How To Launch A Freelance Graphic Design Business – 15 Things You Should Do

This article will teach you how to launch a freelance graphic design business. We’ll go over the steps of setting up your online presence, creating your portfolio, and getting clients.

We’ll be focusing on digital strategy as well as branding and visual identity so make sure you have a basic understanding of these topics before reading on!

How to Start a Freelance Graphic Design Business
Starting a freelance graphic design business requires a strong portfolio, a niche, and a plan
Researching industry standards can help determine a fair price for services
Networking, social media marketing, and a professional website can help find clients
Adobe Creative Suite and high-quality equipment are essential tools for a graphic designer
Expanding services, building relationships with clients, and staying up-to-date can help grow a freelance business

1. Get Your Designs Out There

The first thing you should do is make sure your portfolio is up and running. If you have a website, create a section for it. If not, set up an online store for your designs (like Etsy). You can also just put them on Google Docs if you want to keep things simple. Be sure that your portfolio has examples of things like:

  • Print design (coffee shop menus, business cards)
  • Web design (website logos and graphics)
  • Social media graphics

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2. Use A Portfolio Website To Showcase Your Work

A portfolio website is the best way to showcase your skills and experience as a graphic designer. It’s also the most effective way to get potential clients interested in hiring you. When they see your work, they can immediately tell whether or not you are capable of doing what they need to be done. A good portfolio website should include:

  • A professional-looking design (that isn’t too similar to any other websites out there)
  • Your best designs are in a full-size format so people can see them up close and personal
  • Examples of previous work from different types of projects (e.g., flyers, business cards, websites)

3. Pick Up Paid Work On Upwork/Fiverr/Etc

Once you have a portfolio and some good feedback, it’s time to pick up some paid work. You can do this by posting your services on freelance sites like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, and more. These sites are great because they allow you to easily connect with potential clients who are looking for someone with your skillset. The other great thing about them is that they’re very easy to use!

If you’re just getting started with these platforms I recommend starting slow by just using 1-2 hours a week marketing yourself on these sites (you’ll learn more about this in the next section). It’s best if you start small so that when/if things get busy in your new business it won’t be overwhelming for you or scare away any potential clients!

4. Design For Your Local Community

There are plenty of ways you can start working with local businesses and organizations. The most obvious one is to offer your services as a freelancer to the businesses in your community.

If they don’t have a budget for marketing, that’s okay you can still offer them some free work in exchange for their business card or website link on your portfolio page. You may not get rich quickly this way, but it will help build up your reputation and client list. Try offering:

  • logo design services;
  • print advertisements;
  • brochures;
  • business cards;

5. Build Up A Network Of Clients

As a freelancer, you’ll be working through your brand and reputation. Your reputation is only as good as your last job, so it’s important to build up an impressive portfolio that showcases your previous work and can reassure potential clients that they are in safe hands with you. 

One way to do this is by getting recommendations from existing customers or industry peers who have seen the quality of your work firsthand. Be sure to ask for testimonials and referrals on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook (don’t be afraid to use this as an opportunity to promote yourself!).

Thinking about starting a career in freelance web development? Before you dive in, take a look at our article on things freelance web developers wish someone had told them for insider tips on what to expect.

6. Build Yourself A Personal Website

As the owner of your freelance business, you’re going to be making many of the decisions that shape how it looks and operates. One important decision is what platform you use for your website and if you have no experience with design or coding, this can be daunting. However, don’t worry; there are plenty of free resources available for anybody who wants to learn enough about web design to create their site even if it doesn’t look like something from the Apple store yet!

If you want more control over both form and function than most free platforms offer (and have some extra cash), consider hiring someone else who knows WordPress inside out – such as [designer](, [web developer]( or [coder]( https://codecademy .com/u/graphic-design ) as they often offer services specifically tailored towards working with WordPress sites (which all websites must be hosted on).

7. Find A Mentor Or Role Model In The Industry

You need to find a mentor or role model in your industry. A mentor is someone who has been there, done that, and can help you with all aspects of your business, from strategy to marketing to design branding and business development. Mentors can also help with sales.

A good mentor will give you honest feedback on your strengths and weaknesses as well as best practices for running a business that works for you. They should be more than just an advisor; they should have the experience required to give advice based on their own experience in the industry.

