January 28, 2009 in Tips and How To (E)
[prMac.com] New York, New York - Jeffrey Zeldman, founding partner of An Event Apart web design conferences and founder of Happy Cog studios, shares his experience surviving bad times based on starting an agency at the dawn of the dot-com bust in a helpful article on the 24ways website. Zeldman's four keys to surviving a bad economy for web designers include simple axioms: do good work, charge a fair price, lower your overhead, and be sure you are communicating with your client.
"Although the recession we're in now may end up making the dot-com bust look like the years of bling and gravy, the bust was rough enough at the time," said Zeldman. "Bad times are hard on overweight companies and over-leveraged start-ups, but can be kind to freelancers and small agencies. Clients who once had money to burn and big agencies to help them burn it suddenly consider the quality of work more important than the marquee value of the business card. Fancy offices and ten people at every meeting are out. A close relationship with an individual or small team that listens is in."
Zeldman reminds those starting out or refiguring their business plans that thin is in. If you were good in client meetings when you were an employee, print business cards and pick a name for your new agency. How do you get gigs? Web design is a people business. If things are slow, email former clients. If you just lost your job, email former agency clients with whom you worked closely to inform them of your freelance business and find out how they're doing. Don't forget to give it time. Securing clients takes longer and requires more effort in a recession. If two emails used to land you a gig, it will now take four, plus an in-person meeting, plus a couple of follow-up calls.
Networking and adding new skills can fill gaps in your plan. Zeldman leads, with partner Eric Meyer, a series of two-day events around the country called An Event Apart. The speakers cover creating the right content and features for your audience, designing pages that are a pleasure to read and use, and beating browsers and web gadgets into submission. An Event Apart and its presenters are gung-ho about web design and development.
Each speaker has made genuine contributions to this industry and each is a star. Meyer and Zeldman will share their experience designing and developing at all four 2009 conferences. An Event Apart kicks off in Seattle on May 4–5, 2009 followed by Boston, June 22–23, Chicago, October 12–13, and finishing the year in San Francisco December 7–8, 2009. These two-day events all take place in one room, one track. To register for the conference, visit the website.
From the makers of A List Apart, An Event Apart is an intensely educational two-day conference for passionate practitioners of standards-based web design. If you care about code as well as content, usability as well as design, An Event Apart is the conference you've been waiting for. Founded by web visionaries Eric Meyer and Jeffrey Zeldman, and dedicated to the proposition that the creators of great web experiences deserve a great learning experience, An Event Apart brings together twelve of the leading minds in web design for two days of non-stop inspiration and enlightenment. An Event Apart receives support from A List Apart and Happy Cog.