13 Tips From Designers Who Make $100,000+ As A Freelancer

If you want to make a good living as a designer, it’s time to take your skills seriously. You can’t get by on “I like the design!” alone. When clients ask for help with their websites or apps, they need someone who knows what they are doing and has experience designing the projects they want.

Asking questions like “How do I get started?” or “What should I do next?” won’t get you far without some concrete answers. But there are plenty of resources available to help designers learn best practices and meet new people in their industry these tips will give you an idea of what’s out there.

How to Make Big Money as Freelance Designer – YouTube
Key Takeaways
1. Learn from Successful Designers’ Experiences
2. Embrace Continuous Learning and Skill Improvement
3. Cultivate a Strong Personal Brand
4. Set Clear Goals and Create a Business Plan
5. Network Strategically and Build Relationships
6. Price Your Services Competitively
7. Offer Value-Added Services to Clients
8. Streamline Your Workflow for Efficiency
9. Focus on High-Quality Deliverables
10. Prioritize Effective Communication
11. Manage Time Effectively and Avoid Burnout
12. Seek Feedback and Be Open to Improvement
13. Embrace Flexibility and Adapt to Market Changes

1. Be Aware That Being A Freelancer Is A Business

It’s easy to think that freelancing is a hobby or a side project, especially when you’re just starting. But it’s important to understand the business side of things as well. Your time and effort have value, so make sure you understand what your costs are and how much of that value clients will cover in their contract with you. 

It can be tempting to go cheap on certain expenses (like your workspace) if they don’t seem immediately necessary; however, this might mean losing money in the long run because clients will not trust that you’re worth what they’re paying for.

For example: Let’s say I charge $60 per hour for my design services and I have 50 hours left this month before being paid by my client in full what’s my break-even point? Well…it depends! If I’m making $450 per week at 40 hours/week and there are 4 weeks left until payment comes through, then yes but only barely! 

For me to keep working full-time without taking vacations or sick days off work during those 4 weeks prior with no extra income coming into play until after those dates pass when I’ll get paid then yes but only barely!

When conducting a marketing research project, it’s essential to gather data effectively. Learn about the strategies I used in my own research in the article on collecting data for marketing research projects.

2. Don’t Be Afraid To Take On Big Projects Or Clients

Don’t be afraid to take on big projects or clients. Many freelancers worry about taking on large projects, but when it comes down to it, the more you can learn and the higher level of client you work with, the better your portfolio will look. This is especially true for designers who want to break into new industries like tech and advertising.

Don’t be afraid to ask for more money! If you’ve delivered high-quality work on time and in the budget (which should be every project), then there’s no reason not to ask for a raise or at least some kind of compensation beyond just being paid a flat rate. As long as your clients are happy with their products, they’ll likely be happy with what they pay you too!

3. Network, Network, Network

Networking is critical to your success as a freelancer. However, it’s not limited to in-person events or even just with other designers. You can network online and with people who aren’t designers too!

One way we’ve been able to grow our careers by networking is by joining Facebook groups for our favorite companies. This allows us to stay up-to-date with their news, which gives us opportunities to help them out when they need design work done on their social media pages or websites.

We’ve also connected with people who work at companies that are hiring junior designers through those same Facebook groups and now, I’m working at the company where all of my connections lead back up!

Market research plays a crucial role in business decisions, but it’s not always flawless. Discover the reasons behind the challenges in our discussion on why market research can be broken.

4. Find Your Niche

Find your niche and focus on it: It’s important to understand that not all clients need the same thing. What works for one client may not work for another, so it’s important to find what makes sense for you. What are your strengths?

Not trying to be all things to all people: If you try to be a jack of all trades, chances are you’ll master none of them. You will get overwhelmed by the amount of work and lose time trying to deliver something mediocre across different industries or disciplines.

Being a master at one thing: Become an expert in something specific rather than trying everything under the sun and failing at each one.

5. Make Sure You Have A Strong Portfolio

When you’re a designer who makes six figures per year, it can be hard to remember that not everyone has quite the same skillset. So make sure you have a good portfolio that shows off your best work but also showcases the variety of things that you can do.

If you’re only doing one thing (like designing logos), this might be trickier than if all of your work is varied (like designing websites). But there’s always something else to showcase even if it’s just some side projects or personal projects.

It’s important to show off your skills and abilities so clients know what they’re getting into when they hire you. You want them to be confident in how well-rounded and capable of handling their project as possible before agreeing on terms and paying for your services.

You should also try including some examples of personal projects or side projects in case someone wants to see something more than just client work from you it could give potential clients an idea about why they should work with you over other designers who may not have anything else up on their profiles!

