You’ve decided to start a freelance career in graphics design. You are equipped with a computer and a creative mind, but you don’t know where to begin or what tools to use.
This guide will help you get started by giving you an overview of what being a freelancer is like, along with tips on staying organized, maintaining client relationships, and more.
|1. Plan your financial stability.
|2. Build a strong online portfolio.
|3. Define your niche and target audience.
|4. Set clear goals and milestones.
|5. Research and set competitive pricing.
|6. Create a professional brand identity.
|7. Master time management skills.
|8. Cultivate effective communication.
|9. Network and collaborate with others.
|10. Keep learning and adapting.
1. You Are A Business
As you start your freelancing business, you are not just working for yourself. You are also a business. So, it is important to set boundaries and define roles that will help you be successful in your new career.
When setting boundaries, make sure they are clear and consistent. Do not allow work to infiltrate your personal life; this is an important step in protecting yourself from burnout or feeling overwhelmed by the demands of the job. It will also help keep your clients happy because they know what to expect from you and vice versa!
It is best if you can set regular office hours so that clients know when they can expect responses from you (and when they shouldn’t). This will ensure that nothing falls through the cracks!
Learning how to become a successful freelance graphic designer doesn’t have to involve unnecessary risks. Our guide on becoming a freelance graphic designer without taking on any risk provides valuable insights on minimizing challenges while pursuing your creative passions.
2. Stop Chasing The Dream Of The Perfect Client
While it’s important to be aware of what you are chasing, don’t chase the dream of the perfect client. A client who is always on time and pays right away with no questions asked is a myth. You will not be a perfect client to every designer either, so don’t expect them to be perfect either!
Perfection is a myth; nobody is ever going to be 100% satisfied with your work or theirs. Your goal should go beyond just doing your job well you want your clients happy, so make sure you put in extra effort when necessary (and let them know).
3. Set Your Goals And Expectations
You are a Business. You need to realize that you are running a business, not just doing something for fun. Try to set yourself up with goals and expectations going forward so you can be successful in your business ventures. Remember the second mouse gets the cheese! Stop Chasing The Dream of the Perfect Client
It’s important to remember that there is no perfect client or customer out there. Instead of wasting your time looking for this person, focus on providing great work at a fair price to everyone who comes along.
This will help ensure that you won’t be left with any bad feelings about any one particular client or project when it’s over, which could potentially lead down an unhealthy path farther into your career as a graphic designer freelancer
As a freelance designer, continuous improvement is key to staying ahead. Explore these 15 ways to become a better freelance designer and unlock strategies to enhance your skills, creativity, and overall success in the design industry.
4. Remember The Second Mouse Gets The Cheese
You may be tempted to rush into things, but remember that the second mouse will get the cheese. You’re not the first person to do something. You don’t have to be the best at it either, so don’t let this affect your self-esteem.
Focus on what you can control, which is your time and effort put into learning new skills and improving your existing ones.
If you find yourself getting frustrated because someone else is doing something faster or better than you are, keep in mind that this is not necessarily a reflection of your own ability or talent just because they got there first doesn’t mean they had a head start over anyone else; maybe they just worked harder than others did!
#The key is not to give up
If you have been following along with this blog, then you know how important it is to keep going even when things get tough. There will always be another day tomorrow and another opportunity to work hard on your craft and improve yourself as a person.
5. Keep Your Work Space Clean And Organized
To be a successful freelancer, you must have a clean and organized workspace. Keeping your workspace clean will help you focus on the task at hand. It can also help with minimizing distractions and avoiding unnecessary mistakes. Here are some tips on how to keep your work area organized:
Keep only the materials that are necessary for design work in your workspace. If there are items that aren’t related to design, move them away from your workspace. This will help minimize clutter and also make it easier for you to find what you need when needed.
Keep all necessary documents in one place so that they are easy for others (such as clients) to access when needed them sent via email or uploaded onto a cloud storage service such as Dropbox or Google Drive
Starting your journey in graphics design freelancing? Remember these 15 things to keep in mind as you embark on this exciting career path, ensuring a smooth and productive transition into the world of freelance design.
6. Don’t Feel Like You Have To Say Yes To Every Offer
In the beginning, you’re going to get tons of offers for design jobs. You might be tempted to accept them all because you need the work. But that could be the worst thing you do as a freelancer!
Don’t feel like you have to say yes to every proposal or project that comes your way just because someone wants your services. You need to take control of your schedule and make sure that it matches up with what you want out of life.
