Improving Your Freelance Graphic Design Business

I was a freelance graphic designer for nearly 15 years, and I’ve learned what it takes to make a successful career out of design. There are some simple tricks you can use that will make it easier for you to get new clients and make sure you meet their needs. 

If you’re just getting started with freelancing, these tips will help you find your first clients and succeed in your new business venture. If you’ve been freelancing for a while, these tips can also help improve your business and get more work from existing clients.

4 Ways on How to Grow Your Freelance Graphic Design
1. Embrace continuous learning to enhance your design skills.
2. Cultivate strong communication with clients for better understanding.
3. Leverage social media to showcase your portfolio and attract clients.
4. Focus on delivering high-quality work to build a solid reputation.
5. Establish clear business goals and strategies for growth.
6. Network with fellow designers and potential clients for opportunities.
7. Consider specialization to stand out and target specific clientele.
8. Prioritize time management to meet deadlines effectively.
9. Regularly update your portfolio with your latest projects.
10. Provide exceptional customer service to foster client loyalty.

1. Always Do A Brief

When someone hires you to do a job, they are hiring you as an expert. They want your expertise in the field, and that means they will be relying on your experience and guidance.

That’s why it is so important to have a brief before starting any project. A brief is a foundation for any successful design project; without one, there can be no direction or focus.

The brief should contain:

  • Who is the target market?
  • What type of product or service does this target market require?
  • Why would people buy from this company?

Building a strong design team is crucial for the success of any project. If you’re new to hiring designers, our guide on how to hire a freelance designer when you have zero clue will provide you with valuable insights and tips to make the right choice.

2. Set Your Personal Limits

Setting your limits is important. It’s not always easy to do, but it can be helpful to know when to stop and take a break, say no, or seek help from others.

Here are some ways you can set your limits:

Know when to stop working on something if it makes you feel frustrated or stressed out. You might be able to fix the problem tomorrow or maybe even later today but don’t let yourself get too far in over your head before taking a break!

Know when to say no when someone asks for more work than they’ve paid for (and vice versa). If a client asks for revisions every day instead of once a week, don’t feel obligated; just politely explain that this isn’t how we do business together!

Know when there’s enough distance between what happened last week and what happened yesterday so that making decisions about those things doesn’t consume all of our energy today–and maybe tomorrow too? Good luck with that one though 🙂

Working for a design agency can come with its own set of expectations and misconceptions. Get a clear understanding of what it’s really like with our article on top 15 misconceptions about working for a design agency that dispels common myths in the industry.

3. Decide What You’re Good At And Price Accordingly

Agree on the scope of the project. How many concepts do they want? What’s the budget? Do they have any restrictions? Clarifying these details upfront is key to working out a fair price.

To help you set your rates, consider this: what skills and expertise do you have that other designers don’t? Are you good at handling complex briefs, or does your client base prefer simple designs? 

Perhaps it’s speed or attention to detail that makes your work stand out from others. Think about what makes your work valuable in comparison with other freelancers, then price according to that value.

The most popular way of pricing design work is using an hourly rate or project cost estimate based on hours spent on a job (for example: “$40/hour plus expenses”). 

However, if this isn’t working for you because clients are balking at paying more than $30/hour no matter how long it takes them, consider switching over to fixed-price projects instead. 

For example: “I charge $3k for designs up through 10 hours; after that, we’ll discuss whether another payment plan works better.”

4. Figure Out Your Best Working Time And Location

You should think about where you work as much as when. It can be tempting to set up shop in a room that’s close to the kitchen, but if your kitchen is full of tempting treats and your phone charger is out in the open, it might be best for you to find somewhere else. 

If possible, work from home it’s easier not to get distracted by coworkers or be tempted by other things when there’s no one around.

Dedicated office space can make all the difference. For example, if you have a desk but don’t have any walls between it and other rooms in your house (or apartment), then it may end up feeling more like an extension of those rooms than a place where work gets done effectively. 

If this happens often enough over time then these types of distractions become part of daily life which can affect productivity levels negatively over time too!

5. Ask For Referrals

Ask for referrals. The best way to increase your business is to ask for referrals, especially from happy customers. Don’t be afraid to ask everyone you know friends and family alike!

Referrals are a great way to get more business but don’t forget that they’re also a great way to remind others about your services as well. Their referrals must mean something. 

