Marcus (and his sandwich)

By Markus Majub Angst

The final Chapter of my Web Design Boot camp experience

Diary entries:

The last three months have been great. Learning about Web Design and Marketing was fascinating for me. With the help of great teachers and also a great class community, I get the opportunity to find a new path in my career as an employee or freelancer.

The class was never easy because we covered so many topics, theoretical and technical, which led to many hours after class working on your projects to get the most out of the course.

The course started with a short introduction, followed by a deep dive into UX, and how we can create an outstanding user experience.

Module number two teaches us about UI, and how we can make the experience eye-pleasing and accessible for our website visitors.

Our third lesson was very technical, but necessary, to get a better understanding of how websites are and could be built with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Module number four was WordPress, domain name, and hosting to get our website online. It also allows us to manage, update, and secure the page for our clients.

The last module number five was about digital marketing to give clients support and a unique selling point as a web designer.

It seems like a full course to get started as a freelancing web designer, but we still had module number six.

This module was about professional freelancing with Carl and Cylis, to learn about finances, finding clients, client management, web project management, and our portfolio.

Web Development Bootcamp students

Web Design Bootcamp Oct 2020 (note two alumni asked to be blurred out on social posts and we respect their privacy)

How do I price my work as a freelancer?

Starting as a professional freelancer can be complicated for people who are not so familiar with accounting and finances. You want to give your first clients a great deal to outdo other freelancers with more experience.

We always need to have the overall work in mind, including the rate per hour, fixed costs, variable costs, and tools we used to price the project correctly.

At the beginning of our career, the rate per hour will be lower, compared to an expert with plenty of experience, because we need more time to finish our page.

To get a complete overview, Web courses Bangkok prepared a full document for us on how we price a web project. This document includes all steps, starting from client projects inquiry, requirements analysis, until training the client, support, maintenance, and upselling other services, for example, marketing.

Learning how much to charge for a project, depending on the pages and features.

Also, WCB provided a complete pricing table, with all the steps, subtotal, tax, and so on. This PDF can be used by the students to show the client transparency and professionalism of our work and project pricing.

To really understand the table, we go through the full pricing table with our first project in the course, the Happy Café website.

I find this very helpful because it answered a lot of open questions to the class and also gave us more confidence to go through the sheet with actual clients.

How should a Web Design portfolio look?

A portfolio as a web designer should be mandatory like it is at Web Courses Bangkok to get all certificates after the completion of the web design boot camp.

Why do you need a portfolio? Because everyone wants to know what they buy. A website will not be bought off the shelf, like a pack of new chewing gum at the supermarket cashier.

It is important that the client get a clear picture of your capabilities and design thinking. The portfolio should not only be about your projects but also about yourself to build trust and a connection to a potential business partner.

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A short introduction about your motivation, education, or goals will teach your audience about your work ethics. Additionally, they will know which projects and features you can realize and what your skillset is working with.

The portfolio can also include rates and packages to jump straight to the point, which is not necessary, because every project is different, and a fixed price, in the beginning, could lead to problems in the future. If you want to add these pages, you can create a basic starting price or show your hourly rate.

If you have some extra time, a blog page could raise awareness of your profile. With blogs about UX/UI, WordPress, freelancing. This will help to build your personal brand.

Also, never forget to have a contact page. If someone stumbles over your page and likes your work and what to hire you for a project, they need a way to reach out to you. A contact form is great to keep your personal data private from the viewer, but be approachable.

Contact form is essential. Make sure you design these in a way that is easy to understand for the customer.

A web design portfolio is not only useful as a freelancer, it will also find you a cool job in a design agency. Recruiters like portfolios are much more than only a CV because they can see the actual work.

That’s why I think a portfolio should be mandatory for every web design student.

How do I find clients?

The biggest struggle of starting your own one-person business as a freelancer is the acquisition of clients.

How do you know about people looking for a website? There are commonplaces like Fiverr or Upwork where you can offer your services or apply for certain jobs that fit your profile.

Upwork Website

As a beginner, it is very hard to win projects, because there are many more experienced designers who offer their work cheaper. The pages are very competitive and might not fit your rates and time schedules.

