Spec projects are projects done for free for others or yourself. At the Refresh Phoenix meeting this topic was brought up and the general opinion of Refreshers was that you shouldn’t do spec projects. It seems most people don’t like to do spec projects because they’re too busy. If they did a spec project it would take time away from their current client work. Spec projects should be done to help you get more work. If you’re already too busy as it is then a spec project seems pointless.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for work, a spec project could be a great way to attract clients. The best spec projects are usually projects done for yourself. You can add the project to your portfolio and it’s usually a lot funner then work you would do for someone else. The only problem with doing a spec project for yourself is making sure people see it. People that come to your site will see your portfolio anyway so you need to publicize your project to make sure it is noticed. A common spec project I’ve seen more people doing lately is creating a WordPress template. Lots of people use WordPress and their are a few sites you can submit your template to that showcase WordPress templates. Anyone who uses the template will have a link back to your site and lots of people will see it.
The benefit of doing spec work for others is that it guarantees others will see your work. The people you do the work for should provide a link back to your site or some sort of recognition and they are more likely to refer you the next time someone asks them about a web designer.
This whole week I’m going to be discussing a different subject that was brought up at the Refresh meeting. James Archer did a great job and I really liked the way he used questions from the audience to move the discussion along. Thanks James, I had an awesome time.