Going freelance is an act of independence. It allows for the liberty of working from your living room couch, lounging in your finest dinosaur pajamas with an ice-cream bowl at hand. It is the freedom of working on a huge project while singing along to your favorite songs really, really loud. Going freelance is also an act of empowerment that gives you the satisfaction of knowing that every cent you made is the direct result of your own hard work and sharp skills. In other words, going freelance means being your own boss, which is both liberating and empowering, but also not the easiest path to take.
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Define Your Goals.
Without clearly defined, easily measurable goals, you’re going to have a very difficult time getting to where you want to go.
- Is freelancing a path to just earning extra income on the side of your day job?
- Do you eventually want to become a full-time freelancer because of the lifestyle benefits of being your own boss?
- Or, are you looking to use freelancing as a stepping stone to eventually achieving a different goal entirely?
“Only once you know where you want freelancing to take you, can you become successful.”
Self-branding is key
Some newly-freelance graphic designers feel that their portfolio is unsatisfactory for the kind of jobs they want and that they are compelled to add work on personal projects before even looking for their first jobs. But if you’re as well-trained and professional as we know you to be, remember that your portfolio grows with experience, and that’s fine.
A sharp online presence is a must for getting the clients and projects you want. Create a personal website that has more to offer than just your work uploaded by category. A good portfolio should be the foundation of your branding efforts and the way you introduce yourself to potential clients.
Your freelance portfolio needs to do the following, in order to be truly effective at selling your services:
- Communicate the specialty & display examples of your work.
- List your contact information & show off your personality.
- Highlight your relevant skills, education, and accomplishments.
- Display testimonials (even if they’re from coworkers or former bosses when you’re just getting started).
- Have regular updates that show your evolution, new clients, and updated sample work.
“Your portfolio website is a destination to demonstrate your expertise.”
A logo for a graphic designer is not mandatory, but don’t type your name in Arial font at the top of your paperwork or business card. Whether it’s an actual logo, an icon or some other creative interpretation, make your skills stand out across all platforms.
Creating Your Own Personal Brand
I’m a firm believer that you’re developing a personal brand for yourself in everything you do. Deciding to start a freelance business and tie your name to the work you do for a broad range of clients, is one of the best ways to start getting your name out into your industry.
“You’re developing a personal brand for yourself in everything you do.”
GOOGLE IS DESIGN IDEAS
Use Google as an idea not to copy the design as it is. It will help you make a new design. Dribbble is also a google platform to see new designs and ideas.
USE MOCKUPS FOR PRESENTATION
Keep reading and learning so you can reach the latest trends & mockups for your design presentation. Even after the completion of any formal training, keep reading about the new design tools and applications that launch.
It gives an insight into the industry changes, makes you more confident and gives clients a better impression if you are updated with the latest innovations in the design field.
When you’ve got your trio of refined designs, it’s time to touch base with the client. Designers are often hesitant to reveal their ideas to clients before they have been perfected, but checking in with the client at this stage will actually save you a lot of heartache and time down the line.
The cheapest prize better quality
Freelance work is by definition much more fluid and dynamic than a nine-to-five job. You could be overloaded with work for several months and then scratching for any gig you can find for the following months. It’s common for workers to come and go in cycles and it’s nothing to worry about.
You need to give back to those who have given it to you. Work for love and charity instead of money sometimes. Well, this should not happen all the time because it is going to be a burden on you, but once in a while, do some free work for someone or an organization, and make sure it’s great.
Everyone needs to stay connected always. You need people to get to the top and people also need you to get to the top. No matter how stern and straight forward you are with your clients, remember not to burn the bridges between. You will always need your clients. You need to understand the thin line between knowing when to fire your clients and when to keep the bridge between.
You don’t ever want to undersell your work, and you don’t ever want to work for free. You’ve worked hard to get to where you are and the designs you create are likely going to be used for a while. Establish a minimum amount for each type of project you think you’ll end up doing (logo design, brochure design, etc).
Hunt for clients
You can’t really call yourself a freelance graphic designer if you don’t have any clients to design for. So, where are they supposed to come from?
“Choose freelance clients that’ll help you get to where you want to go.”
The Internet is a magical place where you can make connections around the world in a split second. Here are a few thoughts on how to make those connections
Hiring managers use LinkedIn to search for candidates. Startup companies may be looking for someone to make them a new logo, or a local business may want their website redesigned. Keep your LinkedIn up-to-date, link your portfolio, and list relevant skills. If someone lands on your page, you’re going to want to make a good impression.
But don’t just use LinkedIn – use them all. There’s no such thing as putting yourself out there too much!
Make a work-related Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These platforms make it easy to learn who the influencers in the graphic design industry are and can help you keep up with the latest trends.
There are actually some social platforms made specifically for designers, like Behance or Dribbble. Hop on those and follow some design influencers, learn new techniques, ask for advice, display your work, and maybe run into an employer.
Finding clients as a freelancer isn’t the easiest thing to do in person. Thankfully, some people were smart enough to put together a few freelance platforms made just for freelancers and clients to communicate and work with one another.