If someone wants a job done on such short notice that there is no way it will leave any room for other commitments (especially if they are long-term), don’t do it!
You may also find yourself in situations where clients change their minds about how much work they want to be done after accepting bids from different designers this happens more often than people think!
If this happens, let them know right away so they can go back through their bids and pick another designer who has enough time available without sacrificing their own needs first before agreeing upon anything else
7. Keep Learning!
As a graphic designer, you will always be learning. There will always be new tools to learn. So don’t stop learning! The more you learn, the more valuable you become to your clients, and the more they will want to work with you.
If you stay stagnant and don’t keep up with the times, then yeah, I’m sure there is still a market for people who only know how to use Photoshop or Illustrator from when those programs first came out (you know who I’m talking about), but if you want longevity as a freelancer?
Then it’s important that you’re always learning new things not just for yourself but for your clients too!
The best part about this is that it works both ways: not only does staying current show them that their money is well spent on keeping up with industry standards so that their business doesn’t fall behind its competitors (which could lead them straight out of business), but also because it shows them how much time and effort goes into creating graphic design work nowadays (and how long it took).
That might sound like an inconvenience “I don’t want my client seeing how long these projects take!” However what happens when they see how long *certain* projects take? For example…
8. Charge What You’re Worth
This doesn’t mean that you should charge a lot of money to do graphics, but it does mean that if your time is valuable and you know how much other people are charging, don’t undervalue yourself.
You deserve to be paid for all the work that goes into doing graphics, so don’t be afraid to negotiate with potential clients when they offer less than what you’re looking for.
If a client offers a price lower than what other designers are charging in your area, tell them why their price is low and let them know that there are many other design options available that may have a better rate for them.
Or if they offer a higher amount than what others in your area charge, ask why theirs is higher and see if there’s room for negotiation on either side of this number (depending on whether or not the client has an issue with paying more).
Misconceptions about working for design agencies can cloud your judgment. Our article on top 15 misconceptions about working for a design agency addresses common myths and reveals the realities of agency life, helping you make informed career choices.
9. Don’t Compare Your Beginning With Someone Else’s Middle Or End.
It is easy to get discouraged when you see someone who has been freelancing for years and seems to be doing better than you. You might feel that they have a leg up on the competition, or maybe you think they are just “better” at graphic design. But remember: comparing yourself to others is only going to hold you back from achieving your goals.
Instead of focusing on someone else’s success, focus on yours! Think about what it takes for them to be where they are now and use that information as motivation rather than discouragement.
10. Set A Schedule And Stick To It!
It’s important to set a schedule and stick to it. That way, you can figure out what time of day is best for you and make sure your clients know when they should be contacting you.
Do not over-commit yourself! This is one of the easiest ways to burn out and lose all motivation for working on any kind of creative project.
Take breaks! Your brain will thank you for them later. It might take some practice, but try taking small breaks every hour or two instead of marathon sessions every day (unless it’s an emergency).
11. Create A Portfolio Of Your Best Work (And Update It Often)
Before you start taking on freelance jobs, it’s important to build up a portfolio of your best work. You can do this by creating an online portfolio or a physical one.
Either way, be sure that you are only showcasing the best of what you have done in the past. Also, update your portfolio often so that people always see your latest creations and don’t think that you are stuck in the past.
You should also add a call-to-action button on all pages within your portfolio. This will allow visitors who like what they see an easy way to get in touch with you and hire you for their next project!
12. Be Professional At All Times. Even When It Feels Unnecessary
When you’re a freelancer, you’ll be working on many different projects and with many different clients.
Each client will have their own set of rules regarding how they work together with an outside contractor and while those rules might seem strict to the point of being overly controlling or even downright annoying.
It’s important that you follow them carefully because that’s how your client wants their business done (and if they don’t like the way their business gets done by someone else, then why would they want to do business with someone else?).
Make sure everything you do for your clients is detailed and precise so there are no misunderstandings about what exactly was agreed upon between the two parties involved in this agreement/contractual relationship/whatever terminology floats your boat here…
13. Get Help When You Need It But Don’t Depend On Anyone
When you’re new to freelancing, it’s easy to feel like you need someone else there to guide you through the process. You might even have a friend or family member who offers to help.
But when this happens, remember that it is not a sign of weakness or failure it’s actually a sign of strength!
