In the freelance world, a gig is a gig. Not every project you take on will be the perfect fit, but the more you can create clients who love working with you and projects that make your work shine, the better off you’ll be.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because you’re “only” freelancing that you shouldn’t care about quality. In fact, whether or not your clients pay enough for you to dedicate time to polishing your work is exactly how they know whether or not they should keep working with you.
That’s why it’s important to put in extra effort if it makes sense for your bottom line and their business needs! Here are 16 tips for dominating the freelance graphic design world:
|1. Prioritize continuous skill improvement.
|2. Build a strong and diverse portfolio.
|3. Master essential design software.
|4. Cultivate effective time management.
|5. Establish clear communication with clients.
|6. Price your services competitively.
|7. Network and collaborate with fellow designers.
|8. Embrace criticism and feedback for growth.
|9. Develop a personal brand and online presence.
|10. Stay updated with industry trends.
1. Get A Good Website
Your website is a potential client’s first impression of you, so it needs to look good and be easy to navigate. Make sure that your site is mobile responsive, so that visitors can view the site on their phones.
If you’ve ever tried to update a website from scratch before, you know how daunting this task can be! It’s not enough for your site just to look nice; it also needs to be functional and easy to update so it holds up over time.
Finally, remember that search engines like Google use keywords when ranking websites in search results so make sure yours has relevant keywords throughout (and don’t forget about Meta Descriptions).
When you’re unsure about how to hire a freelance designer, our guide on hiring a freelance designer even if you have zero clue can provide you with valuable insights and tips.
2. Find Your Niche And Stick To It
You’re working for yourself, so you have to be your boss. You have to find a niche that you can become the best at and make money doing it.
In my experience, there are three things I look for when choosing a niche:
This is the most important thing because if you don’t love what you do, why do it? Find something that gets your creative juices flowing and inspires you to push yourself further every day. If this doesn’t sound like an option for you, then freelancing might not be right for now (and maybe never).
If I were to choose between passion over ability any day, but only because of how much more valuable passion is than skill alone if we consider long-term growth potential in our careers as well as satisfaction with what we do daily (which matters).
However, having both of these qualities helps tremendously when it comes time to make money from our work; after all, what good does give away great work if no one wants/needs it?
Don’t fall for common misconceptions about working for a design agency. Our article on top 15 misconceptions will help you gain a clearer understanding of the industry and its realities.
3. Never Compromise On Quality
I know, I know this is a bit of a cliché, but it also happens to be true. When you’re working in a freelance capacity, it’s easy to get caught up in the need for more money and less time spent away from home and family that you sacrifice quality for quick turnaround or lower prices.
But no matter how tempting it may seem to cut corners or otherwise trim your design work for quicker delivery times, some things should never be compromised:
Quality is not a feature (or bug). You don’t have to include every single detail in your designs while they are being created. Too much detail can make things confusing and difficult for clients who don’t know exactly what they want their end product(s) to look like once completed.
That said, asking yourself “What would happen if this went wrong? What could go wrong? How can I keep my client safe by making sure that won’t happen? Is there anything else I need them to sign off on before we move forward?” will help ensure that everything goes smoothly and nothing gets overlooked during production timeframes.*
Quality is not an afterthought; it’s an integral part of every project! Take pride in all aspects of what makes something unique it’s important!
4. Keep Your Portfolio Up To Date
A good portfolio is easy to find and easy to use.
Remember when we talked about how important it is to have a portfolio that showcases your best work? Well, if you’re going to take the time and energy to create an online portfolio, make sure it’s worth finding!
If you haven’t already done so, check out our article on how to build a killer freelance graphic design website.
You don’t want your site’s navigation or design holding back people from viewing all of your amazing work! You also don’t want something outdated or clunky that makes sharing links difficult or impossible.
So keep it simple: Make sure everything works well together with clear instructions for visitors who aren’t familiar with what they’re looking at (or even what the internet is).
Your page should be easy enough for someone who isn’t tech-savvy enough for other projects on this list (like building their website) but still polished enough so that others will see how professional their brand looks without having any experience designing anything themselves which means keeping things tidy while still being visually appealing as well as functional in general.
5. Always Work With A Contract
A contract is a legally binding agreement between you and your client. It helps to ensure that everyone knows what’s expected of them and also protects you from being taken advantage of by clients who want to change their minds at the last minute.
Your contracts should be written in plain language, so everyone will understand them. They should also include all the details of your agreement including:
- how much each party has agreed to pay;
- when payment is due; and
- any relevant terms and conditions (like if either party can cancel).
6. Network, And Network Some More
If you are starting to build a freelance business, networking is one of the most important things you can do. This doesn’t mean that you need to go out and meet everyone in person, but it does mean that you should become familiar with online platforms where people share information about their work and projects.
When someone asks for help on a project, it’s good practice to offer assistance if the problem isn’t too complex or time-consuming for your expertise level.
You might end up getting hired for more work down the road because of this and even if they don’t hire you again, they may remember your name when someone else needs help!
If there’s an organization or event related to graphic design in your area (or even outside), check out what they’re up to! Attending these types of events will give me access to people who could potentially provide business opportunities down the road.
