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  • #970064
    CoffeeGal
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    • Total posts: 6
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    Hi all, I have previously worked as a web designer and in web marketing. It was when things were in their infancy and the web was just beginning to happen for small/medium business. I have no diploma/degree so most of what I know is through self learning and experience.

    Since I left paid work to become a full time mum I have dabbled lightly freelancing by word of mouth. Not a lot, just as things come my way. Over the years I keep thinking I should set myself up properly (ie I’m a web designer without a web site .. not good!) and there have been plenty of times I’ve decided to take the plunge and start the motions of getting things set up ……. and then it comes tumbling down and before I know it a few more years have passed!. I doubt myself. I doubt my experience, my abilities and I just think I’m not up to the task because I’m not a jack of all trades. By that I mean I’m not a programmer (java, php etc, I can work “with” this coding but cant actually code from scratch), I have limited graphic design skills in that again I can do basics, typography, graphic & photo manipulation etc. but once it gets to creating images from scratch, logos, vector art, flash etc. forget it. When I start researching what else is out there I just feel insignificant and inexperienced and then I see some ‘web designers’ and think omg if they can call themself a web designer then I’ve got got it in the bag!. There seems to be a huge variety of talent or lack of out there! And I guess this is reflected in pricing. I need to work out where I sit in the market, how do you do that?

    I wonder if I’m being realistic or too hard on myself, afterall all businesses specialise in things and my expertise will be small business wanting brochure style web sites (I code HTML/CSS and all my sites are w3c compliant), cms and carts. I’m great at working out site structures, navigation and content. I’m lacking experience in cms and carts but I feel confident in the applications I’ve researched, tested and chosen and my ability to diagnose and get things working. I just need to iron out the unexpected challenges along the way and have someone lined up to be a cart guinea pig.

    But are the services I plan on offering enough? I feel because I cant offer the complete package (especially graphic design and more advanced/complicated web setups) that I should forget about it. People just assume you can whip them up a logo etc. or do the type of site they want but that isn’t always the case, I have to work within my skill and experience. I know you can outsource but I dont have contacts and I’m reluctant to put my clients expectations in the hands of people online who I’ve never met or dealt with before, not to mention the worry of working out agreements and financials. I really dont want to be a middle man for that kind of thing.

    Any advice?

    #1042355
    sixx
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    coffeegal, post: 51346 wrote:
    I doubt my experience, my abilities and I just think I’m not up to the task because I’m not a jack of all trades. By that I mean I’m not a programmer (java, php etc, I can work “with” this coding but cant actually code from scratch), I have limited graphic design skills in that again I can do basics, typography, graphic & photo manipulation etc. but once it gets to creating images from scratch, logos, vector art, flash etc. forget it.

    Hi,

    You always have the option of aligning yourself with people who can do the things you can’t do. It’s really no biggie if you surround yourself with the right people.
    Can’t do logos? no worries, find someone who will be able to do it for you on a regular subcontract basis, same goes with coding or anything else.

    Back your people person skills and anyone can do anything if the have the ability to surround themselves with the right people.

    I know of a very successful multi hair salon owner here in Melbourne. Never cut a blade of hair in his life ….. but he doesn’t need to.

    Chin up. :)

    #1042356
    Warren Cottis
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    coffeegal, post: 51346 wrote:
    I know you can outsource but I dont have contacts and I’m reluctant to put my clients expectations in the hands of people online who I’ve never met or dealt with before, not to mention the worry of working out agreements and financials. I really dont want to be a middle man for that kind of thing.

    Any advice?

    Hello Coffeegal

    Drop me a line if you would like to have a chat about your options

    #1042357
    Anonymous
    Guest
    • Total posts: 11,464
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    Hi coffeegal,

    Welcome to Flying Solo, and thanks for sharing your dilemma with us.

    I hope that bouncing all your thoughts off others helps you come up with a plan you’re comfortable with.

    Good luck – I’m sure it will all come together soon,
    Jayne

    #1042358
    JohnSheppard
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    • Total posts: 940
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    It is impossible to do a good job on your own, the range of knowledge required to do everything is far too broad. IMO, it really is a bad idea to try, you’ll just be average at some things and bad at most. In such circumstances, it’s perfectly normal to doubt yourself.

    When I started, I doubted myself horribly, still do (everything keeps changing). It’s only after 10 years or so programming in multiple environments and multiple CMS that I feel confident telling people that I still don’t know what I’m doing and the dude who claims to is an idiot not to be trusted…or a specialist in some specific tech :)

    The people that create really good stuff work at an agency with a group of specialists. It is unreasonable to expect yourself to produce the same results.

    It’s HARD finding compatible intelligent people to work with, losing autonomy is difficult, but the alternative is working harder than you need to, not getting paid as much, and producing sub standard results.

    #1042359
    Cesar
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    • Total posts: 591
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    coffeegal, post: 51346 wrote:
    But are the services I plan on offering enough? I feel because I cant offer the complete package (especially graphic design and more advanced/complicated web setups) that I should forget about it. People just assume you can whip them up a logo etc. or do the type of site they want but that isn’t always the case, I have to work within my skill and experience. I know you can outsource but I dont have contacts and I’m reluctant to put my clients expectations in the hands of people online who I’ve never met or dealt with before, not to mention the worry of working out agreements and financials. I really dont want to be a middle man for that kind of thing.

    Hi CoffeeGal,

    Keep positive and optimistic because if you truly want to achieve something and you possess the right mind-set you can achieve anything.

    In saying that, I will give you an example in regards to a friend that was in a similar predicament…

    I have a friend in the automotive service industry that was very good at his profession. The only problem was that he never kept up with the technology advancements within the automotive service industry which eventually put him out of business. Although we advised him to keep up with advancements he was quite stubborn and he paid the price for it by losing customers to his competitors who kept up with the changes in technology.

