The entry-level job and five years’ experience. Name a more iconic duo.
Think you’re escaping that by starting your own business? When you start without a portfolio, you’re in the same position. The web design industry might be worth $20 billion in the US, but you’re stuck at the front door.
Don’t worry. We’re here with 7 hidden secrets to starting a web design business with no portfolio.
Lay Your Groundwork
When you’re starting a web design business (or any business), you’re at your most busy and your most quiet.
Sounds strange? This is the most time you’ll ever have for work not related to your core business. That means it’s the ideal time to get busy laying your groundwork.
Know what you’re charging, how you’ll track costs, and get all your admin in order. Frontload your supporting functions so you can focus on business when the time comes.
Maybe even sort out your workspace. A place like The Hoxton Mix can give you the space you need to work.
Start Making Connections
You don’t need a portfolio to make connections. Start reaching out and building up a network of potential clients.
They might not see you as a partner at first. But when you have a portfolio, you’ll know where to come. In the meantime, you might get lucky…
Hone Your Knowledge
Downtime doesn’t have to be off-the-clock time. Turn your working time into self-improvement time while you’ve got the space in your calendar.
Take courses and seek knowledge online. It’s surprising how much work you can find by speaking with authority.
Design Your Own
Doing work for free might feel gross, but it could help you get started.
We’re not suggesting you dish out free work to clients, as such. Instead, design sites yourself, to your own spec. You can still present these as portfolio samples.
Designing your own sample portfolio is a great way of showing off what you can do.
It’s a big world out there. Not everyone is in search of the next big thing in web design.
Plenty of clients are looking for competence, not brilliance. Clients offering the most basic jobs often won’t care about your lack of portfolio. We might not feed your ego with this advice, but don’t be afraid to snatch up opportunities for starters.
Join a Community
Whatever you’re doing in life, it’s unlikely you’re doing it alone.
Right now, there’ll be other web designers just starting out. They’ll have many of the same questions. Reach out and make some friends.
There are some things you’ll learn from your peers that you won’t pick up from any article. Some of the best pieces of advice are given off the cuff.
Scope Out the Trends
Like fashion, web design trends change all the time.
While you’re building up your client base, take the time to inform yourself of the latest trends. That way, you’re prepared to sell a site facelift to a client looking for the hottest trends.
Starting a Web Design Business with No Portfolio? No Problem!
Starting a web design business with no portfolio doesn’t mean you’re stuck in Catch-22. Keep these hidden secrets in mind and you’ll soon have something to show for the work you’re putting in.
Looking for tips? Make sure to check out our web design help.