A Freelance Social Media Designer’s Top 13 Success Tips

A freelance social media designer is an independent contractor who designs digital content for use on social media platforms.

They are often hired to create captivating images, eye-catching videos, and witty or humorous textual content for a business’s social media accounts. This job is typically performed remotely, and it can be either part-time or full-time work.

Some freelancers choose to specialize in social media design, while others incorporate it into their broader set of freelance services. Either way, whether you’re a freelancer or just getting started in the world of social media design, here are the 13 most helpful tips I’ve picked up along the way.

MUST KNOW Tips to Succeed as a Freelance Designer
1. Prioritize a Strong Online Portfolio
2. Master Multiple Social Media Platforms
3. Stay Updated with Industry Trends
4. Build Relationships with Clients
5. Effective Time Management is Key
6. Showcase Your Creative Problem-Solving
7. Communication Skills are Vital
8. Offer Customized Solutions
9. Maintain Consistency in Your Work
10. Balance Creativity with Business Savvy

1. Be Willing To Work For Free

Here’s the cold, hard truth: if you’re a social media designer, you need to be willing to work for free. This isn’t because clients don’t value your work (they do!), or because once you get your first job it’ll be easy to find more (it won’t!). It’s just the plain, simple fact that you have to show potential clients what you can do before they’re willing to pay for it.

You might think this is unfair, but it’s really not. A lot of different people in the design industry are willing to take on free gigs people who might be more established than you, with a better portfolio and bigger clients and they’re all competing with you for the same jobs. If you want to stand out from the pack, you have to prove that your work is worth paying for.

In fact, you probably shouldn’t even limit yourself to just free jobs! Have a look at some of your friends’ personal projects, and offer to work on them as well. The more great design work you put out there, the better chance you have of standing out as someone who is ready for paid opportunities.

Learning how to become a successful freelance social media strategist, even without prior experience, can be a game-changer for your career. If you’re interested, take a look at our comprehensive guide on becoming a freelance social media strategist to kickstart your journey in this exciting field.

2. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Your Client What They Want

If you’ve ever worked as a freelance social media designer, you know that it can be tough to get clients to specify what they want. They’re usually expecting you to read their minds or something, but every business is different and requires a different approach.

Try this: when you have your first meeting with a client, ask them to write down or sketch out exactly what their ideal post would look like. This might seem obvious, but it will help them clarify their own vision and give them the opportunity to realize things they hadn’t thought of before.

Then, once you both have some expectations on paper, it’s time for you to do your thing! Look at the examples they gave you and create a post that matches the spirit of what they’re looking for. When your client sees it, they’ll be able to give you feedback on how close you are to their ideal vision. Then you can work together with the client until they’re happy with the result!

3. Be Your Own Biggest Fan

Being a freelance social media designer can be tough. When you’re working on your own, it can be hard to feel like you’re succeeding. Sure, you’ve got clients and projects coming in all the time, but it’s often difficult to see just how far you’ve come. After all, what’s one new client when you’ve worked with hundreds?

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned as a freelancer, it’s that if no one else is going to celebrate your successes with you. Well, then, you have to do it yourself! Be your own biggest fan: celebrate every new client, every project completed on time, every rave review—and give yourself the credit you deserve. You put in the work, and that is something to be proud of.

As a freelance social media coordinator, navigating the world of digital engagement can be both challenging and rewarding. If you’re looking for ways to excel in this role, our article on succeeding as a freelance social media coordinator offers valuable insights and tips to enhance your effectiveness in managing online communities.

4. Be Willing To Defend Your Vision And Make It A Reality

If you’re a freelance social media designer, you are probably working with clients who have a very clear idea of what their company is and who they want to be. This can make it challenging to pursue your own vision for the brand’s social media presence.

But I think that’s actually a good thing. If you feel like you’re being pushed in a direction that simply isn’t right for the brand or just doesn’t excite you as much as your original vision did—it can be incredibly difficult to stay motivated to keep working on the project.

