this again and hopefully it won't create a duplicate.

                          First, thanks to everyone for some great responses and ideas. I will definitely keep this stuff in mind.

                          I also thought I would add that there is a good article I found that other newbies might be interested in reading at:
                          http://www.creativebehavior.com/index.php?PID=171

                          There was at one point a shortened version of this book in .pdf form on the web somewhere but I can't find it now. There looks to be some good tips for starting out and I really like airgid's work too.