Feeling stressed? Take a break and indulge in a 15-minute art project to boost your mood and unleash your creativity.
7. Create The Right Environment To Work In
Create a space that is comfortable and conducive to your needs. This includes having good lighting, acoustics, and air conditioning.
Make sure it is well lit and has good acoustics. You need to be able to see what you are doing so invest in some decent lighting, especially if you are going to be working at night when the sun goes down or if you want to create something that requires intricate details.
The same applies to sound; make sure there aren’t too many distractions from outside or from inside such as squeaking doors or taps running while they shouldn’t be!
Make sure it’s clean and tidy. Clutter can become overwhelming very quickly and this will affect how much work gets done which isn’t good for anybody – especially when money is involved!
8. Work Hard And Promote Yourself, But Don’t Live Your Life On Social Media
Here are a few tips on promoting yourself and your business:
Ask For Help
Don’t be afraid to ask clients, friends and family members, or anyone willing to help out. If you’re having trouble getting new leads, ask them if they know anyone who might be interested in your services.
Ask For Referrals
When you complete a job for a client make sure that the client knows how happy you are with their project so that you can get more work from that person in the future! This is a great way for clients to discover new talent!
Ask for testimonials from each of your past customers so that potential future clients can see what other people thought of working with you before making any decisions on whether or not hiring someone will work out well enough.
As well as proving some legitimacy behind what kind of quality workmanship lies within each piece created by hand using traditional techniques taught over time through generations passed down through families who just happen to know how things should look like when done right without fail every single time without fail every single time without fail.
9. Choose The Right Business Structure For You
Now that you have decided to start your own freelancing business, the next step is to choose the right business structure for you. This will be something you will want to consider carefully because it will help set the tone for how your business operates and impacts your taxes.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common business structures:
Sole proprietorship A sole proprietorship is when an individual starts their own company using their name as its title. It’s considered a “passive income” meaning that they are not actively involved in running it and are responsible only for their assets if things go wrong with the company.
The main advantage of this type of limited liability business structure is that there are no ongoing filing requirements (except tax returns) since it does not require any formal filings with state agencies or other entities (although if you do incorporate later on then there will be more paperwork involved).
However, if something goes wrong then all assets from both personal savings accounts as well as any other businesses owned by an individual under this type would likely be at risk should legal action need to be taken against them.
Plus there may also be additional costs associated with running such businesses since no operating capital is required initially either since all profits made go directly into the owner’s pockets each month – although there could still potentially be additional fees paid out later down the road such as taxes owed after filing tax returns each year
Embarking on a journey as a freelance graphic designer brings its own set of lessons. Discover 11 things you learn along the way that contribute to your growth and success.
10. Don’t Forget About Your Own Brand And Personal Brand Management
You are your brand. Don’t forget about this! Your brand is a critical part of your career as a graphic designer, and it’s important to be prepared for it before you dive into freelancing. It’s also important to remember that your brand will be completely different from the clients you work with.
Think about how you want people to perceive you, both in terms of personality and design style, and make sure those things align with what people expect from the work that you do.
This means that if someone asks for a “sophisticated” or “modern” design, but their logo looks like it was made by ten-year-olds on MS Paint, there will be some confusion (and probably some disappointment).
The best way to ensure that others see who they want and expect when they come across your branding efforts is by being consistent: not just in style but also in message and tone of voice across all platforms (website copy; social media updates/posts; email signatures).
11. Build Your Base Audience Before You Even Start Offering Paid Work
You need to build a base audience before you start offering paid work. Why? Because if you don’t, your potential clients will struggle to find you. They’ll be forced to spend hours sifting through the thousands of freelancers out there who offer the same thing as they do.
Your website is where people go when they’re looking for someone like you and if no one’s ever heard of you before (or even knows how great your work is), then there’s no reason for them to check out your portfolio or contact info in the first place!
This means that unless someone happens upon one of your projects on social media or Google (which can happen), then no one will be able to see what kind of work is available…and that means nobody will be able to hire you!
So let’s talk about how we can build an audience before we even begin offering our services as a graphic designer
12. Charge What You’re Worth. And Then Charge A Little Bit More. We’ll Explain Why Later
Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced graphic designer, it’s important to charge what you’re worth. As a freelancer, it’s critical to charge more than your competition and have the confidence in your work that allows clients to trust you with their projects.
Why? Well, we’ll get into that in a bit. But first: how do you know what you’re worth? For graphic design services, there are several factors involved in determining your price point: work experience and skill level; industry reputation; availability of time (i.e., how much can you handle at once); ability to meet deadlines; and so forth.
For people to feel comfortable hiring someone with limited experience or who doesn’t necessarily come from an established studio brand name like us! they need some assurance that they won’t be getting ripped off by paying too much for something that’s not necessarily worth what they think it is (or might not even need). That said…
13. Get Organized And Stay Organized – Key Points To Managing A Freelancing Business
Get organized and stay organized – key points to managing a freelancing business:
File management. You’ll need some sort of filing system, whether it’s my client or by the project. It doesn’t matter what your system is as long as it works for you; the important thing is that you have one that makes sense and helps keep track of all your files.