So, how do you overcome this obstacle?

Be willing to defend your vision and make it a reality. It’s not always easy, but if you’re confident in your ideas (and confident in your ability to execute them), don’t settle for anything less than the project of your dreams you’ll be happier and more creative for it.

5. Learn How To Touch Type

Being a freelancer is hard. There are a lot of things you need to know how to do, from setting up meetings with clients to scheduling tasks on your calendar and organizing your workspace. But if there’s one thing that stands out above all the rest something that can’t be replaced by smart scheduling or better time management it’s knowing how to touch type.

What is touch typing? In short, it’s typing efficiently without looking at the keys. It allows for faster typing, an easier ability to keep your eyes on what you’re writing, and eliminates most of the awkwardness that comes from being a typer in front of other people.

Learning how to touch type may seem daunting at first, but it’s actually really fun. You’ll be able to get jobs done faster, become more confident while sharing your work with others, and impress friends and colleagues with your new lightning-fast typing skills.

Deciding how much to charge as a freelance social media manager is a crucial step in building a sustainable career. To understand the factors involved and determine a fair rate, explore our discussion on how much freelance social media managers should charge and gain valuable insights into pricing your services competitively.

6. Use Templates And Frameworks If They’re Available

If you’re just starting out as a freelance social media designer, you might be feeling intimidated. There’s a lot of pressure to create designs that will stand out from the crowd and convince your clients to keep coming back for more. You might feel like you have to invent something completely new and original every time for every client.

If you’re feeling this way, I’ve got great news you can relax! Templates are your friend. They are not cheating. You don’t have to start from scratch with every client (and if you do, you might burn yourself out in no time).

Instead, find some good frameworks and templates to work with. These will give you a jumping-off point so that you don’t have to spend all of your time creating the basic structure of the design. They’ll save you a ton of time and effort, and they’ll help you get a consistent look across the board so that your clients know what to expect from you when they hire you.

So go ahead and try it! Your future clients will thank you for it.

7. Build Relationships With Mentors And Peers Who Can Help Support You In Your Endeavors

When you’re a freelance social media designer, it’s important to build relationships with mentors and peers who can help support you in your endeavors.

As an example, I found my mentor, Bruce, through a local weekly meet-up group where like-minded professionals share what they’ve been working on and learn from each other. It was at one of these events that I first met Bruce and saw him present his designs for a new website. His work was awesome. 

I immediately knew that he was someone I could learn from and that we’d get along well. So I reached out and asked if we could grab a coffee sometime to discuss the freelance world and talk about his design process. He was happy to do so, and our friendship developed from there!

Now, whenever I have questions about design, I reach out to Bruce. 

He’s always available for advice, and he knows that I’m open to helping him in return so it works out for both of us. Plus, since he does work for established companies that are looking for new talent, he sometimes recommends me as well!

My advice is to seek out these types of relationships in your own life. Find people you respect who are willing to share what they know with you.

Venturing into the world of freelance social media management requires a comprehensive understanding of the role and responsibilities involved. If you’re curious about what it takes to be a successful freelance social media manager, our in-depth guide titled Freelance Social Media Manager: Everything You Need to Know provides a wealth of information to help you get started.

8. Give Back By Mentoring Others Who Are Just Getting Started There’s Plenty Of Room For Everyone

I’m a social media designer. I do freelance work for clients all over the world, and I specialize in creating Instagram stories that get people talking about your brand. When I started freelancing, I was terrified of not having enough clients to keep me afloat between projects. But the thing is… there’s enough room for everyone in this business. And if you’ve got talent, will, and drive to spare, there’s no reason why you can’t make it big.

Why am I telling you this? Because I owe my success to a mentor who taught me how to be a freelancer when she could have just kept what she knew about being successful to herself.

If you want to be successful as a freelancer, give back by mentoring others who are just getting started you’ll find there’s plenty of room for everyone.