8. Work With Charities And Not-For-Profits

Working with charities and not-for-profits is a great way to build your portfolio and get experience, even if you don’t charge much. You’ll get experience working with different types of clients, projects, and budgets. 

You also won’t have to worry about getting paid on time or at all! While this might sound like a bad thing at first, it’s one of the best things that can happen while freelancing; not getting paid means that you’re doing something good for society instead of just making money for yourself.

Starting a freelance career can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow our step-by-step guide on how to become a freelance web developer for a comprehensive breakdown of what you need to know to get started.

9. Get Yourself An Accountant And Lawyer On Board

It’s important to have an accountant and lawyer on board before you launch your freelance graphic design business. Whether you need help with budgeting and financial planning or contracts, both these professionals can be invaluable when it comes to setting up in business.

They will also be able to advise on the tax implications of running a business, which might mean that you have less money than expected come tax time. However, there are ways around this: for example, by ensuring that all your earnings go through a limited company structure (which lowers your taxable income).

10. Register Your Business Name And Branding

Once your name is chosen, you’ll want to register it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This will protect your trademark from being used by other companies. If you don’t register your brand name as a federal trademark, someone else could potentially steal it and use it for their own company or product.

You can also register at the state level so that nobody else can use your business name within the state where you live (if this makes sense for what kind of work you do). Registering a business doesn’t have to be expensive it costs around $200 on average and registering a domain name is rarely more than $10 a year via services like Go Daddy or Namecheap.

11. Get Licensed In Using Design Software Like Adobe Creative Cloud

The next step on your journey to freelancing is to get a license for the software you use. This is crucial, because if it’s not included in the package and you don’t have a proper license, then all of your work could be at risk.

If you can’t afford to buy a license (and they aren’t cheap), some free alternatives are just as good. We recommend getting familiar with GIMP or Inkscape, but there are plenty more options out there! Just make sure that whatever alternative you choose has the same capabilities as Adobe Creative Cloud does otherwise, your design business may suffer from using something less than ideal.

Are you a new freelancer in the world of web design? Check out our beginner’s guide to web design freelancing to get started on the right foot and set yourself up for success.

12. Learn From Other Freelancers’ Mistakes

Blogs, books, forums, etc can be invaluable in preparing for the common mistakes that many graphic designers make when starting their own business (for example, getting ripped off).

You’ll find a wealth of information online if you’re willing to do some digging. Blogs, books, and forums can be invaluable in preparing for the common mistakes that many graphic designers make when starting their own business (for example, getting ripped off).

Learning from other freelancers’ mistakes – blogs, books, forums, etc can be invaluable in preparing for the common mistakes that many graphic designers make when starting their own business (for example, getting ripped off).

Set up a website quickly (if you haven’t already done so) and get it live on the internet. Get a domain name with your brand name in it e.g ‘’ rather than ‘freelancegraphicdesigner123…com’. People will remember you better this way as well as making your business more professional looking as you don’t want to appear unprofessional on the web when trying to attract clients!

13. Start With Small Projects To Build Experience Before You Take On More Complex Projects

The best way to build up experience is by starting small and working your way up. Take on smaller projects, ones that you’re comfortable with, and gradually seek out bigger projects.

When you start as a freelance graphic designer, it can be tempting to take on every single project that comes your way because you need money. But this isn’t the smartest move if you want to grow your business in the long term. By taking on too many small jobs, you’ll make less money overall but also end up spreading yourself too thin which means that none of those clients will get what they need from you!

Instead of doing everything for everyone all at once (and doing it poorly), commit yourselves to only accepting projects that fit into your skillset and schedule. That way when people see how good your work is, they’ll know exactly why they chose YOU over whoever else was available at the time!

14. Improve Your Soft Skills (Communication, Managing Time As Well As Graphic Design Skills

You can’t learn soft skills in a classroom or through books. You have to work with other people and practice those skills until they become second nature. If you want to make a go of being a freelance graphic designer, you’ll need to be able to communicate with your clients and manage your time effectively. 

That means learning how not just to design stuff well, but also how to speak up honestly about what’s working and what isn’t as well as finding the best ways for communicating effectively with the people who pay your bills!

