Age Restrictions

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#1 Dannyboy997  Icon User is offline

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Age Restrictions

Posted 20 May 2010 - 08:41 PM

Hi,

My name is Daniel and I started web development / design about 1 year ago (Professionally) and i'm wondering what would be the best approach to this.

I got turned down about 20 different times just because of my age. They don't even call back or anything.
I did have my own site that looked very nice, but no one bought it.

I'm not sure how many people would hire a 15 year old, to design their professional website.

I only got one chance at designing some ones site and that was 1 year ago, now I got two job from my uncle.
Which is going great, but after that it's going to be over.

People just don't take me serious when I tell them my age, and I even started not even mentioning my age.

As I registered my own company a couple days ago with my two brothers, for web design and other things.

So my question is:

Should I continue with Web Development, and try to get some clients?
Is there another method that I can approach?
Or, Should I take a break and start up again when i'm older?

Thanks,
Daniel

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#2 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: Age Restrictions

Posted 20 May 2010 - 08:44 PM

View PostDannyboy997, on 20 May 2010 - 09:41 PM, said:

I got turned down about 20 different times just because of my age. They don't even call back or anything.

** Serious question **

If they didn't call back, how do you know why they didn't hire you?

View PostDannyboy997, on 20 May 2010 - 09:41 PM, said:

People just don't take me serious when I tell them my age, and I even started not even mentioning my age.

Without seeing your sales pitch, or being able to see how you are trying to attract clients &/or sell your services, it's not really possible to say what you are doing wrong.

I mean, you could take a 30/40 year old middle aged adult, stick them on the street, cold calling, door knocking offices with unclean hair, unprofessional appearance, & they won't get work either.

How are you trying to land clients? How do you accept payments? What type of services are you trying to sell? When you find a potential client, how do you offer your services?

The answer to these questions could be the answer. When someone needs something done, they pay for it. I think age would be irrelevant.
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#3 nooblet  Icon User is offline

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Re: Age Restrictions

Posted 21 May 2010 - 02:10 AM

I totally agree with no2pencil. I just posted a long list of things employers look for in programmers here under post #24.Let me see what you got. I'm interested in helping. I wouldn't assume it's an age issue even though that may be a possibility. While I don't care about your age, I do care about your capabilities as a programmer. Pitch to me the way you would to them and I'll tell you whether or not I would personally hire you and maybe, hopefully that'll help you get a better grasp as to what to improve upon. Where are you located? Do you work with your friends as a team to do this together or do you do this independently too?

This post has been edited by nooblet: 21 May 2010 - 03:07 AM

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#4 Vermiculus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Age Restrictions

Posted 21 May 2010 - 05:02 AM

But don't stop programming! I started when I was only ten, and only got a job around 16. There are people out there, but try and get some clients through family; build your resume. I believe the reason your potential employers are turning you down is because you are as yet unproven; not many teenagers are very apt at anything. I know I'm not apt at anything useful-still a long way to go. But hey, that's what college is for right?

But don't take a break - it's the worst thing you could possibly do. If nobody will give you a job, do some probono work. If nobody will trust you with probono work, keep improving your own site.
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#5 dsherohman  Icon User is offline

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Re: Age Restrictions

Posted 21 May 2010 - 06:52 AM

My idealistic side says to let your work speak for itself and simply don't mention your age. You should be judged on your abilities, not your date of birth, so there should not be any reason for you to mention it. (I don't think any of my clients has ever asked my age, although I suppose that, if they cared, they could see on my CV that I graduated high school in 1989 and do the math to get an approximate age.)

Unfortunately, in the real world, my understanding is that US law does not, in general, allow minors to enter into legally-binding contracts. If you're dealing with someone who wants an actual contract, a strong argument can be made that you have an ethical (if not legal) responsibility to disclose at that point that you're a minor, or at least come up with a plausible explanation for why you need to have someone else (i.e., your parents) sign on your behalf.

And, yes, it sucks that minors are legally considered to be second-class citizens, but that's the way it is.
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#6 Dannyboy997  Icon User is offline

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Re: Age Restrictions

Posted 21 May 2010 - 12:49 PM

OK.

I like all of these explanations.


Regarding nooblet reply:


I usually just work locally for now, I live in Edmonton , Alberta Canada, which is not a very big city.
I tried to find many people to work with me but unfortunately all of the people at my school don't even know what I know, so I remain alone.