9. Make Sure You Have A Safe Space To Take Breaks From Work When You Need Them

It’s all about knowing how to take care of yourself. If you’re a freelance social media designer like me, it can be really easy to get swept up in the work and forget that you need personal time. Your work demands that you spend a lot of time thinking creatively and being present with your clients, but sometimes you just need to take a vacation from your brain.

How do you do that? By creating safe spaces in your life where you can rest, relax, and recharge without feeling guilty.

My safe space is my bedroom. It’s got great natural light, I can draw or read or watch videos on my iPad all things that help me feel refreshed and ready to face the day again. The thing about this room is that I’ve decorated it in a way that makes me feel calm and centered when I’m there.

I’ve found pictures of myself doing things I’m proud of for inspiration; my favorite quotes are hung on the walls; and my stuffed animals from when I was little made me feel comforted and at home. This is where I go when I need a break from work.

So if you’re feeling stressed out by your work as a freelance social media designer, try creating a safe space just for yourself.

10. Keep Your Work In One Place

When I was just starting out as a freelance social media designer, my biggest problem was keeping track of all my work.

There were so many different platforms, and so many different clients, that I had a hard time remembering which platforms I needed to take care of for which client; it was like juggling a thousand balls in the air at once. But then I started using Google Sheet and everything changed.

Google Sheet is a platform that lets you keep track of your work in one place, no matter where it needs to go. You can even create drafts and post them directly to the platform you need to use. It’s amazing. I’m now able to handle four times as many clients as before, and I don’t have any trouble remembering what they need or when they need it. 

If you’re a freelance social media designer who’s just getting started or someone who has tons of clients already and wants to cut down on confusion and ensure that everyone gets what they need, check out Google Sheet today.

Learning from real experiences can provide valuable lessons and insights for anyone aspiring to thrive in the freelance social media field. Our article sharing 15 lessons learned from a freelance social media marketing job offers a glimpse into the challenges and victories faced by professionals, making it a valuable resource for those seeking to enhance their skills and strategies.

11. Organize Your Calendar

As a freelancer, I have a lot of different clients with different needs and a lot of different projects with different timelines. The end result is that every week looks totally different from the last and sometimes even from one day to the next! And while having lots of variety in my work is one of the reasons I love being self-employed, it also means that keeping track of everything can get really tricky really fast.

Using a calendar app helps me keep track of all the moving parts so that nothing falls through the cracks. It’s also incredibly helpful when it comes to communicating with my clients; instead of trying to set up tons of phone calls or emails, I can just send them a link to my calendar so they can find an open slot and book a time that works for them. And it helps me make sure that I’m not overbooking myself. 

I know exactly how many clients I can take on at once and how much time each project will take, which means I’m never scrambling to meet deadlines or trying to figure out where things got pushed off to.

12. Always Try Something New At Least Once Every Day

As a freelance social media designer, I know what it’s like to have too much to do and not enough time. But I also know that the best way to learn is through experience—and the more varied your experiences, the better. So instead of focusing on trying to get as much work done as possible every day, I like to make sure that every day, I’m actively learning something new.

Sometimes I’ll spend a day exploring some design tools that I’ve never used before. Sometimes it’s just finding a new YouTube channel about design and watching a tutorial or two. Other days it’s about figuring out how to use a new social media platform for my clients’ accounts.

But the point is that no matter how many tasks you have to complete on any given day, you always want to make sure you’re getting in at least one opportunity to learn something new—so that when you need that skill in the future, you already have the experience!

13. Invest In Good Tools For Your Job

Investing in good tools for your job can be the difference between success and failure. I’ve seen more than my fair share of ups and downs, but what always takes me to the next level is when I invest in something that’s going to take my performance to the next level.

I’m not saying buy a $10,000 laptop I’m talking about investing in tools you’ll use every day, like apps and plugins that will help you get your work done quickly and easily. It doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, most of the best tools are free! But they’re worth it, because they make my life so much easier.

My favorite app is Adobe PhotoShop. It’s a common problem that people have trouble finding great images for their posts, especially on short notice.  Adobe Photoshop gives you free access to millions of images from around the web, so you don’t have to spend hours searching for new photos or creating them yourself (even though I love doing that). 