In the class, we get the recommendation to start with our inner circle. That means that we can reach people for free on our social media channels. Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn will be great to just shoot a quick message out to your followers, who know and trust you already.

We can ask friends and family if they know someone who wants to create a new or redesign an outdated website for a very small price.

This agreement will be a win-win situation. You gain more experience with clients, add pages to your portfolio, and your friend will get a small website.

The first build website can also be a kickstart for your freelancing career. For example, you create a small e-commerce page for your aunt’s furniture shop. This will be seen by retailers or related businesses and may urge the process to build something similar by themselves. Your aunt can refer you to them as trustworthy people.

people viewing the site

If you do not have many contacts on your social media, you can also find clients in another approach.

Find a business where you see improvements in its online presence. This business doesn’t have to be on the other side of the world or just created from scratch, it can be anywhere.

Recommended places are the ones near your location of living, or where you like to go by yourself.

For example, the coffee shop near your house does not have an online shop on the page, even they sell their own brand of coffee in the store, your favorite restaurant page is completely ousted with old designs, pictures, and menus, or your local gym have problems to keep up with the big chains, and a website will create more awareness towards potential clients.

There are plenty of businesses that do not even know that they could improve their current website, or that they’re missing important features.

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If the shop is near you, it is easy to just recommend a free consultation to talk about the current status and the recommended changes, which will only be about 30 – 60 minutes.

When you’re looking for places around the world, there are also possibilities with Zoom or Skype calls for a free consultation. But be prepared for time zone differences, connection problems, and maybe less trust if they just communicate online with you.

In my previous blog about the digital marketing module, I explained the 8 steps checklist to score a page. This can be used to find out which optimizations a page needs.

Here is important that we not just create a list of mistakes and errors, but also we need to tell how we could improve the issues, to give the business a clear vision of our working path.

wireframes

Creating proposals, contracts, and client management

When we have successfully found a client, it is very important to set transparent terms and conditions in our proposal.

All of our teachers told us how important it is that both parties sign a full contract before we start working on a project. Even though we do the project for a friend or family member, to be covered if possible changes and complications occur.

This will not only cover your work but also shows the client the guidelines of your project agreement.

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Web Courses Bangkok gave us a full contract template as well. This contract template we talk about in class using the happy café page, to answer questions along the way.

When Carl and Cylis explained to us every point of the contract. They added a lot of examples of their personal experience, where some points have been missing, how it protected them in front of a court, and how customers appreciate a straightforward outline.

We learned also that dealing with clients is not always easy and relaxed. Some clients can be very demanding, bipolar, or pushy.

To be prepared we had a little client management role-play, where one person was the freelancer and another played the client. This was very funny, and we had a lot of laughter in our class, going through cases like “I don’t like this any more…”, “I don’t do emails, only face to face…” or “Can you just…”.

It really showed us in a fun way what complications we could face as freelancers, but also how we can solve these situations without losing the clients or our reputation towards other businesses.

Carl and the gang

Carl and the gang preparing to take on the real world

Would I recommend the web design boot camp at Web Courses Bangkok?

Without any doubt, I would recommend this course to everyone who is really interested in starting and growing as a web designer. It is great for all levels and ages with interactive learning, great teachers, and an International class that can build friendships lasting longer than the course.

All the topics have been chosen wisely to give you the right amount of basic understanding that will make it possible to develop yourself further from there. The creators of the boot camp put a lot of thought processes into it and always adapt to trends and student feedback, which will keep the content up to date.

As well, the experience that every teacher has is incredible and inspiring to the students and gives you a great insight into life as a professional web design freelancer, answering every question you have during and after classes.

I want to thank the whole team of Web Courses Bangkok for the possibility to extend my personal skills and be part of a great class community.

If you have any questions about the course you can contact WCB or me on my LinkedIn Profile, thank you for reading.

Web Professional Students

Happy Journey! Web Design Bootcamp Oct 2020 (note two alumni asked to be blurred out on social posts and we respect their privacy)

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About The Author

Markus Majub Angst

Hello, I'm Markus. I am German and recently graduated from Stamford International School in Bangkok. I have three years of working experience as a travel agent and two years as a Marketing Manager for a small business. Currently doing a Digital Marketing Internship at Seven Peaks Software in Bangkok. I speak German and English.