Considering just how many DIY solutions such as WordPress’s CMS platform are in existence to help people build their own websites without too much technical knowledge, and considering just how many web designers there are in the world today, you’d probably be advised against trying to pursue a career as a web designer. There are plenty of opportunities still available though and making a success out of it will take nothing more than targeting a specific niche.
There’s no doubt about the fact that you’ll be entering into a very competitive market however, with some very talented web designers boasting impressive portfolios to come up against, some of whom are even self-taught. Fear not – you can make up any ground you might have fallen behind on through taking the play-for-perks approach.
The play-for-perks approach to web design is one which has the web designer building up their portfolio by either offering their services to prospective clients for free in exchange for the service the client offers, which means that no actual money exchanges hands. This way you can build up your portfolio by adding to it a growing selection of live projects you’ve completed for “real” clients, but what it also means is that you get remunerated for your work in the old style of bartering.
What usually goes on to happen is that the clients start paying up for the ongoing after sales services like web hosting, and the maintenance and updating of the website.
This brings into focus what then usually happens by default, whether you’re charging the full price or you’re going the play-for-perks route, which is the fact that web designers are often treated to a whole host of perks given to them by their clients. One freelance web designer I know who is running his own digital agency walked me through a story of how he was doing a site for a health and beauty spa owner and subsequently received a complimentary spa treatment. It was a Brazilian wax, so it helped him discover something about himself, that he is in actual fact a masochist!
Anyway, the point is being a web designer comes with lots and lots of perks and there are times when those perks are of a much higher value than the service you provide as a web designer – a service for which you get paid for in any case. It goes way beyond the typical corporate gifts for clients like gift baskets, which are always delightful to receive in themselves, heading into some lavish territory at times, such as enjoying a two-night stay at an exclusive resort.
Sometimes the perks bestowed upon the web designer are “secondary” in their nature, such as getting to experience a flight in a private jet that was hired by a client who subsequently has to be elsewhere and they can’t cancel their flight due to the terms and conditions of their private jet club membership, in which case you probably still wouldn’t complain one bit!