And if you ever need an image that isn’t on there, just send them an email with what you’re looking for and they’ll find it for you! It’s amazing.

Final Thoughts

Before writing this, I spent much time thinking about what advice I could pass along to the next generation of designers just starting out. In the end, my advice is this: understand that freelancing is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work, determination, and dedication to build a successful career. It also takes more than solid design skill—it takes business acumen. 

Thankfully, there’s a no better way to build your business acumen than through trial and error, but here are some tips to get you started: 1) Research your client’s industry before meeting with them (and always come prepared). 2) Establish terms early on in the project. 3) Always respond on time. 4) Don’t settle for less when it comes to your rate. 5) Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback or even a testimonial every once in a while. 

Freelancing is tough, and it’s very easy for young designers (or even experienced ones) to fall into the trap of working for free or for worse terms just to get their foot in the door. So use your head from the get-go, and keep learning along the way.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources you might find useful for further exploring the world of freelancing and achieving success:

Tips for Becoming a Successful Freelancer
Discover practical insights and strategies for establishing a successful freelance career, from finding clients to managing your workflow effectively.

Top 13 Tips to Scale Your Freelance Business Effectively
Learn how to grow your freelance business and increase its impact with these top tips for effective scaling.

13 Tips to Become a Freelance Superstar
Elevate your freelance game with these 13 tips that can help you stand out and excel in the competitive freelancing landscape.


How can I transition into freelancing successfully?

Transitioning into freelancing successfully requires careful planning and preparation. Start by assessing your skills, building a portfolio, and identifying your target clients. Research the freelancing market, set your rates competitively, and establish a strong online presence through platforms like LinkedIn and personal websites.

What strategies can I use to scale my freelance business?

Scaling your freelance business effectively involves diversifying your services, optimizing your workflow, and automating repetitive tasks. Additionally, consider networking, collaborating with other freelancers, and consistently delivering high-quality work to attract repeat clients and referrals.

How can I become a standout freelance professional?

To become a standout freelance professional, focus on honing your expertise, continuously improving your skills, and delivering exceptional value to clients. Cultivate a strong personal brand, showcase your work through a compelling portfolio, and maintain open communication with clients to ensure their satisfaction.

How do I handle the financial aspects of freelancing?

Managing the financial aspects of freelancing involves setting a budget, keeping track of expenses, and setting aside funds for taxes. Consider using accounting software or hiring a financial advisor to ensure proper financial management and tax compliance.

What are some common challenges freelancers face and how can I overcome them?

Freelancers often face challenges such as inconsistent income, client communication issues, and work-life balance struggles. To overcome these challenges, create a stable income stream through retainer clients or diversified services, establish clear communication boundaries with clients, and implement time management techniques to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

How Do I Become A Successful Freelance Social Media Designer?

The first step to becoming a successful freelance social media designer is having a killer portfolio. If you don’t have any prior design experience, it’s important to invest in your skills as a designer before you start freelancing. Once you feel confident in your abilities, a great way to get started is by offering to work for free for an organization that you’re passionate about. You’ll be able to build your portfolio and make connections with others who may be able to help you land paid gigs down the road.

How Do I Get Clients As A Freelance Social Media Designer?

The first step to getting clients as a freelance social media designer is building up your portfolio. Showcase examples of your best work and make sure that others can easily access it online. Once you have some work in your portfolio, consider building an email list of people who are likely to need the services of a freelance social media designer and reach out directly with examples of what you can offer them.

What’s The Best Way To Get Started In Freelance Social Media Design?

I know this can be an intimidating field, but don’t let that stop you! Social media design is a great way to meet people, help companies make the best content possible for their audience and allow for constant creative growth. 

My best advice is to build up your portfolio through work you do for friends and family meaning, help them out with their social media accounts, and then use those posts as samples of your work! That way, when you’re looking for paying clients, you’ll have a ton of stuff to show them.

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