The way I pitch is the following:


1. I usually talk either in person(not very often), but mostly over the phone.
2. I ask them what kind of website they need, and do they need a logo, business cards, etc...
3. If I only have to design the site(No functionality), then I ask them what kind of details they want.
4. I drew up a couple templates that I think is a good structure for many sites. So I tell them about a couple solutions that would suite them.
5. After about 1 hour on the phone,(Many I just can't understand because of their accent) talking about the details and such. I start drawing a map for their site.
6. I now actually start coding the structure for the site.
7. I show them a draft or demo in a couple days.
8. If they want to continue then it usually takes about 5 days to complete(For just a simple Site)
9. Either they pay me through paypal or by person.


I also ask them if they want my own small CMS in their site. So that they can update their content very easily. And most of them want it, so I charge about $100 more.

I show them my skills and some of the templates that I have made for just this purpose.

But sometimes they don't care about the skills, they think i'm not qualified for this job, even after I showed them I am.


This guy thought it was illegal to do this, and didn't let me design his site. Just his business cards.


Quote

** Serious question **

If they didn't call back, how do you know why they didn't hire you?



It's because before they don't call me back, I usually tell them my age(They ask for it), then they think i'm a joke. "Isn't this Illegal to do this?", "Are you seriously 15? I'm not sure if you can design my site! I want a professional to do it."

After just one phone call (Even if I sound professional, not like people my age) they don't tell me that I didn't get the job. At least they can tell me that much instead of waiting around.

As you know, not many people my age do this type of thing. So many of my to be clients are very surprised
about this.



For my skill part:

I have been studying Php, MySQL, HTML, Javascript, and Css for about a year and a half.
I have created a site for my uncle(recently) and a couple of my own.

I can say that I am over intermediate at Php, and MySQL, and obviously Html

I bought this site a couple months ago, and it wans't doing so good, but the design and Idea was great.

So I re-programmed the entire site from scratch, which was a great experience.

Link: http://motionsharing.com

So for the skills, I can say that I do have some.



Thanks for everyone's replies,
Daniel

This post has been edited by Dannyboy997: 21 May 2010 - 12:51 PM

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#7 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: Age Restrictions

Posted 21 May 2010 - 01:23 PM

If you really are loosing clients over it, maybe I can middle man it for you...

For a nominal fee, of course :)
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#8 nooblet  Icon User is offline

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Re: Age Restrictions

Posted 21 May 2010 - 02:30 PM

Daniel,

If age is one of the primary reasons you're not getting hired, it truly is a shame because age shouldn't matter. However, base on your post, it really does seem you lack a lot of skills (this is my personal opinion).

Therefore, it really depends on the demographic and target audience you're trying to sell your skills to. If its someone who don't really understand computers and need a basic website for their business, these things don't take much. If its someone wanting you to develop a service, this on the other hand, might be over your head depending on the level of work needed.

For me personally, I have a lot of high dev requirements. That doesn't mean I'll discount you just yet. I would need to review your programming capabilities. I might be wrong and you might have enough but it's really difficult to say without you providing more info. As I mentioned in the other post, there are several things to look for. Being honest, most people with 12+ years of experience and a master degree hardly fit sometimes. So again, really depends on who's your customers are and what they are trying to achieve.
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#9 SpeedisaVirus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Age Restrictions

Posted 25 May 2010 - 07:32 AM

Because of your age I'm pretty sure even in Canada you can not enter a legal agreement. This work typically includes an agreement which means they don't want you because they can't sue you if you stiff them. If you have a parent that would handle that side it would be great, so the clients know they have an agreement and so they are more at ease knowing an adult is taking part.
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#10 foxhound_97  Icon User is offline

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Re: Age Restrictions

Posted 29 July 2010 - 11:58 PM

If people are really griping about how old you are, why not sell your services somewhere were no one knows your age?

You could for example start off by selling themes and site templates on websites like Themeforest.

You could build up a huge portfolio, and have people asking you to do custom work for them, I have seen quite a few guys get requested to do custom sites. Just an idea.
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#11 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: Age Restrictions

Posted 01 August 2010 - 11:46 PM

#1 - Don't EVER advertise your age, I don't care who asks or for what reason, they have no business knowing any more than what your skill level is and what you can do effectively.

Advertising your age is asking for discrimination straight up, no way around that. I was 15 when I got my first few jobs but I was denied quite a few as well, not because of my age but because I lacked the proper skill to complete the jobs to their liking.

At 20 I've had no problems getting jobs as I need not because of my age but because my skill is immensely better than it was when I was younger.

