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First post - Keen new web designer - Need help

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by Dyson XP, May 22, 2009.

  1. Dyson XP

    Dyson XP New Member

    First post, Keen new web designer

    This is my first post, so I’ll just give a little introduction, which may help you answer my questions more

    I live in Scotland and am currently looking for a job, which isn’t going all too well, I’m just about to hit 20 and thought I would take matters into my own hands, and use the skills that I have as a young web designer to make a living

    I would just like to thank you for taking the time to read this, there are many similar threads like this, and must get repetitive, but I appreciate your time and effort

    With the world in the financial crisis that it is, businesses operating online are a popular choice, I’m confident with my skills that I can provide websites for customers, and make a living from it,
    Though I do have a few questions

    My main query is
    If I’m starting a business and making money, by creating websites at home, do I? or how do I make it legal with the government, registering domain names is easy, but do I have to register this as a actual business and pay tax etc

    I noticed that this site has a business directory page, and wondered if any of them are registered businesses

    How much should I charge?

    I have no idea how much I should charge, giving that I’m of a young age and have no certified qualifications for this area,

    Again thanks for your time, any help and advice would be greatly appreciated

    Dyson XP
    Last edited: May 22, 2009
  2. Identity

    Identity Member

    Hi there,

    First off I applaud your enthusiasm, BUT, I would think very seriously about setting up on your own with little or no business or design experience. I would recommend at least getting some experience in agencies for a couple of years before even thinking about setting up on your own. It seems alot of young jobless designers seem to shy away from free work experience which amazes me - why not offer your services to a big local agency for free for a couple of weeks? Show them how great you are?

    My opinion is that in the long run you will benefit from experience in agencies that have been there and done it. Not only in your design work, but more crucially, how they get clients, keep clients, how they organise jobs, workflow, contracts, pricing etc.

    But that is just my opinion...sorry to dampen your enthusiasm! If you want to go for it, that is your call.
    If you are going to go it alone I recommend reading this site, it has a great resource.

    Starting Out, how to work your way up the freelance ladder :: Freelance UK
  3. lauralil

    lauralil Member

    How much experience do you have? Any live sites we could take a look at?

    I definitely think you should get agency experience, and the only way to usually get that is free work! I did a 10 week unpaid placement at a great agency (and was offered paid work afterwards) which was great but there are many young people out there who think that doing it this way is robbing yourself.

    Also you need to build a portfolio of work before anyone will pay you to do their design work. I cannot recommend enough offering to do free design work in order to gain real life experience with actual businesses. If the work you do for them is good it will lead to paid work through referrals, recommendations and a good portfolio.

    You absolutely have to pay taxes yes. If you are going to trade as a limited company you have to register with Companies house Companies House or with HMRC if you are going to be a sole trader.

    Get the experience first, then go it on your own. And get a portfolio up so we can see! :D
    Last edited: May 22, 2009
  4. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    I have to agree with the above comments, the ONLY way that you will succeed freelance is if you are absolutely fantastic at what you do as the market is saturated.

    From what you say you think you are up to the task, although let us see something you have done to be the judge of that.

    There are so many so called designers that offer graphic design/website design and to be honest what they produce is absolute crap, they have been using Illustrator/Dreamweaver for a couple of months and now they think they are a designer. This may have been possible 10 years ago but things have changed and now thousands of people graduate in design every year and the bar has been raised considerably.

    Sorry to be negative, you may show us some of your work and be absolutely amazing (I hope so), but in most cases with no training, qualifications or experience in a design environment this is rarely the case in my opinion.
  5. Dyson XP

    Dyson XP New Member

    Thanks very much, I never knew much about agencies, my knowledge dos not go beyond the actual web making, so thanks for the info, I will look this up thoroughly and find out all about it

    yeah i know this want be an easy boat ride, and will take some time before i could make a living on it,

    Many Thanks Dyson XP
    Last edited: May 22, 2009
  6. Dyson XP

    Dyson XP New Member

    Yes building up a port folio is a good idea, will most likely start a website, showing all the websites I’ve created, and what I have done, basically a online cv

    Do you have an online port folio I could take a look at, or someone else’s to get some inspiration
    Thanks for the help on the actual business front, will look that up, thank you

    Here’s the website I’m working on now, still yet to be finished, but I think it looks rather good; I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions

    Sell Your Gamertag

    Please note, it will only display properly with internet explorer and flash 10, working on a non html version soon
    Many Thanks

    Dyson XP
  7. Dyson XP

    Dyson XP New Member

    I know where you’re coming from, in fact a reason for me to do this is because the amount of sites I see, are absolutely rubbish, even things like navigation around the website, very poor, but I hope this site will impress you for a beginner.

    The site I’m working on right now is Sell Your Gamertag
    It has some compatibility issues with anything other than internet explorer and flash 10, and I’m working away around that,
    Would love to know what you think of the site, and I’ll take anything as constructive criticism

    Oh, I should probably point out, that I’m not using Dreamweaver to make my websites yet, I know it’s the obvious choice, and it’s what I will be using shortly if I’m to be considered a professional web designer.
    I am in the progress of learning it, but with the website I have now, I’m still placing the importance’s of websites, such as usability, and design, I just need to do the same when I know how to use Dreamweaver

    Thanks again
    Dyson XP
  8. bocaj

    bocaj New Member

    A fair few professionals don't use dreamweaver, some swear by it, and other despise it.

    Myself i find dreamweaver much to cluttered with tools i'll never use, i tried aptana for a while, but found the same dislikes as i did with dreamweaver (and it messed up my localhost :().

    I personally use notepad++ for all my coding, but this is a preference thing. Choose your tools to suit you, don't pick the ones that you think you should, pick the ones that help you work efficiently and effectively.

    I know with me being new to this board, i won't carry any sort of reputation around, but i am 18 and i'm starting up. Registering as a sole trader just for now (must be done within the first 3 months of trading).

    I agree with the above though, try and grasp as much experience as possible from wherever you can, for the last few years i've worked for a few online agencies, picking up paid work from forums, creating free templates, working for psd to xhtml conversion services etc.

    So i've managed to pick up alot of experience that way.

    Also as stated, the market is extremely saturated, and it's never a bad idea to specialise. Create a general web design site and a specialist site. Wether the specialist site be user interface, psd conversion, joomla, magento whatever, a specialist site does well. It's better to be a master of one trade, than a jack of all.

    My biggest advice would be contracts, i have been hurt severely by inadequate contractual agreements, while most people are pretty genuine, when money's tight, people get desperate.

    NDA's - understanding these and the terms agreed within an nda is also important. All my agency work has been under an nd agreement, and as a result, whilst i've worked on dozens of projects, none of them are mine, nor can i publicise my participation in these projects. So now i've been left with a portfolio that's lacking.

    Other advice is understanding how and when to outsource, i've done this to take a nice commission on work i cannot do myself, but it is YOUR reputation, and YOUR business on the line. So quality and reliability takes presidence. Build relationships with people/companies, as i said, you can't master everything. Need content for a website? this is where a quality SEO orientated copywriter would come into play.

    Oh and don't undersell yourself, be wary of spec work, preferably find some kind of niche, and remember when it's important to say NO! and sever work from a bad client.

    And i think that's all i can say from my experience.
  9. Dyson XP

    Dyson XP New Member


    Thanks for all your replys, and have a much better understanding of how i go about doing this,
    For anyone who asked to see a site, heres one im working on

    Sell Your Gamertag

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