As the Internet develops, more and more web related freelance employment, contracts and tenders are being advertised via this medium rather than traditional print - which only goes to make sense. Employment sites usually contain their fair share of Information Technologies based employment; but so much of this work is now being outsourced by companies - especially web and graphic design/development, eCommerce implementation and software applications programming.
Many sites, such as ours, are now geared up to act as an affiliate networking point for developers, programmers and designers to locate freelance work or contracts for their companies. It's become a highly competitive marketplace where a client can offer a project to the entire world. Interested parties bid and compete against each other to gain projects. Details of these types of services later in this article.
Not all would-be clients are aware of these services. Some don't even have an Internet connection, let alone a web site. How do you reach these people? As much I hate to admit it, the best solution is to use your feet (physical exercise...hmm, now there's a concept!). This is one exercise where "walking" through the telephone directory just won't cut it....
As I stroll around the Central Business District of Adelaide (capital of South Australia), I am still surprised at the number of businesses that don't have an online presence; especially the ones directly involved in Information Technologies. I have called several computer stores asking for their web address, only to be told that it is "currently under development" which tends to mean "we haven't had time to even start on a web site" - or I've visited their sites only to find that they haven't been updated since 1999.
It would be well worth the effort to research the stores in your home town to ascertain which businesses do have web sites, and those that do - perhaps they need updating?
With your list of businesses, you could then research them further by investigating the products and services they sell - getting to know them as intimately as possible. Then find the appropriate contacts within those businesses and introduce yourself via a professional letter, telephone conversation or meeting. During your initial communication, relay the fact that you have knowledge of their product line. Don't go too much for the hard sell. Basically state who you are, your background and what you offer. Too much technobabble may frighten prospective clients off and too much hype will probably have the same effect. A well worded letter may not see you with a torrent of contract and project offers initially, which is probably a good thing.But you would have sown the seeds for future work. Businesses that grow too quickly face as many problems as those that don't grow.
Here is a sample of an initial contact letter:
I visited your store today, and was impressed by your product range. I mainly purchase via the Internet and was surprised to find that your business did not yet have an Internet presence - especially since the products/services would prove to be very popular in such an environment.
I am a web developer of x years experience, and am the proprietor of ; specialising in assisting businesses such as yours in establishing a financially viable Internet presence. My experience covers many sectors including:
We work closely with our clients, helping them to avoid the traps and pitfalls that are associated with taking a business online and have a number of referees who would be happy to attest to that.
The Internet is an excellent medium by which a business such as can increase it's profitability. Many other reputable businesses in your industry are enjoying a greater market share through an international audience; such as:
If you are interested in learning more of how our services can benefit your business, please contact me at your convenience. My rates are extremely reasonable and we pride ourselves on excellent client support, both during and after contract. Utilising our services, will discover that "going online" can be a hassle free and profitable experience.
The idea is to keep the letter short and sweet - business people traditionally do not have a lot of spare time on their hands. Make sure that you pitch the letter in accordance with cultural guidelines. A letter format such as the above may meet with success in one country, but not in another.
If possible, send the letter on your business letterhead and better still, attached a business card. People tend to throw away letters after reading them, but not business cards.
Many business people are only just starting to realise the power of the Internet and eCommerce. But when the time comes for them to go online or to update their web sites, your name may be the first that comes to their minds - especially if you follow up your original contact periodically, to keep your business and internet development skills fresh in their minds.
As mentioned earlier, sites such as ours are affiliated with project databases, where freelancers and design companies can compete for development work in a global arena.
A low price won't necessarily gain you the job; customer support and "going that extra mile" is also of paramount importance when clients review bids to decide who to award the project to. Remember, it's a risk for them to take on a stranger and you need to be able to convince a prospective client that you are skilled, credible and reliable. If you are a small design company or a one man show, a service such as this can be of great value as many clients prefer this type of business relationship.
As you undertake more projects under this service, you are rated on performance which is available for all to see. Many small design companies are not only using these services, but it's creating so much work for them that they are employing others to meet the demand. Millions of dollars worth of tenders are currently available through services such as this, covering various sections:
- Full web site design implemenation and maintenance - Web site makeovers - Technical writing and ebook creation - HTML, XML, XHTML, XSL, PHP, Perl, ASP, - Logo and Banner design - Software Applications programming - Database (Access, Oracle and SQL) creation and implementation - Ecommerce applications such as shopping carts - Advertising and advertising tracking
To view a database of these projects; follow this link
Even if you don't find yourself in a position to benefit from this type of service, it's worthwhile visiting on a regular basis to gain some ideas on pricing, sales pitches and services offered by other successful web development companies and freelancers.
If you would like some information regarding developing web development proposals:
Michael Bloch Taming the Beast http://www.tamingthebeast.net Tutorials, web content, tools and software. Web Marketing, Internet Development & Ecommerce Resources
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