You just landed your first job as a programmer or a dev… Congratulations! Now how do you keep that job? We gotcha. First, read this. That’s a lot to remember, are you freaking out? No problem. All you really need to do is remember step 1 or (for those of you that didn’t read it):
Communication. “Communicate; listen, that’s a big part of it. …Being somebody they can count on, somebody that gets along, somebody that they can speak to is a huge part of the job. …Just work with people, listen, and that is like 90% of it.” -also- Don’t ask Google-able questions. “…If you find that you’re having difficulty, don’t be afraid to ask questions …short, concise questions -don’t ask super long-winded questions- keep it pithy/to the point… …[And] don’t ask too many questions -especially questions that you could research on Google (ultimately they’re hiring you to get the job done).” But stuff happens, for example, “…there could be some design issues, there could be some specifics with regards to their particular software…hopefully they’ll be able to provide that [answers] for you…” -and- The ‘Ramp-up’. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fresh-faced noob or a grizzled old veteran programmer, no one with brain in their skull expects you to get things right outta the gate. There’s a ‘ramp-up’: “When they first bring you in there’s going to be some expectation of a ‘ramp-up’ time. You’re not going to know everything …if they have an advanced piece of software, …you’re going to have to get to know the code base, and that could take time depending on the complexity of the software. It’s not your code, you’re going to have to learn it. And in your first little while go out of your way to make sure you try as quickly as possible to learn the code -don’t kill yourself; don’t get all sweaty and nervous about it- …but ask your coworker, your lead. ‘what do I need to do first so I can get up to speed and help you guys?’ “.
After that, it’s like any other job, “…be sure to double-check your work: make sure you don’t make any silly mistakes, …if you’re assigned to a task, make sure you get things done on time, …and hopefully you didn’t lie on your resume and say you were a ‘master nerd’, cuz they’re going to figure you out pretty quickly…”.
Check out the VLOG for some really good advice and <Shameless Promo> generally speaking, if you’ve taken the web stack course, you might find yourself ahead of the game as many people found out once they got the job… -Enjoy!
Thinking of kick-starting your freelance web design career?
Alright, it doesn’t matter the reasons that got you here, (but I agree, if you have to listen to one more of Brad-in-accounting’s “tight” 2 minute sets that he’s put together for his always upcoming/never happening open mic night, it was either gonna be him or you!), you’ve decided to strike out on your own and become a freelance web designer, congrats!
Now before we get to work, we just want to make sure that we’re clear on the terminology here when we say freelance. We don’t mean that you shopped your resume around and found work with another small company or start-up…
We’re talking <Peter Parker selling his “pictures of spider-man ;)” to J.Jonah Jameson, for money and if he doesn’t do it again tomorrow, he doesn’t get paid/doesn’t eat > freelance. But we’re not just gonna leave you “hanging” with no help at all; we’ve got 7 great tips that will help propel you into the freelance web designer-verse. Go get’em tiger!
Make Sure It Looks Good: You’ve got your skills and you feel confident. Well, the client may have no idea what they’re looking at, so always make sure it’s aesthetically pleasing (pleasing to the eye) that way even though they have no idea what it is you do, they know it looks great!
Small Jobs/Practice Jobs: Heads up you may work for next to/nothing your first few gigs. It’s fine: think of it as stretching your legs and seeing what you can do. Contact friends, family, or friends of family and local businesses to get these small jobs. You’re really just learning to work with other people/clients and gaining reputation…rep. is huge (we’ll get back to that).
Try Online Markets: If you can’t find local stuff (or you’re tired of it and want to try something a little more challenging and “long distance”, there are websites where you can sell your skills (not for much though, remember you want experience and reputation). Some quick sites that come to mind: “Fiverr”, “upwork”, to start. But google it and you’ll start your journey down the rabbit hole…
Social Presence: This is just becoming a MUST for anyone in almost any field. You know the rules: keep it professional. Let people see what you’ve achieved (ie: certifications) and what you’re capable of (the work you done for others). Again, build that reputation!
Specialize in a Business Sector(OPTIONAL): Not strictly necessary but it does help. Maybe you work designing websites for only coffee shops? There’s lots of them (and more on every street corner, amarite?), but it would be a specialized area to know exactly what every coffee shop needs if they want to seriously compete in the online space. Real estate agent websites are another really good expertise to have, which brings us to our last tip…
Develop Workflows to Cut Down on Time & Maximize Profitability: A mouthful of a final tip but it’s the very zenith of freelancing…to be so damn good/knowledgeable at what you do that you can get it done fast/easily and for muchos bucks!! This is where reputation kicks in. Now that you’re known for doing that thing you do so well, you can finally charge what you’re worth (and then some), and do it in half the time while still making it look tight and outta sight!
You’re money, baby!
Of course, check out the vid for more detailed info for each step, plus a little PSA about keeping your body (almost) as sharp as your mind. Trust us, it’s all fun n’ games until you pull a muscle getting off the couch one day… Enjoy!