Back up your files regularly. This should be done automatically, so don’t forget about it! Most computers these days come with software for backing up files automatically (or there are free services online), so check with whoever set up your computer if you’re unsure how to do this.
Business management software like FreshBooks or Xero will help organize invoices, expenses, and clients’ contact information in one place making sure nothing falls through the cracks!
Communication tips: Make sure everyone knows where their payment is coming from (you) so there aren’t any misunderstandings later down the road.
Also, make sure everything gets communicated up front so both parties understand what they’re getting into before committing any time or resources towards executing a project together! It’s better not to mention anything until necessary than risk miscommunication later downstream (s).
14. Don’t Be Afraid To Walk Away From Potential Clients If You Know It’s Not Going To Be Worth Your Time
One of the most important things to remember is that you are in charge. You can walk away from a project if it’s not going to be worth your time or effort. And any client who doesn’t respect that is probably not worth working with anyway!
It’s also important to take on projects where you know what you’re doing and don’t pretend that you know something when in fact, you don’t. Don’t take on any projects without having done research beforehand or at least knowing how difficult something will be for you.
Don’t work for free unless it’s clear that a job will lead to more work down the line and even then it may pay off in other ways like building relationships with other professionals within your industry (which leads me nicely onto tip number 4).
15. Take Care Of Yourself And Don’t Get Lost In Your Work. You’re Only Human!
Take care of yourself and don’t get lost in your work. You’re only human! Here are some tips that I’ve been following for years now:
Sleep 7-8 hours per night. It helps you stay focused and productive throughout the day.
Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week. This is good for your health, mood, and productivity as well!
Eat healthy food most of the time (think lots of vegetables). Don’t eat junk food or fast food very often because it can make you tired and bloated which will affect how well you feel about yourself when doing freelance graphic design work at home on your laptop computer while sitting on the couch watching reruns of Seinfeld episodes from Netflix streaming service.
Looking to enhance your creative projects? Explore the reasons why you should consider hiring creative freelancers and how they can add value to your endeavors.
16. Freelancing Is Just Like Any Other Job, Except You Get To Be Your Boss!
Freelancing is just like any other job, except you get to be your boss. This means that you still need to be organized and professional, honest with your clients, good at working well with others (and sometimes alone), and able to work under pressure.
You’re responsible for everything from communicating with potential clients to delivering the finished product on time and within budget.
At first glance, it might seem like freelancing would be less stressful than having a full-time job. But this couldn’t be further from the truth: being your boss means there are no paid vacations or sick days.
If you don’t work enough hours in one week or fail to meet deadlines, it all comes right out of your pocketbook! If you want more money than what you’re making now at a full-time job, then becoming a successful designer probably isn’t going to happen overnight; success takes time & effort (plus some luck).
We hope that these tips help you to get started and be successful in your freelance career. Our best advice is to believe in yourself, and don’t lose sight of what’s important: your relationship with others, balancing work and life, and maybe even becoming a morning person!
Remember to pace yourself, not to overwork or underwork. Staying healthy is an important part of staying productive. Keep up with any hobbies or interests that allow you to relax and recharge and if you don’t have any yet, now would be a great time to start!
Here are some additional resources to further explore the world of graphic design:
25 Essential Tips for Graphic Designers Discover a comprehensive list of tips that can help you improve your graphic design skills and enhance your creative process.
Freelance Graphic Designer Tips Learn valuable insights and advice for freelance graphic designers to succeed in the competitive world of freelancing.
How to Be a Good Graphic Designer Explore career development advice and practical steps to become a skilled and successful graphic designer.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Best Way To Get Started?
I’d recommend starting by reading this blog post and then heading over to FreelanceNation.org, where you can find job postings from all around the world. Your first step should be to apply for jobs as a designer, but if that doesn’t appeal to you, check out their other job listings as well!
What Is A Website?
A website is an online presence that includes some way for people to contact you and displays your work or skills. It’s a place where clients can see what you do, and where potential clients can learn more about you so they know whether or not they want to hire you.
What Is A Portfolio?
A portfolio is a collection of your best work that showcases the quality of your design skills and abilities as an artist and designer.
Clients use this tool when deciding if they want to hire someone because it allows them to see examples of the person’s previous work in one place instead of having to look through multiple social media accounts or websites (which may have outdated content).
Why Should I Hire A Freelancer?
Freelancers are the perfect fit for your project when you need it done in a short amount of time. Using the skills and talents of a freelance graphic designer means that you can get your project completed much faster than if you went through an agency or business. The best part is that they don’t charge as much!
How Do I Find A Freelancer?
Finding freelance graphic designers on MTurk can be tricky because they may not have any reviews at all, but don’t let this fool you!
There are still many awesome people who will do great work for cheap prices so don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re looking for something specific like children’s art books or logo designs (just make sure their portfolio shows off those types of projects).
Send them messages asking for quotes on what it would cost per hour or project so there won’t be any surprises later down the road when things start taking longer than expected due to unforeseen issues arising from miscommunication between both parties involved in this transaction process which could also lead towards poor quality results overall.”
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!