Dive into a comprehensive account of conducting market research on a budget. Discover how I dedicated a year to it without breaking the bank in the post about a year of conducting free market research.

6. Market Yourself On Social Media (Facebook And Instagram Ads Can Be Affordable)

If you’re a graphic designer, it’s important to market yourself so that prospective clients can find you. The more people who know about your work, the easier it will be for clients to reach out and hire you. Luckily, there are lots of ways to market your business without spending much money especially if you use Facebook and Instagram ads!

Facebook advertising lets you target specific audiences based on location or interests they’ve selected in their profiles (like “Photography” or “Art”). And Instagram lets advertisers target users based on their interests (like tagging themselves in a similar photo) or hobbies using hashtags (#). 

These platforms are easy-to-use tools that allow businesses like yours access to millions of potential customers at an affordable price point; plus they’re constantly evolving with new features designed specifically for small businesses like yours!

7. Create A Web Site That Showcases Your Portfolio And Services

If you want to make $100,000+ as a freelance designer, then you’re going to need a website. The word “web” is short for “World Wide Web” which means that your site can be accessed from anywhere in the world which is exactly what clients will want if they have something big planned for their brand or business. 

A professional-looking site not only helps build trust with potential clients but also gives them peace of mind knowing that they are dealing with a professional. It’s also important that your website is mobile-friendly; after all most people access websites using their phones these days so it’s best if yours looks good on both desktop and mobile screens! Make sure it includes things like:

  • Portfolio showcasing your work (so people can see how awesome you are)
  • Contact form (so people can get in touch with you)
  • Privacy Policy – Terms Of Service – Blog (so people know what inspires/motivates/inspires/motivates YOU) – FAQ section (because one thing we all love is not having questions answered by others 😉 )

8. Create An Elevator Pitch For Yourself And Your Work

If you’re having trouble explaining your work to potential clients, it’s time to create an elevator pitch. This is a quick statement that explains what you do and why it’s important. It should be no longer than two minutes, which leaves enough room for the conversation to continue if prospects are interested in learning more about your services.

Here are some examples of good elevator pitches:

  • “I’m a designer who specializes in creating effective user interfaces for mobile apps.”
  • “I’m a web developer who specializes in creating responsive websites using HTML5 and CSS3.”
  • “I’m a graphic designer specializing in branding design.”

Once you’ve got an idea of how to create your elevator pitch, here are some tips on how best to deliver it:

Marketing research comes in various types, each serving specific purposes. Explore the diverse landscape of research methods in the article covering 16 types of marketing research and their importance.

9. Always Be Learning New Skills And Keeping Up With The Trends In Your Field

  • Be a lifelong learner
  • Learn new skills and techniques
  • Keep up with trends in the industry.
  • Be aware of upcoming changes in the industry.

There are always new things to learn and improve on, so make sure to keep an eye out for them! This will not only help you stay current but also help you grow your business by helping you add value and meet client needs.

10. Up-Sell Yourself At Every Opportunity (Upsell = More Services Or Value, Not Necessarily More Cost)

Up-selling is a great way to make more money as a freelancer. It’s not just about selling more work, either it’s about adding value and creating relationships with clients.

“Up-selling isn’t always about price,” says designer Kelly Brabazon Smith, who works under the name KBS Designs. “You can upsell by adding extra services or products without actually raising your hourly rate.” For example, she might add another hour of design time to one of her projects instead of charging more per hour. 

Or she might offer different types of designs for the client’s project to have multiple looks with slightly different features and price points all while keeping her hourly rate consistent!

11. Know What You’re Worth And Price Accordingly, But Consider Bundling Services To Boost Perceived Value

Knowing what you’re worth and pricing services accordingly is a necessity. But, you don’t want to overcharge for your services or underprice them.

To make sure that you’re getting paid for your skills and experience as a freelancer, it’s important to consider bundling services together. This can help increase the perceived value of what you do, which will lead to more money in your pocket at the end of each project.

Here are some ways that we’ve seen designers increase perceived value:

  • Create brand identity by designing logos, business cards, and other collateral materials
  • Create content marketing material such as blog posts or social media graphics (that includes Facebook cover photos)

12. Set Clear Expectations For Clients Regarding Costs, Deadlines, Deliverables, Etc.

As a designer, you need to set the expectation of what will be delivered, how long it will take, and how much it will cost. Make sure that you can cover your costs plus make a profit on each project. 

This is important because if a client wants something done for free then they are going to expect it to look like crap or take forever and if they want something done with quality and in a short amount of time then they’re going to have to pay for those services accordingly.

