I had zero experience as a web designer; how did I become a (very successful) web designer?
- Like it was only yesterday in my mind… warm and welcoming in my dorm room
- I was browsing Pinterest, the latest trend among college women, as we had recently gained access to the site.
- Among the many bloggers I discovered on Pinterest, my favorite was Rosie the Londoner.
- While in London, she partied the night away, explored Notting Hill, and jetted around Europe.
- Living in frigid Canada, London seemed like a world away, but it was actually a dream city for me. 🥶
- It was because of these bloggers that I decided to start my own blog. The travel blog Page by Paige came into being.
- Whatever I was to the internet content thing, don’t judge me—I was just given a horrible name.
I had the budget to hire a web designer who did nothing, so I figured I might as well learn something. A search for “HOW TO BUILD A BLOG” brought me one result.
- I experimented with several different tools for creating websites and blogs.
- Squarespace, WordPress, Google Blogger, Wix, and Mozilla Firefox.
- Right away, I fell head over heels for Squarespace. Drawing out the mental image in my head was the simplest part.
- A new flame was kindled at that moment 🔥.
- Making my blog, changing its look, and experimenting with its settings and styles were all things I adored doing.
And that was the moment when it hit me 💡… One way I could make money is by creating and designing websites for other people. Plus, it would generate income far more quickly than my aspirations of becoming a travel blogging content creator, which are infamously slow because they require a long time to build an audience before any money is made.
Web design seemed like the ideal side hustle to help pay off my $45k student loan.
Despite the fact that this wild idea seemed like a dream come true, it had its flaws and I was filled with fears about becoming a web designer without any experience.
- These were the ideas that swirled around in my mind…
- I lack professional experience and a portfolio since I did not pursue web design as a major in college.
- What does UI/UX even mean? I’m completely confused.
- Another thing I’m bad at is coding. I mean, who cares about that?
- I don’t think anyone will take me seriously because I’m only twenty years old.
- Uncomfortable laughs as they dance in the dark
I told my fears to go for a hike, and then I got down to business. Getting a handle on website development.
It was a huge help to use Google, YouTube, Skillshare, and a couple of blogs. It required a lot of online assembling since there was no comprehensive course available at the time.
While pursuing my master’s degree, I worked part-time as a web designer, picking up clients here and there. Graduation was the true litmus test.
I emigrated so I could be with a German guy – yes, the handsome one in the pictures 💕.
My initial strategy involved studying German 🇩🇪 and subsequently finding employment related to my field of study throughout my time in Germany.
Oh no… I realized I needed a backup plan after three months of language school and still not being able to order a coffee in German. I couldn’t learn the language fast enough to avoid draining my bank account.
The alternative plan had me working as a native English speaker in a bilingual preschool, which would have been ideal for some people but not me. I swiftly realized that wasn’t right after experiencing my brain deteriorating and melting inside while reading The Cat in the Hat for the zillionth time and having one too many tantrums from spoiled 4-year-olds.
Next, I had to figure out how to turn my web design business into a legitimate enterprise that could pay the bills.
I know what you’re thinking: how could my previous experience as an illustrator translate into a job as a web designer?
As a web designer, I did have a couple of natural strengths. I have an uncanny ability to stay on top of processes and projects because I am extremely organize. Someone else has mentioned that I have a natural talent for design.
- But that was also the point at which my innate abilities ended and the things I was lacking began…
- I had a terrible portfolio to start with.
- The websites I’d worked on in the past weren’t exactly groundbreaking.
For example, I actually created a website development Mississauga for a retirement home 🧓🏻 once, which, I think we can all agree, isn’t exactly the sort of thing that comes to mind when you imagine a dream design project. But I knew that if my portfolio was absolutely stunning, it would help me get ANY client—and I mean ANY client—but especially the kind of clients and projects I wanted. I had to conquer that first major obstacle.
Second of all, up until that point in time, I wasn’t really incorporating web design strategy into my projects.
Even though my clients’ websites looked decent, they weren’t experiencing significant boosts in sales or inquiries 📈.
For the purpose of creating case studies and portfolio pieces, I was aware that I needed to educate myself on what made a website function and what factors contributed to an increase in bookings and sales.
If a case study proved that a previous client’s sales skyrocketed after I launched a brand-new website for them, I would have known I had found the ultimate client magnet.
I had to educate myself on website-building strategy, design best practices, and conversion best practices to accomplish this.
It is interesting to note that I immersed myself in this topic and conducted extensive research on it, and the outcomes were surprising!
For a client of mine, the Black Friday sale was an annual event that brought in tens of thousands of dollars.
We quadrupled our Black Friday sales just from the redesign alone, without making any other changes to their marketing at all!
BEHOLD – MY CONCLUSION! It proved once and for all how effective a website can be when its design prioritizes strategy and conversion best practices.
Sign up for the free live training on February 7th to learn everything you need to know—you’ll see how I did it!