That’s a wrap on the inaugural No Code Conf

As the sun, err fog, sets on another San Francisco autumn night, we sadly say goodbye to No Code Conf 2019.

Brittany Caldwell
November 14, 2019
Announcements

Our first conference was a sold-out success thanks to our incredible speakers, sponsors, attendees, and community.

Here’s the run-down in case you couldn’t make it in person — and make sure to sign up for details on how to watch the talk recordings, access the slides to the workshops, and attend our remote-friendly No Code Conf Keynote Viewing Parties. 

We had 457 attendees who traveled to No Code Conf from 26 countries, 75 major cities, and 30 US states. 

The day started bright and early with a bagel bar and endless caffeine at the No Code Cafe. 

no code cafe

Webflow CEO + Cofounder, Vlad Magdalin kicked off sessions with an inspiring keynote followed by a fireside chat discussing why No Code is important for the future of software with investors in the No Code movement. 


no code main stage

And he even got a selfie from stage. 

The full two-day schedule represented a wide range of perspectives from all over the world. Our speakers traveled from Botswana, Mexico, Israel, Italy, England, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Wales, and all over the US. 48% of speakers identified as non-male and 52% non-white. 

Tlamelo Cindy Melemo, President at WoTech Botswana, commanded an audience and had all of us challenging ourselves how we can better serve marginalized communities with her incredibly powerful lightning talk. 

Camille Esposito, Senior Brand Designer at Getaround, and Micah Fenner, Product Designer at Asana, both crushed their first-ever conference talks with a dominating stage presence and poignant perspectives. 

The No Code Drive-In Demo Theater was consistently packed at every main stage break where attendees munched on popcorn and candy, learned about our sponsors, and bonded over the amazingness that is 1980’s computer commercials. 



group of people laughing

In between learning sessions, attendees interacted with art installations that provided insight into Webflow features and company culture. A giant kaleidoscope to climb inside and immerse yourself in provided a unique photo opportunity, as well as a creative way to watch the No Code video again. Because it’s just that good

An entire room made of aluminum composite represented how easy it is to design with visual development. Attendees were able to make their own creations with magnets designed in collaboration by the Webflow Brand Studio team and the official artist of No Code Conf, Nine & Eye


When a break from the crowds was necessary, an introvert sanctuary and an animation studio helped attendees recharge and get back in the networking-game. 


And if you needed help, the Webflow team was there to support. Everyone from product experts and support, to accessibility and social impact came out to meet No Code makers. 

The energy of the room was palpable from beginning to end. 

In short: our community is the best. We are so incredibly grateful to all of you for traveling far and wide to be with for the first-ever No Code Conf. We hope to see you in person again in 2020! Stay in the loop on all things community and events at Webflow. 

A special thanks to our sponsors

ncc sponsors

6. Networking and word of mouth

The number-one way to find quality clients is to get out and meet people (figuratively and literally) at non-design events

Once up a time, I’d spend all day at home, applying for mechanical engineering jobs in isolation. I was unsuccessful for months.

I did, however, make serious headway on my Netflix backlog. Serious progress, people.

Eventually, I gave up and focussed on pursuing a career in web design and development (which I was much more passionate about), and started getting out and socializing. 

Within weeks, I had job offers coming in from my loose-knit network of new acquaintances. It’s not rocket science: People prefer to hire people they already know and like — not the faceless folks clogging their inbox with links.

Notice how I didn't specifically describe who the people I met were? That’s because you need to meet all kinds of people. You have no idea who your next client will be.

But they probably won’t be at a web design meetup — those are filled with jobless designers. 

All of this is worth repeating: Go to any and every meetup that matches your interests, and simply tell people you’re a web designer. Watch what happens. Everyone needs a website, or knows someone who does. That's what’s so great about freelancing in this industry.

people eating and talking
Get outside. Talk to the humans you meet there. Repeat.