Let your skill speak, not your age.

#2 - Even with as much as you'd like to say it's not fair I'd recommend going serious only when you turn 18. Why? Because you're capable of far far more by that age and resources available to you grow substantially.

By the point you're considered an adult by society is ideal for jumping from spot jobs to real professionalism. The ability to declare independence is invaluable in some cases and you can take larger jobs that require tax forms and such.

At 18 you're allowed a lot more freedom period. Use your minor days to build skills, because freelancing will not pay all of your bills by a long shot at a young age as compared to working a solid job.

To put things on the level wait until you're 18 to declare professionalism and call yourself a freelancer because chances are your skills aren't up to par until about then to take jobs that are worth while.

18 for me opened quite a few doors and still people are unaware of my age for the most part (local work) but I can tell you people do the same to college students as well.

It's safe to say that revealing your age is a mistake, if someone asks merely reply "What significance does it serve to know my age if you know I am capable of performing the task in the alloted timeframe?"
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#12 CamoDeveloper  Icon User is offline

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Re: Age Restrictions

Posted 03 August 2010 - 06:32 PM

Age shouldn't mean anything, but unfortunately it does. Just keep up your work and make a portfolio to sell to potential clients. Have a business layout, sell your skills, have a plan for everything. Sell that your work is custom for each client, not a cookie cutter site and you just change the text and colors around.

[offtopic]
I broke your site when I visited it, I would make sure there is a file in the upload box before allowing the user to continue. Just a suggestion though.
[/offtopic]
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#13 Imdsm  Icon User is offline

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Re: Age Restrictions

Posted 08 August 2010 - 08:05 AM

I'm going to go about this from a different point of view than 'how old are you?' and 'can you work 9-5?' etc. All I can see of your work from your post is the domain name motionsharing.com, I'm looking at it now and going to give it a critique. If you came to me and wanted to apply for a junior position and showed me that, I would be leaning towards no. And I'm going to tell you why.

When you work as a web developer, you sometimes have to work as a designer too, and when you're a designer, you have to do more than design. You have to be a salesman, you have to sell your website, you have to be a people person and have good communication skills - and yes, when you're in a team someone else may write the copy (text), but you still need the skills. The front page of a website, or homepage as it's come to be known, is the face of your website, and a lot of times, the face of the company. It's the first thing someone will see (unless they arrive at a landing page, but the same rules apply). So it has to grab their attention!

When I go to MotionSharing, I notice that the logo seems a bit bland, and the icon next to it of a box seems cut off. I see a lot of white space, that is being unused, and barely visible grey which hurts my eyes as I try to focus on it. I'm not sure I quite agree with the font-family, it just doesn't ring right with me. Next up, there is a small lack of "attention to detail", or plainly said, intricate details. When I design, every single pixel that isn't quite right bugs me. Everything has to perfectly aligned, spaced out, and high-end employers will expect this of you, as will the clients.

The red text seems a bit IN YOUR FACE, and the text isn't vertically aligned very well, the boxes seem unchanged, and could have been styled. The button seems small and if I'm honest with you, I go straight to the site and it's asking me for two emails and a file and I have no reason why. What are you selling me? What's the deal?

The next thing is, all your writing is Written Like This Which Can Be Quite Annoying, so I would change that to more grammatically correct text. I would also remove the donate text and put that as a Donate link maybe at the bottom.

I know this may seem like I'm picking the entire site apart, but this is exactly what will go through the mind of someone reading your email about a job. They pick up the bad things, and what you want to do first before trying to show them the good things, is remove the bad things.

Now, in regards to your future, I would say stick at it, definitely. Nothing comes overnight and you're young, you're 15, you've been doing it a year - you're better than I was after doing it for a year. If you drop it now and pick it up when you're 18, you wont be good enough for a job until you're 20, or maybe older, but if you keep at it now, by the time you're old enough to buy yourself a suit and walk into their offices holding your printed portfolio, you will have all the skills necessary to get the job you want!

At the age of 15, you should be looking towards personal projects (as you seem to be doing), but something I recommend is having a site just for designs, don't worry about the content too much, but buy yourself a pad of paper and write down on it some ideas. Whatever you first think, so.. COFFEE SHOP.. and then write down a few bullet points about this make believe shop, just get yourself an imaginary client. Once you have the info, start to design the site, either doodle on paper or in photoshop. Pick out some colours, I find 2 main colours and 1 greyish colour works well as a theme. Then design the site, try to work on your sales skills (maybe buy a few books), and then once the site is done, (in html), save it and upload it to your directory of designs, and start another. Do one a week, and then in a few months time when you have 12 sites, you can look back at the first one, and you WILL see changes. Then think about another 2 years, how good will you be then?