If they’re just going around telling anyone who’ll listen that someone designed their website or logo for them, it won’t mean much in the long run when people remember where those things came from.*

6. Keep Up With The Latest Trends

One of the most important things you can do to improve your freelance graphic design business is to keep up with the latest trends. The world of design has a lot of moving parts, so it’s important to stay informed on current trends to create the most effective designs possible.

For example, there are many different types of graphics that are hot right now: infographics and data visualizations, motion graphics videos, and interactive presentations. 

If you want to stay competitive in today’s marketplace (and make some more money), these kinds of projects require more time and effort than simple digital files like logos or business cards. But they pay well!

Fortunately for us peons who don’t have encyclopedic knowledge about every little thing going on out there (like some people I know), we can get our hands on all sorts of interesting information via blogs like Smashing Magazine or A List Apart. 

They publish articles about the latest trends from some pretty awesome designers who share their experiences along with loads of tips for how others can use them too.”

Conducting effective marketing research is essential for informed decision-making. Learn about practical data collection methods in our piece on how I collected the data for my marketing research project and gain insights into successful research techniques.

7. Don’t Stress About Being A Perfectionist

Perfection is the enemy of excellence.

If you’re striving for perfection, you’re going to be disappointed and frustrated most of the time. Aiming for excellence instead will help you stay motivated while being able to continue improving your business. Being a perfectionist can lead to procrastination and other negative effects on your business! 

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes that’s how we learn what works and what doesn’t work in our businesses!

8. Manage Client Expectations Properly

Managing client expectations is a huge part of how you can improve your freelance graphic design business.

When you communicate with clients, be clear and specific. If a client asks for something that is outside the scope of the project, be honest and explain why it won’t work out.

When proposing a new project or contract, make sure that you are clear about what they’re getting as well as what they’re paying for. Clients will appreciate it if they know exactly what to expect before signing on any dotted lines.

9. Make The Right Investments In Your Business

Investing in your business is a great way to set yourself up for success. Investing in the right technology, such as computers and software, tablets and mobile phones, as well as education and training can help you increase your productivity.

As well as investing in the right technology and education, you should also consider investing in yourself through a support network of friends who understand what it’s like to be self-employed. Friends who work for companies can also offer great advice about how their companies are run successfully.

Last but certainly not least, invest regularly into building your brand online with content that’s relevant to what people want from freelancers like yourself.

Making informed decisions is a cornerstone of successful business strategies. Discover how to utilize marketing research for better decision-making in our guide on how to make a good decision using marketing research and leverage data-driven insights.

10. Consider Getting Insurance For Your Business

Insurance is not just for large businesses; it’s a smart move that can protect you against the loss of money, damage to your reputation, data loss, and even the loss of staff. 

You may have heard stories about people who have been sued by clients or customers after they lost their laptop with all their files on it. That’s why being able to recover from that kind of situation should be one of your top priorities as a freelancer.

Make sure you know what kind of insurance you need before getting it though: there are several different types so make sure you shop around and get the best deal for both peace of mind and cost-effectiveness.

11. Always Have A Backup Plan In Place

You may think that you’re the most prepared person in the world, but we all know better. You need a backup plan for everything even your computer.

Your backup plan should include:

Backing up your work regularly to an external hard drive or cloud storage service like Dropbox or Google Drive.

Make sure you have a fully-charged battery and a power cable with you at all times. This way, if your computer breaks down while on the job and needs to be repaired immediately, it won’t take more than 24 hours before it’s back up and running again (unless something serious happened).

12. Get To Know Intellectual Property Rights And Protect Yourself

When you’re a freelancer, it’s important to know intellectual property rights. This means you have to register your work with the United States Copyright Office and protect yourself from any legal issues that may crop up from it. 

You should also make sure clients have signed contracts before they hire you, so they can’t come back later and ask for their money back or claim ownership of your design work because they didn’t sign anything at all (this is why having contracts is so important).

Having a good relationship with your client is crucial in avoiding any conflict over intellectual property rights; after all, if there are no problems between the two of you then there won’t be any conflict over what belongs to whom! 

If a problem does arise anyway though and it tends to happen more often than not there are always dispute resolution processes available through organizations like The American Arbitration Association or The Better Business Bureau.

Finding the right freelance graphic designer can be a game-changer for your projects. Explore our list of 10 tips for finding the perfect freelance graphic designer to ensure you make the best choice for your creative endeavors.

