Dylan is a CERT Five web designer and front-end developer and has some great tips to get your web design going!
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into freelancing?
My name is Dylan Winn-Brown, I’m a web designer and front-end developer from the UK and I have been freelancing on PeoplePerHour for approximately 3 years now! My journey into freelancing began after the site was recommended to me by a family friend and I’ve never looked back.
What was your previous job before deciding to go freelance?
Before freelancing, I was (and still am) a student. I needed to get myself a job in order to help pay for expenses but found nothing that quite fitted in around my hours. I started looking into ‘ways of making money online’ and soon came across the idea of freelancing – this sat in the back of my mind until I was introduced to PeoplePerHour.
How did you come across PPH?
I mentioned to a friend who runs his own online business that I was looking for some part-time work; something that would fit in around my hours of study. He pointed me in the direction of PeoplePerHour and without a second thought, I signed up and set up some Hourlies offering services I had already taught myself.
What was your first job like on PPH?
I can still remember my first job pretty vividly – it was to edit some photos for a baby clothing company. Looking back on it, the pay for the time I spent on that project was pretty horrendous but I wanted to make sure that it was the very best I could offer.
What is a typical day like for you?
Every day is different but I do have some kind of a ‘routine’… I wake up about 6:30am, read through any emails that have come in overnight and flag ones that I need to attend to. If there are any issues or bugs with a site, I think about the best way of solving them whilst having breakfast and getting ready for the day. I’ll then normally reply to the emails that have come in overnight and then it is off to do some study. I aim to be contactable for most of the day so always have my emails and PPH open while studying… just in case. Once I’ve finished completing any assignments, my day can involve anything and everything, such as working on clients sites, fixing bugs and sending out proposals for new jobs that catch my eye.
How does freelancing compare to a 9-5?
Despite never actually having a 9-5 ‘office job’, I can confidently say that the flexibility freelancing offers me is something that could never be matched in the traditional workplace. I can get my work done at 5am or 10pm – as long as it’s ready in time for my client.
What benefits have you found by using PPH?
Primarily, PPH has helped me build a solid base of customers who regularly come back to me for work. The payment system is also fantastic as it allows both myself and customers I’ve never worked with to have peace of mind, not to mention how much easier it makes keeping accounts at my end!
What does your future hold? Where would you like to take this?
I’d definitely like to continue freelancing whether it be full time or part-time with a job. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset so my ultimate goal would be to run my own business working within technology. Until that day comes though, I’m more than happy growing my own ‘mini-freelance’ business.
What are your top 5 tips for freelancers who are new to PPH?
1. Effective communication. Make sure you can communicate effectively with your client. If there happens to be a language barrier take the time to really assess whether you’re going to be able to successfully work together.
2. Deliver high quality work. Always deliver the very best service you can. This will encourage customers to leave positive feedback which will, in turn, boost your CERT and ranking on the site.
3. Don’t use a ‘template’ for proposals. Tailor your proposal to each and every project you are bidding on – this will show to the client that you really are interested in working with them…it’s much more attractive.
4. Honesty is key. Don’t make false promises to clients especially when submitting proposals. If you can’t do something, just be honest with them. They will almost always rather you told them upfront than lead them along and breaking it to them near the deadline.
5. Don’t give up! Breaking into a freelancing community can be tough as there is lots of competition but if you stay determined and focus on delivering a brilliant product when you get orders, you will see the work begin to roll in.
What are your top 5 tips for web design?
1. Break up your text with images. Customers enjoy websites which are easy to read and visually represent what they are reading. It makes it easier to take in and there is no reason not to include images.
2. Pick the right platform for the job. Different platforms and content management systems have different limitations. If you’re looking to build a simple website and don’t want to regularly update it, then a custom coded solution may work. If you want to set up an eCommerce store then pick a platform which will facilitate that.
3. Make it mobile friendly! The number of people who browse the web on mobile is just about equalling the number of people who browse with a desktop so why would you settle for a site that doesn’t work on one of these platforms? You shouldn’t!
4. Ensure that your website is relatively up-to-date. For many businesses (particularly ones that deal online) a customer will judge you as a business based on their first impressions when they visit your site. If your site looks old and uninviting, there’s a good chance they’ll go elsewhere.
5. User experience is key! This is one of the most important parts of a website but is often left aside and ignored. At the end of the day, your website serves a purpose (often this is to provide information). If your website’s interface is getting in the way of it serving that function efficiently, it’s not effective and could lead to potential customers going elsewhere.
What web browser do you use?
For my own browsing it’s Safari on Mac. But as a web developer I also have Chrome and Firefox installed to test my websites on multiple platforms.
If you were an animal, which one would you be and why?
An ant. Teamwork makes the dreamwork.
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