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Working With My First Client - Day 1

Alex Vong
I am an aspiring Web Developer, Disney nerd, sports junkie, movie critic, coffee drinker, and tech enthusiast. Oh and I write about them.
Originally published at alexvong.substack.com ・3 min read

It started off as any normal Wednesday morning. I had just made myself a nice cup of Espresso Tonic using my new Aeropress Coffee maker (which actually makes an espresso “style” shot of coffee not really an espresso but since I can’t afford an actual espresso machine it’ll do) and sat down to open the day’s lesson at Perpetual Education( mobile-view ).

The lesson loads and I read the title “Small business: part 1”, and I thought to myself that we were going to learn about small business websites and perhaps learn the process of making one. As I continued to read further I remember feeling a cold shiver run down my spine as my eyes slowly opened wider and wider until it was physically impossible for them to open any wider. That day’s lesson… was day 1 of working with a client to build a website for their small business.

I had to pause again to reflect on my initial reaction.

Our class, who were 7 weeks into our mentorship, were given a Google Doc list of clients and we needed to choose a client, read a bit about their business and goals, and build them a website by that Saturday. Up until that point we had only been working with HTML and CSS for a few weeks, a month tops, and we were tasked with the duties to build a fully functional website. What was more anxiety-inducing was that we were not just supposed to be web developers but the entire development team. We had to play the role of project manager, web designer, web developer, QA engineer, and our original role of students.

But hey we were given four days and our instructor, Derek, gave us a guideline of how we should do things. So once the initial shock finally passed, which felt like hours later, we all put on our big boy/girls pants and went at it. Now, to be perfectly fair and clear, I do not know if these were in fact real clients, but the structure and demand of this project definitely made it feel as if the clients were real and overall it was such an amazing learning experience.

And now for the actual process!

The goal of that day for me was research, research, and research. I wanted to get more acquainted with my client. The client I chose to work with was Intergalactic Plant World, a local plant shop. There was not too much information on them aside from the fact that they’ve been selling plants under the radar and would like to make a website so people know about their shop.

I began my process by creating a Google Doc with questions about their goals and what they hoped to achieve on their website. I needed to figure out who is the client, what do they want, what is the very most simple thing we can do to get them one step closer to their goal, etc. I asked questions such as whether their business even need a website, what was one main goal they hope to accomplish from the site, what was another goal, what they wanted featured (store name, hours, location, etc), and other questions to get a better feel of what they may want on their site.

A good amount of that day was centered around waiting for the client to answer my questions and send them follow-up questions until I felt I knew enough about the business to progress forward. At the end of it all, my main takeaway was that Intergalactic Plant World and its owners love psychedelic rock aesthetics as much as they love plants and the goal of their website was to “get people to come in, hang out, talk about plants, and buy plants”.

This concluded day 1 which I believe was a successful day of research and getting to know my client, their needs, and most importantly, their goals.

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