13. Make Sure You’re Able To Cover Your Costs Plus Make A Profit On Each Project

Make sure you’re able to cover your costs plus make a profit on each project. Know your break-even point when quoting projects. If you’re unsure of how to calculate this, find an accountant who can help you figure it out at the start of the freelancing journey vs finding out when it’s too late! Calculate indirect costs such as travel, software, etc as well as direct costs of materials/services used for each project

If you’re interested in market research, you’ll be glad to know it can be done on a budget. Learn how to get started with cost-effective strategies in our guide on conducting market research for free.

Final Thoughts

The takeaway from this article is that you don’t have to be a designer to make six figures as a freelancer. If you’re passionate about something and willing to put in the work, it’s possible. Just like any other business venture, there will be ups and downs. But if you want it bad enough and are willing to learn as you go along, then it’s possible for anyone who dreams of making money doing what they love.

Further Reading

Explore these additional resources to enhance your knowledge:

Making Money as a Graphic Designer: Learn innovative strategies to boost your income in the graphic design industry.

13 Tips to Become a Freelance Superstar: Unlock expert advice on becoming a successful freelancer and standing out in the competitive market.

10 Proven Ways to Make Money Easily as a Freelancer: Discover practical methods to increase your earnings and achieve success in your freelance career.

People Also Ask

How Much Money Can I Make As A Freelancer?

Freelancers have the freedom to choose their hours and work from home, but they also have to be self-motivated. Because of this, many people who start as freelancers find that they’re not suited for it. 

If you’re considering going down this path, make sure you ask yourself: are there other aspects of my life that would suffer if I decided to become a freelancer? Are there times when I need motivation and support from others? 

Could I handle working alone for long periods without breaks or even talking to anyone else? If the answers are yes and again, only if the answers are yes then maybe being a freelance designer is for you!

What Is The Difference Between Being A Freelancer And Being An Employee?

Employees have full-time jobs that have set hours and tasks assigned by their manager (or boss). They work with other employees who do similar things as well. They don’t usually work on projects individually unless they’re part of a small team within their company. In contrast, freelancers own their businesses and are responsible for every aspect of running them from securing clients to marketing themselves to creating amazing designs that wow their customers!

How Long Does It Take To Become Successful?

It depends on how much time you dedicate yourself each day/week/month but generally speaking it might take anywhere from 6 months up until 2 years depending on your experience level beforehand and how persistent you are about getting better at what matters most: 

Design skillsets like typography & layout design along with business knowledge such as marketing strategy planning with customers toward building relationships over time into long term partnerships which will lead them back again later next year for repeat orders every season – 

Always improving upon quality standards over time so once satisfied customers recommend us outwards again because they know we’ll deliver results consistently every single year since our reputation has been built upon trustworthiness & reliability through teamwork efforts both inside our team but also outside among friends who contribute ideas during brainstorming sessions which makes us stronger together than apart alone.”

I’ve Been Thinking About Becoming A Freelancer For A While, But I’m Not Sure How To Get Started. What Should I Do First?

If you’re serious about leaping, your first step should be creating a website that describes your skills, past work experience, and contact information. You can use WordPress or Squarespace to create a simple one-page site in no time at all. Once it’s life, start sharing it with friends and family ideally people who have used freelancers before (they’ll be great sources of feedback).

How Do I Find Clients In My Niche?

It’s important not to sell yourself short when it comes time to talk rates or projects with potential clients: if you’re asked for too low of an hourly rate by someone else working within the same field as you are (i.e., illustration), then stick to your guns and make sure what they’re offering is worth accepting before committing any further than that initial conversation! 

It may seem difficult at times but just remember: everyone deserves fair compensation for their work so don’t feel guilty about asking for what works best for both parties involved; this also applies when negotiating terms such as deadlines/deadlines extensions/changes

What Is The Best Way To Find Clients?

This can be tricky as there are a lot of factors that go into this, but ultimately it’s about building relationships and connections with people who can refer you to other people. This could be your friends, family, or even just anyone in your network who has connections within their networks.

How Do I Price My Services?

Pricing can be really hard because it’s so subjective and differs from client to client (and even project to project), but it helps if you have an idea of what other designers charge their clients for similar work before you start working with them on projects together to develop some sort of baseline.

The pricing structure that works well for both parties involved without being too high or too low relative compared against competing firms within the same market segment/specialty area related field can help avoid overpricing yourself out during negotiations.

Also ensuring fair compensation if the need arises later down the road when otherwise unforeseen circumstances arise unexpectedly during those initial stages when negotiating contract agreement terms themselves prior signing off final documents required

Completing finalizing process successfully finishing project finding mutual satisfaction among all parties involved making sure everyone gets what they want most importantly where both sides win most importantly getting paid fairly.

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