As AI technology continues to evolve, many freelance writers are left wondering if they will be replaced. Our article on why freelance writers need not worry about being replaced by AI offers insights on why the human touch is still important in the world of writing

15. Be Prepared To Reinvest In Your Business

Don’t get caught out by not planning the long-term financial implications of running a successful freelance business. This is the big one! If you’re planning on running a successful freelance graphic design business, then you need to be prepared for the long-term financial implications that come with it.

It’s important to invest in your business by buying new equipment, and software, or hiring a new employee. If you can do this while still having money left over each month then it means that your profits are going up and up which is great news! But if there isn’t enough coming in then things can get difficult very quickly. 

It’s important to have a plan in place so that any unexpected expenses can be dealt with quickly and easily without affecting cash flow too much (or at all).

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the steps to launch a freelancing business, it’s time to get started. By taking the time to develop your skills and learn low-cost ways of marketing yourself before you start freelancing, you’ll be better positioned for success than most of your competition.

While it’s certainly possible to quit your job and immediately land a steady flow of clients with no prior experience or connections, I believe there are two advantages to being patient: 1) It will give you more time to grow professionally; 2) 

It will allow you enough runway in case things don’t go as planned at first (they probably won’t!). As long as you’re willing to do the work and put in the hours necessary to succeed, this path can work for anyone!

Further Reading

How to Start a Freelance Graphic Design Career: This article provides step-by-step guidance on how to start a successful freelance graphic design business.

How to Start a Freelance Graphic Design Business: This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know to launch a successful freelance graphic design business, including finding clients, setting rates, and more.

How to Start a Graphic Design Business: This article offers practical tips and advice on how to start a graphic design business, including creating a business plan, setting up a website, and more.


How do I start a freelance graphic design business?

To start a freelance graphic design business, you’ll need to identify your niche, develop a strong portfolio, set your rates, and start marketing your services to potential clients. It’s also important to create a business plan and establish a legal structure for your business.

How much should I charge for my graphic design services?

The rate you should charge for your graphic design services will depend on factors such as your experience level, the complexity of the project, and your location. Researching industry standards and checking out the rates of other freelance designers can help you determine a fair price.

How do I find clients for my freelance graphic design business?

There are several ways to find clients for your freelance graphic design business, including networking, social media marketing, and creating a professional website. You can also consider joining freelance job platforms and reaching out to businesses directly.

What software do I need to start a freelance graphic design business?

As a graphic designer, you’ll need access to industry-standard software such as Adobe Creative Suite. You may also want to invest in a high-quality computer and other equipment, such as a drawing tablet, to help you create your designs.

How can I grow my freelance graphic design business?

To grow your freelance graphic design business, you can consider expanding your services, increasing your rates, and building strong relationships with your clients. It’s also important to continue developing your skills and staying up-to-date with industry trends.

What Are The Best Ways To Market Yourself?

It’s important to put out a consistent stream of high-quality content, especially if you want to build a strong online presence. You can do this through social media, blogging, and other types of content creation (like video). Just make sure it’s authentic and genuine!

How Do I Find Clients?

Client acquisition is key to growing your business in the early stages. There are several ways: through referrals from friends and colleagues; cold outreach using LinkedIn; advertising on Facebook groups; putting up posters at local businesses etc. Talk about what you offer to people who need it! Then follow up with them later when appropriate.

What’s The Best Way To Get Started?

Make a list of everything you need to start freelancing, including equipment, software, and services. Think about what kind of clients you want to work with and where they might be found. Decide how much time each week or month you can devote to building your business and marketing it online.

How Much Does It Cost?

The short answer is that it all depends on what type of equipment or software you already have and whether or not you need any new equipment/software before beginning full-time (or part-time) freelancing. 

The longer answer would include some basic estimates on things like office space rental fees/utilities costs (office space), printing costs for materials such as business cards, etc., and internet connection fees if using a shared office space rather than working from home, etc. And finally there’s taxes which must also be considered when calculating total startup costs!

What Is The Best Way To Get Started As A Freelancer?

It’s the same as any other business, but with a few extra special challenges. You need to figure out what makes you great and then find people who are willing to pay for it. It may take some time, but it’s possible.

What Is The Best Way To Market My Freelance Business?

There are many ways you can market your freelance business. It all depends on your budget and what you want. You could get some flyers made up or even make a website for it. Either way, you must have a good online presence so that people can find out about you and contact you if they need any design work done.

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