13. Learn How To Negotiate Hard, But Fair

Negotiating is an art, not a science. You can’t simply follow a formula to get the best possible outcome. Negotiation is a process of giving and taking, and all parties involved should feel like they got something out of it.

Negotiations are also skills that you need to develop over time by learning from your experiences and other professionals in the field. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek advice from others when you find yourself stuck on something during a negotiation.

And remember! Negotiation isn’t war; there are rules (or at least there should be). Always keep these three things in mind:

Negotiation is NOT war and it shouldn’t feel like one! It’s about finding common ground between two parties who want different things, but who can work together for mutual benefit if they’re willing…

14. Get Some Proper Accounting Software Instead Of Relying On Excel Spreadsheets

Use accounting software. All of the pros use some kind of automated system to manage their finances, and you should too. You’ll be able to see all your numbers in one place, which will make it infinitely easier to keep track of all the details and plan for growth.

Get something right for your business. There are numerous options available from small-business-oriented services like Quickbooks Online or Wave; low-cost solutions like FreshBooks; free alternatives like Xero (which has a paid option). 

On up through larger enterprise platforms like Sage Intacct or InDinero so take some time to find something that fits with what works best for your workflow and personality. 

And remember: accounting software is only as good as how much effort you put into using it!

15. Use Social Media To Boost Your Portfolio

Using social media to help grow your freelance graphic design business is a great skill to have, and one that’s easy to start using right away. You can use social media to market what you’ve done for clients, build relationships with new clients and showcase your work.

You should start by building up an audience of people who are interested in what you do. That might mean posting about various topics related to freelance graphic design or just sharing things that inspire you from other sources (like articles or tutorials). 

It’s also important not only to know how many followers each network has but also how often those followers interact with posts from other users. If there aren’t any users interacting on Twitter then it doesn’t matter how many followers there are because no one will see them!

Once you’ve built up an audience of potential customers then it’s time for some self-promotion! This means posting updates whenever something new happens related directly to the type of work they’re looking for (for example: “I’m now accepting logo designs” when someone signs up as a client). 

Remember though: don’t spam people; otherwise, they’ll unfollow/block/report what looks like spam comments left behind by bots programmed specifically designed solely dedicated to massaging vanity needs rather than genuine human interaction which should always be encouraged.”


We hope these tips have helped you gain a clearer picture of your freelance business. Once you have all the information about how much time it takes to do each task, what tasks take up the most time, and how to get the best results for your clients, you’ll be able to see where changes need to be made to make your business run more smoothly and profitably.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to help you explore and improve your freelance graphic design business:

4 Ways to Grow Your Freelance Graphic Design Business
Discover actionable strategies to expand your freelance graphic design business and attract more clients.

Improving Business Relationships for Freelance Graphic Designers
Learn how to enhance your business relationships as a freelance graphic designer to foster client loyalty.

Graphic Designer’s Guide to Growing Your Freelance Business
Explore a comprehensive guide tailored to graphic designers, offering insights on growing your freelance business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Good Way To Start A Freelance Graphic Design Business?

There are many ways to start your own freelance graphic design business. You can take on projects for friends, family, and neighbors at first. This will allow you to gain experience and build up your portfolio of work. 

If you want to create a website, there are many free hosting sites online that will do the trick! Many people recommend starting with WordPress because it’s easy to use and they have an excellent support community if anything goes wrong with your site.

How Do I Find Clients For My Graphic Design Business?

Finding clients can be difficult at first but once you get going it’ll be easier than ever before! The key thing here is keeping yourself visible. 

Make flyers/posters/business cards etcetera that advertises exactly what services like this one offers (including prices etc) so people know who they’re talking to when they ask questions about what kind of work could be done by someone like this person). 

Also, consider advertising through social media platforms such as Twitter & Instagram since these tend toward younger audiences who may not yet have heard about how awesome this type of service is yet 😉

What Is A Freelance Graphic Designer?

A freelance graphic designer is someone who makes logos, brochures, and other promotional materials for businesses. They take existing designs and make them look better or change them completely. 

For example, you could take a boring logo and turn it into something more exciting using more interesting colors and shapes that are easier to read at a distance.

How Much Do Freelance Graphic Designers Make?

The pay can vary greatly depending on your experience level, location, and the type of work you’re doing (i.e., logo design vs. print ad). But generally speaking, you can expect to earn between $25-$35 per hour as an entry-level employee in this field sometimes even more depending on which city you live in! 

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