The O-Level Guy

Back in 2004, shortly before I started my freelance journey, I was at the lowest point of my life (and I bet it was!) I had to throw in the white towel for what I was doing at that moment, and decided to “get a job”.

I saw the hiring ad in the classified, a 2-month contract position for a webmaster, To me, it was already a gazillion times better than working in 7-11 (I’ll tell you this other story in another seating.) So I sent in my resume. Continue reading “The O-Level Guy”

Web Designer, Found!

I should update the status of my hiring.

Because I got so little responses from my ad in Facebook (see
Web Designers, Where Art Thou?) I turned to Monster.com.sg and JobsDB.com for help.
Within a week, I received like dozens of job applications, one of them happened to be my first customer for hosting service 3 years ago! To make it even more exciting, she seems to have the skills and attitude I want, so very quickly I called her for interview.

Prior to the interview, I emailed her three test questions for her to work on, and I told her to explain the solutions to me when I meet her. I didn’t care if she could find the right answer actually, I was more keen to find out if she would put in the effort to find answer (in case you didn’t know, this is how exactly I become who I am today.) And, to my biggest relief, she did put in the effort to learn about the issues, and got me not just one solution, but multiple solutions!

On the spot, I offered her the job.

This is the moment I want to thank God so very much for sending her to me. All I need to do next, is to make sure to offer her the best environment to work, and to grow her career.

June 12 Update: On the day after I offered the job to her, she came to check out my office where she was going to start working in, together with her father and sister. When I opened the door for them, the reaction on their face was: is this where she’s going to work in?! The father was complaining non-stop about the distance they had to travel to get here (they live in the west, and my office is in the east.) The sister couldn’t believe I could live in the same place where I work (home office, of course.) And of course, the girl who was supposed to work for me, seemed like she was going to listen to what her father had to say. So true enough, she wrote in the next day to turn down the job, despite my added offer to compensate her traveling expenses.

I was upset for sure. What I couldn’t make sense out of this, of the dozens of applications from people all over the continent, majority of them from India, Philippines, Myammar and Malaysia. Some of them would do whatever it takes to get the job, yet I offered the position to her without second thought, and what I got in return was the complaint on the distance she has to travel to work, from central-west of Singapore to central-east of Singapore (22.9km to be exact.) As much as I hate to blog about this, I have to say, you Singaporeans are way too pampered.

Round Two at Ngee Ann

I was back in Ngee Ann as guest speaker for the second time (the last time I spoke there was December last year.) This time I was speaking to about 60 students; some are in second year, some are in final year. What puzzles me is they are actually engineering students, but they are also taught on web publishing and some programming stuff. Maybe that’s why the course they are taking is called “Multidiscipline Engineering”.

I was hoping to see a bunch of young women and men who are eager to hear what I had to share with them, Continue reading “Round Two at Ngee Ann”

Web Designers, Where Art Thou?

I put up advertisements on Facebook, looking to hire someone who is good in HTML/CSS, who can help share my workload, so that I can have more time for sleep.

In two weeks, the banner showed up 171,487 times, in which, got 42 clickthroughs (i.e. the banner was clicked 42 times, possibly by 42 different individuals.) Out of the clicks, only 3 wrote in to ask about the job. That is like 7% of conversion rate. But I was not very happy with the result, I thought there should be more people who might be interested in the job, if the click throughs were so low, the only explanation is there are already too many web designers out there.

To find out the answer, I put up a poll in Facebook which would collect data from 100 users, with the question asking “Do you have a friend or relative who happens to be/claim to be a web designer?” To my expectation, more than half of the respondents claimed that they do have friend or relative who happens to be a web designer. Only thing I’m not sure is: is the web designer whom all these people know are the same person, or there are indeed so many web designers out there?Facebook Poll

Want a site like eBay?

As a freelance web designer, I receive average of 5 to 20 emails/calls each week with inquiry on web design for small to big companies. While most of the calls were genuine, occasionally I would still receive amusing requests like the following:

Hi i would like to have a website like e-bay. Could you quote me a price, in total for everything to be in place. Inclusive of membership n reply mails and payment.

A website like eBay.com requires a truck-load of programmers, a couple of months if not years, and a couple of million dollars to build. The person who made the above request was either new to the internet, or new to the world. But for being polite, I replied to his email along with the explanation, let’s see what he’d say about it.

Interviewed

Jasmine, who is one of my longest hosting customers, asked if her team could interview me for their school project, which they were supposed to pick and interview an industry entrepreneur, on things related to, well, entrepreneurship. While I did not quite like being associated with this over-rated term “entrepreneurship”, I at the same time found the request too interesting to be declined. In the spirit of sharing, I took it up.

I met up with her team at Geek Terminal, we then spent the next two hours on some great sharing. So great until I forgotten what I had talked about, until Jasmine forwarded a copy of their report to me.  As I read through it again, I was rather amused by the things I said. Once again, in the spirit of sharing, I thought you might like to be amused too. So here’s the full report. Continue reading “Interviewed”

Milestone

I had to blog about this as note to self.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of sharing my knowledge in web design business with about two dozens of lecturers in Ngee Ann Poly. I have covered topics of “Building a useful (successful) website”, “E-Commerce & Security”, “Marketing aspect of website”.

Those who know me well, know that I had never been to college, and I have wished I had a college life. I feel accomplished when, the day I finally walked into a college, I was there to teach.

This is one hell of a milestone! Wait… correction: this is one heaven of milestone!

Competition

It’s not like I had to brag, but I have to say that I can really understand why am I facing so little competition in the web design business. I was at a networking event today, I met several other web designers — of the five name cards I collected: one doesn’t have a website, one has a less than functional website, one doesn’t have an english version site (i.e. chinese language only), one’s website was not functioning at all (server not found), and one’s website takes forever to load (only flash version available). I love being a freelance web designer!

The Making of the Next Ogilvy

I know, that’s quite a big statement (the title), but they say it is better to aim for the sky, and when you fall, you will fall on the stars. So, I hope to be the Ogilvy in Web Design. Not to be as creative as him, but to build up the agency as big as his.

According to expert, the first step in starting out your own business, is to have a very clear idea of “WHY”. More than half of businesses folded up within five years, some didn’t even make it through the second year, because they didn’t know why they started the business in the first place.

So, here I am going to do my part, in defining the “WHY”. And, as a matter of fact, I have always had my “WHY” at the back of my mind.

Here’s the first WHY… Continue reading “The Making of the Next Ogilvy”