Some places to start meeting people:

  • Meetups
  • Sports events and classes
  • Cafes
  • Abroad (for some reason, people are a lot more open to talking to strangers while traveling)
  • Parties
  • Twitter
  • Slack groups
  • Conferences and conventions

Just keep in mind that, no matter the event type or place, you have to actually talk to people you don’t already know. 

Tip: Don’t be the typical “business networker.” Don’t bounce from person to person shaking hands, fake-smiling, repeating first names every sentence, and handing out business cards. Be legitimate. Make real connections. 

The other side of the networking coin — word of mouth — comes from building up a client base, having lots of contacts, and building your personal brand (with your blog, portfolios, and templates). This takes time. Do great work, treat your clients with respect, keep in touch with past clients, and follow the rest of the advice in this article, and you'll absolutely be fine.

With networking and word of mouth, you can easily reach a state of having more work offers than you can sustain—without ever actually working for it. When this happens, you can increase your rates. Ka-ching.

Personally, I turn down contract offers on a weekly basis. And they’re all the result of word of mouth and networking I did months ago.

It honestly doesn't take long to get to this point if you produce quality work and put yourself out there.

7. Hustling

Hustling is the art of working extremely hard and extremely smart. In the context of freelancing, hustling involves going out and finding work directly. For example: finding websites or businesses that desperately need your services.

Does your favourite pub have a terrible site? Why not talk to the owners and convince them they need you to fix it?

If you have the right personality, and the drive, this can be an extremely effective way to whip up some initial work. It just isn’t particularly glamorous. It also requires your repeated, hands-on time and energy. (In contrast, writing blog posts or setting up a portfolio one time can attract customers for years to come.) The success rate of in-person contact, however, is much higher. The trade-off is lower volume.

Bonus: Freelance.tv

Fresh out of the studio (or maybe his cool van) Dann Petty released Freelance.tv. It’s a series of 10-minute interviews with freelancers that explores how they find, work with, and keep clients (and much more).

As you may have noticed from reading this post (or maybe not), hearing from other freelancers about their experiences can be extremely helpful. Check out his new episodes and also his upcoming documentary, Freelanced.

Now get out there and find your next gig

If you’re sitting at home, desperately hoping clients will come to you, I have news for you: They won’t.

You have to put yourself out there to start, and show prospective clients that you have tangible, valuable skills to offer.

Luckily, this is an industry where skill and contacts trump all — education is irrelevant. So take advantage of that.

So to summarize, here are your next steps for getting clients and building your freelancing business:

  1. Build your portfolio. Make it gorgeous. Share it everywhere. You can use Webflow to do it yourself without coding.
  2. Create profiles on Behance, Dribbble, and Webflow to connect with other designers and potential clients. Use their SEO advantage to drive more traffic to your website.
  3. Create a profile on Upwork and Design Inc, and bid on contracts. Be confident, and don’t be scared by inexpensive competitors. Also use AngelList to find contracts with promising or established startups.
  4. Start meeting people. Get out, meet, and befriend as many non-designers / developers as possible. Be legitimate.
  5. Start a blog to complement your portfolio. Write thoughtful, useful content to establish yourself as an expert in your discipline. Let your personality shine through.
  6. Convert your websites designs to templates, and release them on sites like Webflow, CreativeMarket, and ThemeForest to earn passive income and awareness.
  7. If it’s your style, start hustling. Find people who legitimately need your services and tell them why.

But most of all:

"Do something! Even if it's wrong."

– My friend's dad

When you’re starting out, it can be better to do the wrong thing than nothing at all. In the process, you’ll learn, and you might just stumble into something that works beautifully.

Just try to not to be so wrong nobody will ever work with you again. Ever.

Now, stop reading, and get out there and land some clients!

Oh — and If you’re a freelancer, how do you find clients? Is there anything I missed?

Brittany Caldwell

Community, events, and marketing at Webflow. 


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