Why I Became A Freelance Web Developer
Back in 1997, I was living in Vancouver, Canada and I had a small business called Soaparama, making and selling natural bath products. Soaparama was doing well locally and I decided to see if I could get more customers by having a website. The quotes I was given by two of the internet service agencies I found in the phone book (remember phone books?) almost made me trash the whole idea. One was $6,000 and the other was $10,000 and neither agency asked me a single question about my business, or specifics about what I wanted, they just had some kind of standard fee for building a website — any website, apparently — a fee which placed their service far beyond the reach of many small business owners.
Being someone who doesn’t like to be deterred and who’d had a bit of an obsession with computers since the age of about 12 (I wrote my first game in Basic on an Acorn Electron at 13 years old), I thought, “I’ll do it myself. How hard can it be?”. Famous last words, as they say!
Fast forward to today and I’m more passionate than ever about what I do. I know that your business is your livelihood and that you care about it.
A few weeks later, I’d learnt enough HTML, PHP and MySQL to build and launch my own website. It was very pink and it had an online order form and everything! I’d also read about search engine optimisation and my website was on the first page of several search engines, like Netscape, Excite and Web Crawler — Google hadn’t been born yet. The results of my determination were that I was soon getting orders coming in from as far as the States (mission accomplished!) and I’d discovered a real passion for coding; so much so that when friends who owned other local businesses started asking me to build sites for them I was pretty excited.
I was also approached by a large, Canadian Internet Service Provider, whose “higher-ups” were very interested to know how I’d achieved such great success with the search engines. I went along to the meeting they invited me to, wide-eyed and enthusiastic, with my Compaq laptop in a brand new case and was guided to a boardroom where four suited men were sitting around a large table. I realised I must have accomplished something special after they’d asked only two questions about the techniques I’d used. A couple of them looked at each other with blank stares after my responses, at which point I stopped talking and kept the rest of my information to myself. I decided there and then that I wanted to stick to helping the people who couldn’t afford the prices being charged by the men I was talking to. I wanted to focus on the “little guys” — of whom, I was one!
Having accidentally built up a small (and growing) client base, I became a full-time, self-employed web developer in January 1999 and retired from soap-making shortly afterwards.
Fast forward to today and I’m more passionate than ever about what I do. I know that your business is your livelihood and that you care about it. So, if you’re looking for a reliable, professional web developer, I would love to work with you. You can get in touch with me via this site, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. I can’t wait to hear about your business!
The Services I Provide
I have nearly two decades(!) of web development experience, including all of the following:
- Custom websites
- WordPress themes
- WordPress plugins
- WordPress maintenance
- HTML email templates
- Google penalty recovery
- Malware cleanup
I aim to build successful, ongoing relationships with my clients through hard work, dependability, honesty and good communication.
I've collaborated with Sarah on numerous projects and always found her an absolute joy to work with. As a designer who has worked with some of the world's largest brands including Apple, Sony, GSK, BP, BT and Virgin, I particularly appreciate the way she understands the subtler points in a design and strives to recreate my vision as accurately as possible — not always an easy task. But Sarah seems to have an eye for design that most developers lack. She excels at building complex WordPress themes and plugins that give the client even more flexibility than they realised was possible. Plus, she swears really well.
Dave Hornsby — design+
Who I Work With
My clients are usually small to medium-sized businesses or self employed individuals. I also work with designers who’d like to join forces with a developer, as well as agencies who need to outsource any development overflow.