How to Start a Successful Freelance Graphic Design Business
Going freelance is something that carries potential and risk in equal measure. Saying goodbye to your stable and secure nine-to-five graphic design job is scary, but on the flip side, you could find more success and freedom by going at it alone as a freelancer.
Working for yourself rather than for a company could give you creative freedom, the chance to earn more money, and the ability to work to your own schedule. It is not guaranteed that you will make a success of it, but as long as you have belief, and come prepared to put the work in, there is no limit to the success you could enjoy.
Freelance graphic designers are in huge demand right now, so much so that the number of designers moving into freelancing is increasing by the month. If you think freelancing could be for you, take a look at a few tips we have put together.
Create a Portfolio Website to Showcase Your Work
To attract clients, you will need to show off your talents. If you have project work that you can showcase from your previous employment or just some stuff you have done off your own back, you need a portfolio website to showcase it.
Nobody will hire you on a whim and will want some kind of proof that you know what you are doing. An online portfolio will let you do this, and it does not even have to cost much to create. In fact, website building platforms such as Wix will let you design and host a portfolio site for free. All you need to worry about is finding, registering and paying for a domain name, and Wix offers those services as well.
As you pick up new clients, you can add to this portfolio so that it is easier to attract work in the future.
Use Popular Freelancing Sites to Pick Up Customers
To pick up freelancing gigs, your best bet is to use trustworthy freelancing sites. The obvious names include UpWork, Fiverr, People Per Hour, and Freelancer, but you will find many others that offer you the ability to find graphic design work too.
These sites will take a commission out of the work you provide, so always bear that in mind when placing bids or negotiating a price for your work. Additionally, with little feedback or history on your profiles, it could take a little time before you regularly pick up gigs. That said, offering your services at lower than normal prices is a great way to build this up in the early stages.
Spend Time on Outreach
Another way to source graphic design work is to spend a bit of time doing outreach. Use the internet to identify websites and businesses you think you could improve with your services. Get contact emails from as many websites as possible and use email outreach software to send out bulk emails offering your services.
Try not to be too spammy with this. Personalise the emails and to ensure they showcase your abilities. Plus, you can outreach at graphic design websites to see if they might want some help from a freelance designer.
The best way to ensure you get frequent work is to make sure the work you do is of the highest standard. A happy client is likely to come back to you or recommend you to friends. Not meeting the expectations of a client is a surefire way to ensure this does not happen!
Go the extra mile by over-delivering work, throwing in something for free, and generally just performing to high standards will stand you in good stead throughout your freelance career.
Get Testimonials for Your Portfolio Website
Testimonials are important because they give proof of the quality of your work and ensure potential clients that it is not risky to hire you. If a client is over the moon with the work you have completed for them, they will not mind taking the time to write a quick testimonial. You can place this on your portfolio website with a link back to the client’s website. That link could benefit the client in terms of SEO and generating leads, while you get the benefit of a traceable testimonial for future clients to read.
Never fake testimonials or write your own without the permission of whom it is meant. Future clients may check the validity of the testimonial, which will upset both them and the companies you claim they were from.
Have What it Takes?
Freelancing is not for everyone. It has drawbacks and positives and will suit some more than others. If you do feel ready to take that leap, hopefully the advice above will go some way to helping you. With some hard work, consistent quality, and a steely determination, before long you could have the connections and clients to ensure you rarely have to go looking for work at all – it will come to you!
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