    So, if you truly want to succeed in business you either have to keep up with technology or possess excellent networking skills to outsource some of the workload that you are not very familiar with.

    Keep positive though…

    #1042360
    The Copy Chick
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    • Total posts: 963
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    Hi Coffeegal,

    Well, the first thing you need to do is accept that you can’t be all things to all people. Work out exactly who you want to target and focus where your strengths lie in that market.

    The next thing I would suggest is you look at taking a course covering what’s new in web design to get yourself up to speed with where it’s at, which should help you feel more comfortable with your skill set.

    When dealing with potential clients, ensure you have really detailed briefs so you know exactly what the expectations are. People are only disappointed when their expectations aren’t met, so you greatly reduce the risk of that happening when you have very clear and open communication.

    Be realistic about your time-frames. Don’t put yourself under pressure by unnecessarily rushing yourself.

    Outsourcing is a great idea. There’s plenty of forums for different industries – find one that suits your needs and see if anyone is interested in collaborating.

    Or, go through your local phone book and introduce yourself. I did this recently – I sent an email to local web designers and design agencies introducing myself as a freelance copywriter interested in any outsource work they might have. A couple asked for examples of work, but I managed to get at least two connections, one of which has already sent work my way.

    And lastly – believe in yourself! Like you, I saw the poor quality of work other “professionals” were offering and knew I could offer something much better. Sure, I might not be Bryce Courtney… but I’ve not yet had a dissatisfied client. I’ve selected my target market and know I can meet their expectations.

    Go for it!!

    #1042361
    CoffeeGal
    Member
    • Total posts: 6
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    Thank you everyone for your thoughts and input. It is all reassuring to hear that I cannot be all things to all people. I feel disappointed in my own abilities because I want to be more and I know I’d triumph at it if I had the ability. I need to accept that I cant be everything and at this point I’m only so much, then I can establish exactly what my target is and work from there. I guess like everyone we all have our strengths and weaknesses.

    I think I would much prefer to do referrals rather than subcontract. Especially in the initial stages. Of course I’d work with others but I’ve just heard horror stories about things getting messy, clients not paying etc. so until I become more familiar with the ins and outs of having to involve third parties I just prefer to keep the nitty gritty and financial side of things between the client and the person doing the work.

    I’m prepared to keep up with advancements but it’s a bit overwhelming. It’s really taken off and what was once a boring HTML page is now Javascript, PHP, ASP, mySQL, Flash, carts, graphic design, … the list continues … there’s a LOT of ground to cover.

    I need to give this all some more thought and read over the thread a few more times and make some contact with some people and just see how they currently deal with and what sorts of agreements and how they operate when working with others in the industry.

    Thanks. Oh and I love the story about the salon owner who’s never touched scissors. How inspiring!

    #1042362
    Sh33py
    Member
    • Total posts: 13
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    Hey coffeegal,

    I can understand your dilemma from a business perspective, I am taking the plunge into working for myself and I tell you what, I even thought that I was in way over my head, infact I still think I am. But what is keeping me going is the determination of my goals and a friend who has been by my side since the beginning. If you read my thread in this category you will see how I got motivated and I hope you find it somewhat helpful. It is human to compare yourself to others and we all do it on a day to day basis. Just remember that you never really see the “behind the scenes” so don’t be too hard on yourself as you never know, they may file for bankruptcy the next day.

    From my time doing door to door sales… (yes I know) I gained a lot of sales skills that I wouldn’t of thought would be useful until now. So the time you are sitting there learning scripting languages and anything else will help you in the future, you just don’t know when. Keep at it and keep expanding your knowledge and never under estimate yourself because while you are comparing yourself to others I am positive there will be people that will look up to your work and inspire them to achieve what you have already done. In saying that you’re better off striving towards what you are comparing yourself against so that one day when you become that good, you know where your inspiration came from and you will be thankful for that.

    Everything starts with an idea, you just have to ask yourself if you are going to follow through, Otherwise it will just remain an idea. Start small and tackle the problems as they come, after all the best way to get good at something is to keep practicing for yourself and learn from your mistakes as you go along, there are some things in life that school just cannot teach you.

    Hope this is of help to you, because in all honesty, it’s not your lack of experience that is holding you back, you can do anything if you put your mind to it.

    #1042363
    JohnW
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    • Total posts: 2,642
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    Hi Coffeegal,

    Don’t be mislead or discouraged by all the hype and misinformation out there. I’m just a simple salesman myself and I’ve managed to hang-in in this industry for 16 years. (That’s back when people used to create websites with hand coding in text editors.)

    I did a quick check of the Sydney Yellow Pages a couple of years ago and found that 25% of the businesses listed under web design and developers had disappeared in 12 months – pretty high turnover.

    Here is my “how to succeed” formula. The medium changes like no other. If you love the industry and want to stay in it then you must put in the hard yards to keep current with what is happening and why.

    I use email newsletters to keep up to date and I’ve culled my list down to about 14 per day. I don’t read all articles in all of them but I would spend up to 2 hours a day on this activity. Of particular value are the market research and user survey articles.

    I’m a marketer by training and my fall back position for 16 years has been the basic principles of marketing that I was taught in the 70’s. Like everyone else, I had to learn about this new medium.

    What I can tell you for 100% fact is that most people jump into it with a lot of noise and very little knowledge.

    Your post is so similar to others. Here is one by a web developer who is really posing the same problem as you. You may be interested in the 6-pence worth I threw in there.
    http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/sales-marketing/9200-ones-all-web-designers-developers-2.html

    Regs,

    JownW

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