Good luck!!!

P.S, also, I wrote this from an employer point of view as your original post made it sound like you was going for jobs, not so much waiting for clients to get back to you. I then decided to read everyone else's 20 cents which is when I saw you're actually freelancing.

One thing you have to realise is that when someone buys something, they look around. They will ask you for a quote (price) and they will ask 10 other designers for one too. Then they will pick who they feel gives them the best price and feel. Don't take it personally when they turn you down!

Also, I would advise against spending too much time making them a template before they pay anything, people take this for granted, but for you it's an entire evening of yours devoted to their pleasure. Sure, in some jobs you can afford to do this - companies often do this to try and win a contract - but as a freelancer, you have to show them your shop window and let them make a decision. I used to work with a 50/50 approach to payment. 50% up front, and 50% when done. That way you share the risk.

Remember, nothing is personal from 9-5. I wouldn't pay a 15 year old to do a job for me, because in business, I'd prefer someone older and more responsible. But would I work on a project with a 15 year old wonderkid? Of course!

Business is about the best choices, and you really are walking the tightrope employing 'children' (no offence)!

Work on your skills, set up a portfolio, and plan to find work in a few years.

Good luck!

This post has been edited by Imdsm: 08 August 2010 - 08:23 AM

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#14 moopet  Icon User is offline

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Re: Age Restrictions

Posted 08 August 2010 - 08:38 AM

I know this is wandering off topic to something more of a site critique, but I (in the guise of a prospective client) just went to that site, and I'll give you my impressions. It looks clean and nice, but it doesn't work. It says both emails aren't required, so I stuck in any old file from my hd (a non-working a.out, as it happens) and clicked the button. It then told me that my email address was in error but let me go to the download page. I clicked download, and I am now the proud owner of someone else's powerpoint presentation on the Alaskan Ice Festival. If I was looking for a potential company to do my site, I'd have skipped to the next one at this point.

Back more on topic, age discrimination is rife in IT. Also sex discrimination: every company full of male geeks wants to employ the hot chick, but expects her to be no good at the job anyway. Anyone below 25 is inexperienced and anyone over 35 is past it. It's sad but true.

What you do is not reveal these details. I'd stop calling customers by phone. It's hard not to let anything slip out, and your voice may sound young too. The only ones you're likely to get like that are local companies who don't have much of a clue about the net. Make a professional-looking email proposal and target specific companies that way. You can also sidestep awkward questions more easily in an email. Consider:
"Just how old are you anyway, kid?"
"As a web professional I have been responsible for all this sweet code..."
That's easier to pull off in a mass of text than when someone's cornering you in a conversation.
Maybe see if you can get an internship somewhere (I think that's the term) working for nothing or expenses, just to get solid experience under your belt.

This post has been edited by moopet: 08 August 2010 - 08:40 AM

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#15 Dannyboy997  Icon User is offline

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Re: Age Restrictions

Posted 08 August 2010 - 10:38 AM

Thanks for all of the responses!

A. For the site motionsharing.com, as some of you gave me some pointers. This site was just a test, and nothing else. I did not design the site. I just made the functionality.

B. I have decided to get my brother into web design, as he tried it and he loved it from the start. I didn't think he would be into this niche but I guess I was wrong.

He's 18, so the age problem is not that big of an issue. As he will be the peoples person. Hes good at it. He will also help design the sites.

He will just say that 'We' will design their site, so they know that there is more than one person that will work on the project.

About Imdsm's said, of making lots of templates.
That's what I started doing. Me and my brother are making more and more. After I saw the first one that I made, I was surprised that my templates got better by 150%.

I do agree with every one that says to get experience under my belt. Which is why I'm making websites for family, just to get that experience, and work into my portfolio.

I made a site for me and my brother, for our freelancing thing(Not really freelancing).
Tell me what you think about the site, I won't be offended.

URL: http://hydrocodedesign.com

The design is not perfect, and the left sidebar is not done. The text in the image on the front page, will be worked on, as it doesn't really fit, and the text really needs to be worked on.

Some links don't fully work. And we took out the sub menu, because of some weird glitch, that I'm working on. Tell me if my color choice is good or not.


Thanks,
Daniel
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