1-on-1 with Patrick is a series of web design coaching sessions for wannabe web designers.
In this episode we have Rohan George from Kerala, India! We discuss:
- Where Rohan is at in his web design journey
- What the overall goal of a website should be
- Why the technology aspect of web design isn’t as important anymore
- How to start freelancing as a web designer
- Why there’s no substitute for hard work and consistency
- Dealing with fear of failure and feelings of inadequacy
- Closing thoughts and Rohan’s action plan
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Tools & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- How to Start a Web Design Business
- Excuses to Not Start Your Web Design Business
- Are Web Design Courses Worth Buying?
- A Complete Guide to User Experience Web Design
Where Rohan is At in His Web Design Journey
Patrick: How’s it going?
Rohan: Yeah. I’m good. How are you?
Patrick: I’m pretty good. So, is it Rohan?
Rohan: Yeah, it’s Rohan.
Patrick: Nice to meet you. Where are you from?
Rohan: Yeah, nice to meet you. I’m from India, Karli.
Patrick: Very cool. How are things going out there?
Rohan: Yeah, the number of cases here in India, Karli is still rising.
Patrick: Still rising.
Patrick: Are you guys in lock down?
Rohan: Yeah, we are in lock down. [Inaudible00:27]
Patrick: I’m sorry to hear that. How’s things going with you; do you have work?
Rohan: No, I just graduated. I was in civil engineering field, but you know, due to the lock downs and all, the field is becoming very dull. I’m trying to change my career path into IT Web development.
Patrick: Yeah, you said you went to school for engineering?
Rohan: Yeah, four years civil engineer.
Patrick: Four years. And you just finished.
Rohan: Yeah, last year September I just finished.
Patrick: Okay, and now you’re trying to make the switch to IT and web development.
Rohan: Yeah, because we can’t go out, so I had to do something from home.
Patrick: Yeah. Well, that must be frustrating.
Rohan: Yeah, it’s very frustrating.
Patrick: So, okay, why don’t you start by telling me a little bit about where you’re at with your web design journey so far?
Patrick: Oh, wow. Okay, so you learned HTML and CSS already through some courses on Udemy.
Rohan: Yeah, I did.
Patrick: Wow. So you went the full coding route, you decided coding?
Patrick: Why’d you decide to do it that way?
Rohan: Well, my brother is in IT. He’s [inaudible02:15], so he also deals with IT stuffs. In the present condition, I think the IT field is going to rise up. Unlike civil, we have to go to the site and work, and at the presentation we can’t.
What the Overall Goal of a Website Should Be
Rohan: So, I tried creating a few websites, but I get stuck. I don’t know what the main content should be, how all those things, if log into upstate, what should we do first; what should be their first? That’s a little confusing for me.
Patrick: Okay. So, you’re asking, like, what should you first see when you land on the website, like on the homepage?
Rohan: Yeah, on the homepage and what also should be, you know, directly available on the homepage. In every page, something like contact, contact should be available on every page, right.
Patrick: Contact form?
Rohan: Contact, yeah.
Patrick: Yeah, so generally you would want to put contact information in the footer at the bottom so that it shows up on every page. I would definitely recommend that.
Rohan: Like that’s important stuff, what all things, you know, should be available on every page and what the users may like or dislike.
Patrick: Okay. So, and you’re custom coding these sites, right?
Patrick: Yeah, I mean, a big picture way of looking at it is trying to picture your website visitors landing on a specific page. They’re not always necessarily going to land on your homepage. So, when you’re designing a page, you have to think about what is the purpose of this page? What is the call to action that you want the person to take. It has to be a clear purpose to every page you make. If there is no purpose, the page shouldn’t exist because a lot of people will get caught up in building more and more pages, somehow thinking that bigger is better. That’s not true. Every page needs to have a specific purpose. So, you need to think about, okay, what’s the purpose of this page? What is the action that I want my visitor to take when they land on this page?
Most of the content that I, or most of the pages that people land on on my sites, it’s almost all through my content, through my blog posts. That’s how people find me. So with every single blog post that I make, every piece of content that I make, I need to think about, okay, what is my website visitor thinking when they land on this page, what’s their mindset and what do they want? And then I have to try to determine that and then produce an action that I want them to take and make it very clear and make it very obvious.
Why the Technology Aspect of Web Design Isn’t as Important Anymore
Rohan: So you know, I’m always curious whether I am able to do this because, you know, I don’t have any IT background. I know I just started and how should I set up everything, and I’m always so curious? And sometimes tends to also [inaudible06:20].
Patrick: Yeah, so it doesn’t matter if you have no it background, because for example, everything I just described actually has nothing to do with IT. It has nothing to do with technology. It has everything to do with marketing; it’s everything to do with psychology, understanding how your visitors think, what they want and how to give it to them. That’s sales and marketing. That’s it. It’s much less important the tools that you use to build the website. Now, it doesn’t really matter whether it’s custom coded or if it’s built in WordPress, they’re all ultimately trying to serve the same purpose; it’s trying to do the same thing, which is you’re trying to– I mean, as a web designer, so web design so design website, you’re trying to get clients, okay. You’re trying to get web design clients. That’s the whole purpose of the site.
