Can I Get Freelance Clients Jobs If I Only Know HTML and CSS?

the John Moore Show episode 96 since 400 crazy mother hey there my name is John Morris I'm a former US Army veteran turned freelance web developer and my goal for you at this podcast is twofold first I want to help you learn how to code second I want to help you turn that code into a full-time living because if you like me what you want is the freedom the satisfaction in the income that you get from being a high profile web developer so if that's you be sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes SoundCloud or YouTube so you never miss an episode you can find all my past episodes and get subscribed at John Morris online.com slash John Morris show also as you get value from the show consider becoming a supporting listener on patreon because you'll help keep the show free for everyone and you'll get access to exclusive courses source code and Q&A sessions available only to supporting listeners visit John Morris online.com slash patreon that's p80 REO n to become a supporting listener alright let's get into this episode everybody welcome back to the John Moore show John Morris online.com this episode I want to answer a question that I've been getting a lot lately and I think maybe have a different answer than probably a lot of other developers might give you and something that I think mentally and maybe even emotionally can free you up a little bit to really get aggressive with your career so the question that I've been getting and it kind of takes different forms but it's the gist of it is can I get clients if I only know XYZ languages so it could be if I only know HTML and CSS or if I only know HTML CSS and JavaScript or if I only know JavaScript or if I only know PHP in my sequel or if I'm only a front-end developer or if I'm only a back-end developer right so it it comes in all those different versions but it's really this idea of if I only know this small subset of everything I could know can I still get clients can i still take on clients and so again I think my answer this is probably a little bit different than you would get from a lot of other developers now my experience of this let me just relay my experience of this so I always have to hold my self back a bit because I know when I'm talking to these people I'll lose them but this kind of thing is just in my DNA I think it's in your DNA too and often times can be why we have some difficulty doing this so this actually happened to me just the other day I was at one of the local business meetup groups that I belong to and I was approached again about working on a website for one of the members if you've ever been to one of these local meetup groups when you're the tech guy you're usually kind of the hot commodity because these are these are people have really nothing to do attack their realtor's their local business auto shops their bankers etc they really don't they're not coders they don't know much about technology so when they get a tech person they automatically assume that you can fix like every tech problem so is that people like hey can you look at my phone or my computer and that kind of thing but oftentimes also get people who approached me about working on a website for them and so again my kind of gut nerd instinct when I was approached is to just kind of go full geek on them right to just go into all to geek out and go into all the different you know things and technologies and so forth but you always have to remember you never go full geek okay if there's one thing you get from this never go full geek so I got about two sentences into my verbal nerd bomb and I started to see their eyes glazing over and it reminded me that I was losing them so I caught myself I rained it back in and I got back to speak in English so this is this example of something that I've said probably a hundred times you've probably heard me say this time and time again and that is clients do not understand or care about our nerd speak they just don't get it that's just a fact so saying things like HTML CSS PHP etc to them that's like saying zoo boot wah-bah ruin a poof write it it's gibberish it doesn't mean anything to them they don't get it they don't care what they do care about is the end result that they're after the membership site the contact form the sales page the opt-in form the business website the e-commerce site that is how they think so to the question can you take clients only knowing HTML and CSS or JavaScript or PHP or my sequel or whatever my answer is that's not the question to ask the question to ask is can you deliver a specific end result that people want if yes then you can take clients for that specific end result and then you should market yourself appropriately this is the big thing that a mindset shift that I want you to get out of this is moving from a language mindset to a result mindset even if I think even if you're trying to apply at a big tech company now yes those companies are probably going to have developers on staff senior developers who do know code who do know languages and so you're going to see in the requirements for those jobs we want you to know this language and so forth when you go through the interviews they're going to have more tech related questions and so forth and they're they're going to look at that kind of stuff more than your average person because they actually understand it but that's really only gonna be in the hiring process and only a part of the hiring process once you get hired at a company like that they're not going to care if you say that you know PHP here that you do know PHP what they're going to care about is are you delivering results through your work that's what's going to matter to them ultimately and even in the hiring process you may say that you know HTML or PHP or CSS what they're their ultimate answer to that and various different forms is going to be ok show me and so you're going to have to show them some sort of end result whether that's through a test or something that you've already built so at the end of the day no matter what approach you take or what you're gonna do it's about delivering end products delivering results not about what you know now again you and I know as developers that in order to deliver the end result we need to know the language I understand that what I'm saying is when you market yourself and that's what we're talking about here when you market yourself it should pretty much never be about what languages you know it should be about what end results you can deliver and then you should have proof of that which is what your portfolio is your portfolio is proof that you can deliver this end result that's why it doesn't matter if that portfolio is filled with projects that you did for clients all that matters is does it prove that you can deliver the specific end result that you say you can and then that's why testimonials matter because that speaks to what you're like to work with okay so I want you to make