That means that if someone else offers assistance, take advantage of it! Ask questions, ask for advice and get help when needed!
14. Keep Track Of All Income And Expenses
When you are freelancing, you should keep track of all your income and expenses. It’s important to know what you have earned each month so that you can manage your finances better.
It’s also wise to set aside some money for taxes at the end of each year because once a year, the government will come knocking on your door asking for their share!
If you do not want to do the bookkeeping yourself or hire an accountant because it is too expensive (or if this is not even an option), there are many apps available that can help with accounting tasks such as Quickbooks Self-Employed (QBSE).
This app helps with keeping track of all business expenses (including mileage) as well as calculating tax returns based on industry-specific algorithms developed by accountants who know how much they should be charged each quarter depending on how much money was brought in during any given period.
Transitioning from a full-time job to freelancing requires careful planning. Discover the insights shared in how I went from working full-time to being a freelance graphic designer to learn from real experiences and gain valuable tips on navigating this professional shift.
15. Freelancing Is An Incredible Way To Make Your Passions Work For You!
Take care of yourself: The most important thing that we can do as freelancers is to take care of ourselves. This means eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, and taking time off from work when needed.
It also means practicing self-care by treating yourself every now and then going out with friends or buying a fun new shirt because why not? When we take care of ourselves first, our businesses will benefit greatly from it.
Now that you’re done reading this article, it’s time to start designing! You may have a lot of ideas in mind and don’t know where to begin. Start by thinking about the kind of design you want to make: do you want to create graphics for websites or mobile apps?
Do you want it to be product-related or custom? From there, research the competition and come up with a plan for what will set your designs apart from theirs. And then get ready for some fun times coding!
When it comes down to it though, remember this: if what you’re doing isn’t fun anymore or at least challenging enough then it’s time for a change. If freelancing isn’t giving you those things anymore (and trust me; sometimes life does that).
Then maybe instead consider getting into another part of graphic design like teaching classes or writing books about web design principles so others can learn from their mistakes as well . . .
Here are some additional resources to expand your knowledge:
Essential Freelance Graphic Design Skills: Enhance your freelance graphic design career by developing crucial design skills that clients value the most.
Things to Keep in Mind When Hiring a Freelance Graphic Designer: If you’re considering hiring a freelance graphic designer, this guide offers insights into the key aspects to consider for a successful collaboration.
Making the Most of Your Downtime: 25 Things to Do: Utilize your downtime effectively with these 25 creative suggestions that can contribute to your personal and professional growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions and answers to help you get started as a graphics designer:
What Is Freelancing?
Freelancing is when you work for yourself. You can be your own boss, set your own hours, and have more freedom than you would have working for an employer.
How Do I Get Started As A Freelancer?
The first step is to create a portfolio of your best work so people know what kind of skills you have to offer. Then, start networking with other designers on social media and in person at community events or meetups (you can find them through Meetup).
Once you’ve built up connections in the industry, it’s time to start looking for clients who need help with their projects or brands!
Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions related to freelancing.
How Do I Start Freelancing?
The first step is to create a portfolio and promote it so that potential clients can see your work. Then, you need to find clients by researching companies in your industry, looking for freelance opportunities on job boards and platforms like Freelancer or Upwork, or even cold calling businesses in your area that might be interested in hiring a designer (although this last option isn’t recommended).
Once you have some experience under your belt and enough client testimonials and references, it will be easier for others in the industry to recommend working with you as well. How do I get my first freelancing client?
The best way is through networking which means talking with people who know other designers or asking them if they know anyone who needs help with graphic design projects!
It’s also important that when someone asks if they can refer someone else who needs help designing their website or logo. If they say yes then ask them if there’s anything specific about what kind of work would qualify as being right up their alley.”
What Is A Freelancer?
A freelancer is someone who offers their services to the public, usually in exchange for money. This can include anything from writing articles and books to designing websites or graphics.
How Do You Become A Freelancer?
There are many different ways of becoming a freelancer, but the most common way is by starting out as an employee at an existing company and then leaving when you feel ready to begin your own business.
Some people start out as interns before deciding whether or not they want to pursue freelance work full-time later down the road once they’ve gained some experience working on projects related to their field of expertise (e.g., web design).
I am a content writer, and I love what I do! Writing makes me feel like the words are flowing through my fingers, and then onto the keyboard, like magic. My experience as a writer has taught me that writing makes me feel good, as well as helps others to feel better too!