Show everyone your brand, what you’re all about, but the simple call to action is that you want clients. That’s your goal. So everything around that website around your website, particular, needs to be built around how can I get people who land on my site to become not just visitors but customers, so that stuff has nothing to do with IT. So if I can make a recommendation, I would spend more time learning the fundamentals of web design, you know, user experience, copywriting, sales content marketing; those skills are much more important these days. It’s a much greater priority on those things than it is for the actual technical skills. Okay, let’s get back into to the web design stuff here. So yeah, so we were talking about learning other skills other than technical stuff, you know, sales, marketing; web design fundamentals. Do you have any questions around that stuff?
How to Start Freelancing as a Web Designer
Rohan: No. I want to start freelancing. So, you know, what should I do for first step? What should I do?
Patrick: Do you have a website?
Rohan: No, I haven’t started. I have no nothing to show, so I don’t know.
Patrick: There you go; you already know the answer. If you’re a freelance web designer, you have to have a website to start with. So just keep practicing practice, practice, practice, work on building your own site, work on building your brand from the ground up. That’s where– because there’s no point in trying to apply for other jobs. Like there’s no point in trying to go to job boards like Upwork or something and start applying for work if you don’t have your own website, you need to prove and show to people that, you know? No, one’s going to hire a web designer that doesn’t have their own website. That’s really suspicious, right?
So yeah, it’s just start doing research into and practicing your web design skills, building your own website and building your brand. Think about what you want your logo to be your brand colors, your brand style, what’s your messaging, you know, try to inject your personality into some of it, make it more personal. Because there’s too many web designers out there already, there’s too many that offer, you know, beautiful WordPress design or whatever for small businesses, blah, blah, blah, boring. There’s tens of thousands. You’ll find those everywhere. They don’t stand out. So you got to find some way to kind of inject your personality into it and make it more intimate. Like, show people a little bit about who they’re working with, who you are and make it funny or make it interesting and that comes down to– but that just comes with practice, you know, that’s copywriting, that’s sales writing. But, it really just comes out of practice, so I would start working on your own website right away.
Rohan: So I joined a course in Google about marketing, that’s Google marketing fundamentals, yeah, something. They were there explaining how user thinks, how they are looking for and what [inaudible10:39].
Why There’s No Substitute for Hard Work and Consistency
Patrick: That’s good. You say you joined a Google course on marketing.
Patrick: Okay. Yeah, I mean personally, it sounds like you’ve signed up and done a lot of courses. That’s really good. I mean, it sounds like you’re working hard and maybe that’s what you’re used to because you– go ahead.
Rohan: Yeah, no know I’m staying at home, I don’t have anything else to, you know, I have all the free time in the world.
Patrick: There you go. And you’re using that free time wisely. You’re using it practically, not just sitting around watching Netflix. But you know, maybe the courses thing, that’s something that you like, because like you went to university for four years and you liked that structure. That’s fine. Personally, I’ve never bought or signed up for a course for anything. I learned everything off Google and YouTube. It’s all out there for free, but the hardest part is like– the easy part is learning. The easy part is taking in knowledge and learning all, but all that stuff is out there for free. The hardest part is taking action, now, putting that knowledge into action, so practice. You got to keep working and practice. It’s going to be bad at first. Just like anything else, you practice anything you’re going to be really bad at first, but like you said, you have time, so just keep practicing, retuning, refining. You know, I’ve been in web design for years. It’s been a year since I’ve started rapid web launch, and I still go back to my website and I’m constantly tuning it, refining it, changing this and updating the colors here, changing the text, the wording, sometimes redesigning the whole page. I’m always looking at ways to improve and always practicing my skills
Dealing With Fear of Failure and Feelings of Inadequacy
Rohan: Sometimes, you know, I feel down then I’m stuck somewhere and I don’t think I can do this. You know, I get really worried and–
Patrick: I understand, yeah, that’s normal, man. I am the same way. I still get like that sometimes. So, I’ll have a new thing, like a client will come to me, like I want to do this. And I’m like, Oh wow, I don’t actually know how to do that. So, I have to look it up and learn it and do it. And that’s the beauty of this day and age, is if you don’t know how to do something you can just like, okay, well let’s do that, and then you go and look it up and research it, and then learn how to do it, and that’s how you grow. There practicing your skills, so, you know, don’t worry about feeling inadequate or somehow you’re not cut out for this; everyone feels the same way, everyone does. So yeah, anything else that can help with; any other questions you got?
Rohan: No, at the moment. Yeah, that’s all I got.
Patrick: So what are the steps you’re going to take after this conversation; three things?
Closing Thoughts and Rohan’s Action Plan
Rohan: Three things. Okay, so I have many friends who recently started, you know, small business, like catering, doodle arts and like that. So, I asked most of them if I could do their website and they said, yeah, if they like, they’ll see what they can do here. So I’m going to try, you know, refining my knowledge and you know, doing the websites.
Patrick: Refining your knowledge is good, but what did we talk about?
Patrick: Taking action, yeah, practicing. That’s the most important part because that’s how your brain learns. We can read and watch and listen to stuff all day, but it can go in one ear and out the other, because we’re just bombarded by information constantly. It’s actually applying those things that you learnt, that’s how you learn; that’s how your brain grows. That’s how you grow personally and professionally. Yeah, well, that’s great, man. So that’s it then, if that’s all the questions you have, it’s been great chatting with you.
Rohan: Thank you for your time.
Patrick: Yeah, stay safe my friends. And when you get that website built, send me a link. I want to take it.
Rohan: Yeah, of course. I’ll send you of course.
Patrick: All right. Take care.