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WEB SCHOOL New web design client, no portfolio.

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CSRelentless

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Hey guys, so I started my digital agency not to long ago, I have had a couple of clients, but not enough to build a portfolio yet. I do have a bunch of mockups and templates on my website, but they are not actual businesses. I cold called this client and he was interested, and we have a meeting tomorrow. He said he wants to see what I can do for his business, and also see my portfolio and what I have done for other businesses.

Anyone have advice on what you did with your first couple of web design clients, with no portfolio? Do I be honest about not having many clients? I am confident in my abilities, but don't really know how to go about conveying that without him seeing a lot of past work. I have some more meetings booked with potential clients next week .

Any advice would be appreciated.
 

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monfii

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I also plan to go the web design route, and built two websites for myself. That's actually how I learned web design. I plan on building a third website (the actual agency) and I guess three websites will already be something to show.

Otherwise, you can try to get some very low paying clients on Fiverr. You'll get a bit of experience and will have something to show for yourself.

But I am really not an expert, hopefully Fox will answer your question.
 

Capitalist_Cat

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Do free or VERY low paying easy work. Record the results your website achieved (boosted calls, etc) and then boom.

less about design. More about how you helped your client improve their system.

Start with someone close to you, if possible. Then branch out.

when I first started, I did a free website for a friend of mine. No pay. He just paid for the assets needed. Took me about a week. It was done and then I used that to try to get paid work.

Don’t want to discourage you, but gold prospecting without a portfolio and trying to charge will be damn near impossible.

find a group, a friend, a family member, someone in your circle. Have them pay for the template needed, domain, host. Build them a site for free.

Use that site as the first of 2-3 portfolio projects.

Also...
Don’t niche down right away until you have portfolio work. Then look over your portfolio work and figure out what niche you think you can help the most.

That way when you do contact a business, they’ll see you did relevant & relatable work.
 

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Hey guys, so I started my digital agency not to long ago, I have had a couple of clients, but not enough to build a portfolio yet. I do have a bunch of mockups and templates on my website, but they are not actual businesses. I cold called this client and he was interested, and we have a meeting tomorrow. He said he wants to see what I can do for his business, and also see my portfolio and what I have done for other businesses.

Anyone have advice on what you did with your first couple of web design clients, with no portfolio? Do I be honest about not having many clients? I am confident in my abilities, but don't really know how to go about conveying that without him seeing a lot of past work. I have some more meetings booked with potential clients next week .

Any advice would be appreciated.

"Make him an offer he can't refuse"

But ya basically make a great deal that is high reward/low risk that overcomes your lack of experience.

Also during the sales process build trust with good questions, active listening, and keeping the focus on what matters most to him. How you sell in itself can build a lot of trust and get you over the line.

But no need to make stuff up or create mock up sites - just get to the core of what he needs help with and why > then lock in a great deal on that.

Hope it goes well. You can make it work!
 

Stargazer

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But no need to make stuff up or create mock up sites - just get to the core of what he needs help with and why > then lock in a great deal on that.

What he said above.

Do not be tempted by a lack of confidence to pretend you have had results where you haven't. He will know you are lying within seconds, trust me on that.

By the way, he may not turn up so just be aware of that possibility.

Dan
 

CSRelentless

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Feb 1, 2015
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"Make him an offer he can't refuse"

But ya basically make a great deal that is high reward/low risk that overcomes your lack of experience.

Also during the sales process build trust with good questions, active listening, and keeping the focus on what matters most to him. How you sell in itself can build a lot of trust and get you over the line.

But no need to make stuff up or create mock up sites - just get to the core of what he needs help with and why > then lock in a great deal on that.

Hope it goes well. You can make it work!
Thanks Fox, I am already offering a very good deal, for what he will be getting, I will just explain to him that the reason I am priced so low is because I am building my portfolio and trying to get my name out. The people I have called have been interested, because I am the only local web designer that has contacted them.

And since I will be building the websites on my server and then transferring, I thought about telling them there is virtually no risk because if they are not 100% satisfied with the site, then I will not transfer it and they do not have to pay.
 

CSRelentless

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What he said above.

Do not be tempted by a lack of confidence to pretend you have had results where you haven't. He will know you are lying within seconds, trust me on that.

By the way, he may not turn up so just be aware of that possibility.

I have had potential clients and meetings setup before, but due to lack of confidence and feeling like a fraud I made excuses and cancelled them. If anything I want to use the meetings just to take action and get into the flow of talking to customers. But that's good advice, cause part of me wants to fake like I have had results cause I feel like no-one will consider me. I will just be genuine and do what fox has said, give a offer with low risk for them.
 

CoderSales

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Hey guys, so I started my digital agency not to long ago, I have had a couple of clients, but not enough to build a portfolio yet. I do have a bunch of mockups and templates on my website, but they are not actual businesses. I cold called this client and he was interested, and we have a meeting tomorrow. He said he wants to see what I can do for his business, and also see my portfolio and what I have done for other businesses.

Anyone have advice on what you did with your first couple of web design clients, with no portfolio? Do I be honest about not having many clients? I am confident in my abilities, but don't really know how to go about conveying that without him seeing a lot of past work. I have some more meetings booked with potential clients next week .

Any advice would be appreciated.
You've got the hard part down which is having a couple of clients already. So pull up those projects only AFTER you discuss the 'why' on his end. Make it about him. He already gave you the answer, "he wants to see what you can do for his business". Boom.

Why is he interested/why is he looking for a new website/why did you (and what made you) cold call him in the first place? What expertise is he looking for? What is his timing for wanting a new site deployed? Assuming you're talking to the CEO of the company...