this shift from Linc a language mindset to an end result mindset because ultimately a freelance business or a tech business like this is really just a collection of services that you provide you shouldn't I I don't think there's ever a good time for you to market yourself as someone who can do everything you'll make yourself miserable you like make less money than you should you should market yourself as someone who offers a very specific set of services I generally recommend three to five so you could pick as one of your things I build membership sites or you could pick as one of your things I build contact forms where you could pick as one of your things you know I build whatever I build local business websites right it's just a collection of services that you offer so you can start with one very simple one yes that's going to limit how many clients you can get how many clients want that specific thing and then that you can get as an end result but that's fine you start small with your business and then you grow it you add more services as you learn more and I highly recommend that you start smaller and get a feel for delivering for clients and getting those processes down really before you try to add a full slate of services so it's actually better as someone who's new to offer hey I only do contact forms right now and get really good at delivering that get your system down get your processes down you know get your marketing for that down get all everything that goes around it down and then once you have that down now you can go okay I'm going to add a new service and you have a lot better idea of what to do you're in a place you know workload wise you know where you can add that service and take on that more of that work okay so it takes some patience but it's a much better way to build your business and again it's all about being results minded not language not a language mindset now here's the crazier thing about all of this kind of getting back to the question of can I get clients finally no XYZ clients don't even really care how you deliver that end result not really I mean they may have some things here and there that that you know they they care about but the majority of clients probably won't even have that now I said this a few pop podcast episodes ago and I still believe it but I believe that the future of site building so ecommerce site membership site web site etc the future of site building for people like you and me will be less about code and more about tools so there will always be a place for coders let me wrong and I think there will always be value in knowing how to code but I think more and more the pure coders who really just want to dive headfirst into just coding really kind of back-end coding but even the front-end stuff a little bit I think those pure coders who just love to code and they don't not necessarily really care to care about the actual how something is used necessarily they're gonna migrate towards tool building and we've seen the growth of tools and and web development type tools I'm not just talking about tools for us things like WordPress the lot of the page builder stuff that you're starting to see and so forth now some of that stuff is not that great but slowly some of that stuff is getting to be really really good so I think the peer coders will move towards tool building like that and people like you and I who are more into putting the whole site together we will migrate towards tool using so we're going to use the tools that the coders peer coders build again there will always be value in knowing how to go in and hack up a tool yourself right like WordPress there always be a value knowing how to create your own plug-in or to create your own theme etc but I do think more and more as we go along you're going to see better and better tools created and there's going to be less and less value of coding everything from scratch it's all we're kind of already at that place a little bit it's just going to become more pronounced so my point with this is it's likely that you don't even need to know HTML and CSS to get clients you just need to know how to use certain tools to deliver that end result as a matter of fact I know some really successful developers who do really well who do just that they don't know how to code they just know how to use the tools now I'm not encouraging you to not learn how to code that's not what I'm saying what I'm saying is what I'm pointing to is that in almost every case you can probably start taking clients sooner than you think you probably need to know less than you think in order to take clients so don't let that be what holds you back can you deliver a specific end result and it really doesn't matter how you don't have to code it all from scratch yourself you can use tools to do it and if you can do that then you can market yourself as being able to do that and that's the key don't market yourself as know on all these different languages when you don't market yourself as I know how to deliver this specific end result and then just tell people front and if you're going to use tools these are the tools I used to do it and if they don't want to if they don't want to use have you use those tools then they don't have to hire you but most people aren't going to care now speaking of tools yesterday I just released another freelance template over on patreon and this one is for you and building your site and it's based on my 12 step freelance profile template which are the 12 steps that you need to go to when selling a particular service okay if you haven't watched that video go back a few videos you'll see it's 12 step freelance profile template is I think is the exact name of the the episode go back list and watch that but it's based off that template and it uses WordPress and the layers theme again tools and there's no coding required in it it's all pre-built for you I've built the whole template for you put in all the text so all you have to do is go in and change out what makes sense for the services you offer put in the the portfolio stuff but you don't have to worry about the layout the temp the colors I've made it look all nice for you you just fill in the blanks and you can get that as a supporting listener of the show over on patreon at the freelance template level so if you'd like that head on over to john morse online.com slash patreon alright everybody thanks for listening if you liked this episode be sure to like it so they know that you like this kind of content if you know somebody who'd benefit from hearing this i'd appreciate if you'd share it with them and if we haven't yet be sure to subscribe so that you never miss an episode thanks again for listening we'll talk to you next time

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  • Alberto Diego Chisilevich says:

    Your intro music is anoying ,sorry

  • Chiquito Castaneda says:

    John, thank you for very inspiring video… Chiquito…

  • Hundey FuFu says:

    Thanks for the video!

