⭐ My freelancing journey.

September 16, 2021
October 12, 2023
October 12, 2023

I graduated from computer engineering technology, a course mostly focused on embedded programming (Assembly, C, low-level languages) and IT.

Why and how did I pivot immediately to web development?

⭐ Family and Connections

I was always vocal about my passion for technology. Before graduating my friend's dad had approached me for help with his aging website.

I was also able to do a website for my uncle.

Both opportunities were paid and didn't require any marketing.

⭐ Co-founder

I had a great friendship through college with Matt (Co-host of the HTML All The Things podcast)

We both shared the passion for striking out on our own and decided to take on the clients I found together. We formed a company called Digital Dynasty Design.

Having someone to bounce ideas off of and split administrative tasks really helped.

I wouldn't say it's required to start freelancing but it's great if you already have a friend that you know you can work with.

⭐ The First 6 Months

In college, we had 1 course that just touched on JavaScript. We didn't know anything.

Our first project was maintaining an 8-year-old DreamWeaver website.

It was a disaster. 10 templates per page, no idea where to change anything.

Our next project was a huge constantly updating website for a health clinic. We found a template that fit and made it work.

When we delivered, the client asked how they can go about updating the site on a daily basis...

We didn't use a CMS.

1.5 months later and we integrated CouchCMS into the already existing HTML, CSS, JS template.

During that time we had to constantly update the site with events, testimonials, blogs, etc.

Get good at getting requirements for a project early on to not make this mistake.

⭐ The Big Break

We had no idea what we were doing initially. Had to talk to lawyers, accountants, advisors.

We were making enough money to pay the few bills we had at the time but nothing substantial.

Until we lucked out by diving into chrome apps.

Yes, chrome apps. We first built a chrome extension called Lists by Design. Essentially a bookmark organizer.

Then we built a full-out clicker game called Clicks to Riches.

We listed our Chrome app services on a freelancing website and almost immediately got a client.

We helped turn their existing web application into a fully managed Chrome app.

From there we slowly rebuilt their application, made it more efficient, and eventually went on to build plenty more for the same client.

This led to me contracting out to them (through our business) for over 4 years. Matt handled the day-to-day web design business while I was a tech lead for our client.

I lead a small team of developers where we worked with small businesses and large corporations.

We made digital signage apps for optical retail stores (stores that sell glasses).

We also made in-store selling applications that ran on iPad to help associates better explain and sell glasses.

This is where I learned AGILE, Software Architecture, Delegation.

⭐ Just Getting Started

Even though we've been doing this now for 7 years it stills feels we're only at the beginning.

After my last contract ended I dove right into HTML All The Things. I got to meet so many amazing people through it.

Twitter on its own has helped establish some of the best relationships I have right now in the industry.

We're still not sure what's next but we know that the HTML All Things community and podcast are part of it.

If you're curious about any particular moment just drop a comment on the first post in this thread.

I've left a ton out and will be filling you all in on my Twitter timeline so give me a follow @htmleverything

Written by...
Mike Karan

I've been a full-stack web developer for 8+ years! Co-host of the HTML All The Things Podcast. Svelte, Vue.js, React, Node, SQL I love all things technology.

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