Also, if he does show (like mentioned above, do you have automations setup with your calendar service for reminders etc?) be sure to quote him a rate. That way it respects both party's time AND he takes you seriously for wanting to exchange services for $$.

And keep in mind that if you price too low, the prospect won't attach any value to it nor take it seriously.

IMO, there is no reason to low ball yourself when starting out. I landed my very first client (web design) for a high amount from a cold call and in no point during that conversation did that CEO ever ask me for a portfolio. Make the meeting about him and ask good prepped questions.
 

CSRelentless

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Feb 1, 2015
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I also plan to go the web design route, and built two websites for myself. That's actually how I learned web design. I plan on building a third website (the actual agency) and I guess three websites will already be something to show.

Otherwise, you can try to get some very low paying clients on Fiverr. You'll get a bit of experience and will have something to show for yourself.

But I am really not an expert, hopefully Fox will answer your question.
I actually have had clients in the past
You've got the hard part down which is having a couple of clients already. So pull up those projects only AFTER you discuss the 'why' on his end. Make it about him. He already gave you the answer, "he wants to see what you can do for his business". Boom.

Why is he interested/why is he looking for a new website/why did you (and what made you) cold call him in the first place? What expertise is he looking for? What is his timing for wanting a new site deployed? Assuming you're talking to the CEO of the company...

Also, if he does show (like mentioned above, do you have automations setup with your calendar service for reminders etc?) be sure to quote him a rate. That way it respects both party's time AND he takes you seriously for wanting to exchange services for $$.

And keep in mind that if you price too low, the prospect won't attach any value to it nor take it seriously.

IMO, there is no reason to low ball yourself when starting out. I landed my very first client (web design) for a high amount from a cold call and in no point during that conversation did that CEO ever ask me for a portfolio. Make the meeting about him and ask good prepped questions.
I have actually had three high paying clients before, $6k plus, and they was happy with my work. But then I lost confidence and starting doubting myself and I just completely quit trying to get more clients. I have a constant mental battle with myself, and even when seeing progress I start having self doubt. Do you have a list of general good questions to ask on the first meeting?
 

CSRelentless

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Feb 1, 2015
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I also plan to go the web design route, and built two websites for myself. That's actually how I learned web design. I plan on building a third website (the actual agency) and I guess three websites will already be something to show.

Otherwise, you can try to get some very low paying clients on Fiverr. You'll get a bit of experience and will have something to show for yourself.

But I am really not an expert, hopefully Fox will answer your question.

I also taught myself, started messing around with wordpress years ago, and learned a little bit of css. Just now getting the confidence to actually sell my services. I have an agency website and everything, not sure if I can share it on here, but maybe I could direct message you or anyone else who wants to take a look at it, to give me some input.
 

Johnny boy

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just whip up some fake sites quickly that look good. Don't do some shitty painting company. Build fake sites for big organizations. Like a national foundation, or a regulatory organization.

then, next time you get a client, talk like this

"Well, for our clients in YOUR industry, we've always done x"

"Exactly, that's the most common question we get from new clients. How it works is ____"

"As you probably know from working with other large firms, how we do things is ____"

"Our micro projects team specializes in projects under $35,000"

You know, stuff like that. It's the business equivalent of complaining about how tight magnum condoms are.

I hired my girlfriend and my best friend just to be bullshit members of my team.

The client would chat on the phone with a secretary, then get transferred to an account manager that "specialized in that industry" so they thought there was like 6 other managers for other industries, then they'd get transferred to me, who was their "point of contact" as the project was developed. We all had name@company.com emails and it made their $3500 wordpress site that took 8 hours to make seem like a steal if a giant company was working on it. I was in Thailand. For a time I was even in India, doing my rickshaw run at the same time. I would stop in at a hotel each night that had a spotty internet connection, and I'd run my "big time web design firm". Lots of fun.
 

Raja

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Build fake sites for big organizations. Like a national foundation, or a regulatory organization.
don't we have to host and deploy the site or it's just for the screenshots?
 

Johnny boy

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don't we have to host and deploy the site or it's just for the screenshots?
yeah just buy a domain, throw a wordpress site on it, use DIVI and use a template, throw in a logo and some copy from another site and you have an instant portfolio. Do it in the clients industry and say "here is the most recent project we did in your industry." and then immediately start asking questions about THEM. Silence invites them to probe you further. Just flip everything back to asking them questions and putting them on the spot.
 

Raja

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yeah just buy a domain, throw a wordpress site on it, use DIVI and use a template, throw in a logo and some copy from another site and you have an instant portfolio. Do it in the clients industry and say "here is the most recent project we did in your industry." and then immediately start asking questions about THEM. Silence invites them to probe you further. Just flip everything back to asking them questions and putting them on the spot.
so it's a fake company, I thought we are building using names of real companies.

thanks, it's a good strategy for the short term and to get started.
 

CSRelentless

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So how did your meeting go?

Dan
It went pretty good. I don't know if he is my ideal client though as he doesn't seem like he is all in on his business and is just testing out if it will work. He works a full time job and started this on the side, so he doesn't really have a big budget. And from past experience if you aren't all in from the start then you will most likely fail, cause you can make just about any business work if you are 100% committed. But on the plus side it was good practice for me and helped me get passed the anxiety I've been feeling about meeting with people. I was surprised at how I was able to talk like I actually know what I am doing ha And also a cool thing I found in my city, is a place called the Innovation center. They have conference rooms, offices, and places to hold events. And the best part it is a all free to use. It is for entrepreneurs and startups. So now I have a cool place to do pitches and meet with clients, and it seems more professional.
 

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