  • SquaredbyX says:

    Question is how much do I need to know to start working. What is the fastest way to start working, best things to learn first to get started working immediately,

  • Sherry Cherry says:

    Respect your thoughts…

  • Sherry Cherry says:

    Love you.

  • 김남준 says:

    I cant get client but i do know html5 css bootstrap but i really want to do freelance and earn money
    can you please give me a simple job so that i get paid by you? little will be okay but it should be easy so that i can do more.

  • Wim Van Asch says:

    Love your train of thought there. Found it a bit difficult to apply in the search of a first job because, as you said yourself, these are professionals and a good portion of them seem to have fallen in love with their technology or worse, outsource the initial hiring process to an HR person.

  • Clara Garcia says:

    hello. i just started to learn Word press Web creation. how long did it take you to learn enough to freelance.?

  • Brandon Laufer says:

    Thanks John, good video!

  • Modern Brick says:

    Amazing advice!! I was in the middle of a language overload freakout, but now I feel like I can relax and focus 😄. Thank you!!

  • Bishal Shahi Thakuri says:

    i know html, css, bootstrap , materialize, wordpress,, js , jquery and some portion of php

  • NagaHumanbeing ZooOfParticles says:

    thank you for your advice..

  • Eddie Taliaferro says:

    "NEVER GO FULL GEEK" lmfao

  • bearwithair says:

    so much fluff..get to the point. this is why i hate u youtubers. overselling & not delivering good content

  • Alvin Jaison says:

    does anyone know a website that i can start freelance web-development.

  • finkdifferently says:

    Good stuff John, that road feels slighlty less long than it did 17 minutes ago, so thank you.

    I do have a query however when you say it doesn't matter how you complete the task.. say if you design a site as to the client's demands, so that part is fine, but the code itself is a mess and makes it hard for any future developers?
    (sorry, couldn't quite frame a question out of that, so just stuck a question mark at the end of it, but hope that makes sense!)

  • Adam Tasma says:

    listening to this at 1.5 speed made this much more bearable.

  • Dragon says:

    So one of the problems I've been having is that I can create a custom site with pure html5 and css3, but then the client wants to modify the site after I am done with it. So how can I allow them to modify it, while still using pure html5 and css3?

  • Hard Truth says:

    Clients don't care if you use Photoshop or Microsoft Paint as long as you deliver

  • Hard Truth says:

    Businesses don't care what you know what they care about is what you can do for them. How can your HTML and CSS skills benefit a business? Marketing the "languages" to a business as freelancer is waste of time because most people don't know what JavaScript does vs C vs PHP and the worse thing those with a little bit of knowledge are dangerous, i.e. They hear jQuery and want jQuery even if CSS transition can do the same thing with lighter load.

  • Junior Ab says:


  • Kevin Towner says:

    Great video. I've recently decided to take the leap and dive right in, 100%, to learning what it takes to start a career in web design. I've thought a great deal about which languages I should prioritize; python, html&css, java, php, etc. The product is ultimately what matters though.

  • Ervin McMillan says:

    John, you're the best bro.

  • Video Solutions says:

    This video was on point.

  • devohnmitchell says:

    good info. I'm taking this advice

  • bassassou king says:

    5:00 that killed me X'D

  • Michael B says:

    First time here and it's awesome to hear you were in the army. I'm going to boot camp in about a month for 11B.

  • Kerry Beare says:

    for those who are fearful of getting started i suggest that you get to do a friend or neighbours small site to get experience. So you can demonstrate for real whay you have done…then show that to a new person…offer to help someone or small biz owner for low cost abd they help u get started but use them as a testimonial latr if it goes well. try a small restaurant or single owner biz..call them and offer to help them. That how i got started. I still have my first biz owner as a client. Get experience by getting started. i called up a business I saw Advetised in a local newspaper service trades ads section.

  • WhyNotEveryThing says:

    I know HTML,css, bootstrap and a little bit of jQuery. What is stopping me from becoming a freelance wordpress designer is FEAR. I fear what if I don't deliver the product the way the client needs. What if I fail and they give me a negative rating.
    Do you need to be super comfortable at the languages you know before jumping to freelancing? How much experience I need?How will I know I am ready to take the leap?

  • Oli.Vyae says:

    I'm going to get "Zooploof, Wawa ruut, and Epoof" tattooed on my left arm.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *