The 12 Step To Improve Your Freelance Design Business

If you’re anything like me, the freelance design business was a big change from being an employee. 

As exciting as it is to work for yourself and get paid what you’re truly worth, there is a learning curve to becoming your boss. That’s why I’ve put together this list of tips for running a successful freelance design business.

How To Start Your Freelance Graphic Design Career – YouTube
Key Takeaways
1. Implement a structured approach to enhance your freelance design business.
2. Prioritize continuous skill improvement and stay updated with industry trends.
3. Build a strong online presence through an impressive portfolio and branding.
4. Develop effective communication skills to interact with clients and peers.
5. Balance creativity with business acumen to achieve sustainable success.
6. Network with fellow designers and professionals for collaboration opportunities.
7. Embrace technology tools that streamline project management and workflow.
8. Cultivate a growth mindset to adapt to changes and embrace new challenges.
9. Efficiently manage time and set realistic goals for optimal productivity.
10. Provide excellent customer service to foster long-term client relationships.
11. Understand pricing strategies to ensure fair compensation for your work.
12. Seek feedback and continuously iterate to refine your design processes.

1. Create An Efficient Business Website

Your website will be your first point of contact with potential clients. It’s important to make it clear what you do and how you can help them from the get-go. Include a clear call to action that explains what visitors should do next, such as “Click here for more information!” or “Contact me today!”

You should also include your contact information so the person visiting your site knows how they can reach out to you if they want more information. 

Make sure it’s easy for them to find this information by having a prominent button or link that says “Contact Me,” “About Me,” or similar so they don’t have too much trouble getting in touch with you.

Your website should allow viewers/visitors/customers (call them whatever) an easy way to navigate through all of its pages without confusion or frustration on their part. 

This is why many freelancers use scrolling menus at the top of their websites instead of large blocks of text that force visitors into awkward jumping back and forth between pages just because one word was misspelled somewhere down below somewhere else entirely different paragraph about something not even remotely related but still somehow relevant nonetheless.”

Building a successful freelance graphic design career requires careful planning and strategy. Discover the essential steps in our guide on How to Become a Freelance Graphic Designer in 10 Steps to set yourself on the path to creative independence.

2. Create A Compelling Portfolio That Shows Your Skillset

When you are looking for freelance design jobs, having a portfolio of your work is crucial. It may seem like a lot of work to create a portfolio but it will be worth it in the end. 

You want to show potential clients that you know how to do what they need to be done and how much better off they will be when they hire you instead of someone else. Your portfolio should include:

  • A cover page
  • Your contact info (website, email address, phone number)
  • The names and descriptions of all of your past clients (with links to their websites)
  • Samples of each type of project you have worked on (examples only!)

The content within your portfolio should demonstrate your skills and expertise in different areas such as typography, logo design, illustration, or photography. This allows potential clients to see if they need anything specific done by checking out samples from categories relevant to them. 

If possible include an article/blog post if that is part of what makes up much more than half of your business at this point don’t worry about having enough content for now; just get started with one or two pieces so people can find them easily later on down the line when things get busy again!

3. Gather Testimonials And Reviews From Past Clients

Reviews are one of the best ways to build trust with potential clients, so you must have a few on hand ready to share. 

You can use your website or portfolio site to publish these reviews, and they don’t even have to belong just make sure they’re honest! If a client has given you an honest review, be sure to respond in kind by thanking them for their feedback.

Continuous improvement is key to thriving as a freelance designer. Explore our article on 15 Ways to Become a Better Freelance Designer for practical tips and insights that can help elevate your design skills and business acumen.

4. Make Your Business Cards Awesome And Memorable

A business card is one of the best ways to make an impression on potential clients. Whether you are handing out cards at a convention or meeting new clients at a networking event, your card will be something that they have and can reflect on later.

When designing your business cards, think about how you would feel if someone handed this to you and what kind of association it would make them think about you. Do they remember how much fun it was talking to me? 

Or do they remember that I was generally rude and unprofessional? What colors were used in the design? How big/small was the font size? Do I want my name spelled out in full words or abbreviated as just initials? These are all things you need to keep in mind when choosing what kind of information goes on your card.

5. Have A Clear And Effective Process

Your process is the backbone of your business. It’s how you will deliver results and how you’ll get paid. You need to have a clear and effective process so that you can work with clients effectively.

This means having a step-by-step plan for clients to follow, as well as a clear idea of the time frame that your services take. 

A good way to do this is by breaking down each stage into a separate project (or mini-project), which makes it easy for both parties to understand what needs to be done at what point in the process, and when they will receive their finished product.

6. Figure Out How You Want To Get Paid, And When

It’s important to know how you want to get paid, and when. This will help you make sure your client understands the process and what they need to do. It also helps you prepare for the financial side of running your business.

It’s great if you can offer payment plans or installments if needed, but you mustn’t make yourself more vulnerable than necessary by doing so. If someone only has a credit card on them during a meeting and offers it as payment, don’t be afraid to say no! 

You might lose a potential client over this (and maybe even hurt your business), but it’s better than being scammed out of thousands of dollars later down the line because someone took advantage of your good nature when they didn’t have any cash on them at the time of payment.

Embark on your freelance graphic design journey with the right strategies. Learn how to start your freelance graphic design career and create a sustainable income stream while doing what you love.

7. Create A Consistent Online Presence (Blog, Social Media Accounts, Etc.)

Your online presence is an important part of building a successful freelance design business. It’s not just about creating a website, but also developing social media accounts and other digital assets that will help you grow your business.

A blog is one of the most powerful tools you can use to build an online presence for your design business. A blog provides a place for you to share insights related to your industry, showcase recent work, and offer helpful tips for designers looking to learn more about their field. 

Blogging helps build trust with potential clients because it shows them what kind of designer you are: 

Someone who cares enough about their profession that they take time out of their busy day (or night) to write about what matters most: making great designs! 

In addition, blogging provides an opportunity for writers such as yourself to get into contact with others in the same field as yourself which may lead to new opportunities down the line – perhaps even partnerships or collaborations between companies within this niche market space?

Blogging helps establish credibility with clients and potential customers by showing off some past work while also providing them with insights into how creative processes work behind closed doors within different organizations around the world. 

Moreover, blogging allows readers/viewers access to some aspects which might otherwise go unnoticed in regard to creative process development (i..e., brainstorming sessions). This gives companies involved access to insight into how things operate internally at other firms which may result in better practices being adopted across industries overall!

8. Master The Art Of Client Communication

Communication is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business. Your client needs to know what you are doing for them and when they can expect the work. You also need to keep up with what’s happening on their end, so that you can adjust your schedule accordingly.

It’s important to communicate early and often with clients as things come up that require adjustments in workflow or deadlines. This will make sure everyone is aware of any changes, which will lessen the chance of last-minute surprises when it comes time to deliver the final products.

Balancing freelance life requires efficient communication. Discover 10 Ways to Improvise Your Freelance Life with Emails and learn how effective email management can boost productivity and streamline your workflow.

9. Be Super Organized In Your Business

Project management tool: A good project management tool can help you stay on top of all the moving parts of your business. It will allow you to keep track of your resources, clients, and deadlines without having to rely on your memory or other people in your company (who may not be as organized). 

If a client has a deadline coming up, but they haven’t given you enough time to complete it the PM tool will remind them that this is happening so they can let you know if there are any changes.

Time tracking tool: Having access to how much time each job takes is imperative for making sure that you’re getting paid fairly for every hour worked. This enables more accurate estimates and more profitable projects overall! 

The same goes for billing clients it helps ensure that everyone involved gets what they deserve from each interaction.

Accounting software: Most freelancers don’t like accounting because it feels tedious at best; downright overwhelming at worst! 

But guess what? You don’t have to do it yourself! There are plenty of great accounting tools out there just waiting for someone like yourself who would rather spend their energy growing the business than being bogged down by paperwork so make sure yours includes these features:

10. Set Goals For Yourself And Stay Accountable To Them

You need to set specific goals. This is a general tip for almost any aspect of life. For example, if you want to lose weight, it’s not enough just to say “I want to lose weight.” 

To make sure you’re on the right track and know what’s working well for you, your goal statement needs to be more specific: “I will lose 10 lbs by July 1st” or “My goal is for my waistline measurements to decrease by 2 inches in six weeks.”

A good goal should also be measurable so that you can tell when you’ve achieved it for example, if I said my goal was “to become more healthy,” how would I know whether or not I had accomplished my goal? 

However, if instead, I said something like “In two months I want my resting heart rate (RHR) readings to decrease from 81 beats per minute (bpm) down into the 70s,” then this means something real and measurable has been achieved.

Setting realistic goals is also important because otherwise setting them may not motivate us enough to us achieve them. 

If we set an unrealistic target date as our deadline but with no realistic plan/strategy/schedule then there is little chance we’ll meet those deadlines without some sort of external intervention happening first like someone coming along who forces us into action out of sheer desperation!

  • Network with other designers outside of your business too.
  • Join online communities like Dribbble, Behance, and LinkedIn.
  • Network with other designers by attending events like conferences and meetups.
  • Be a mentor to aspiring designers (you can give them advice or help them with their portfolio).
  • Collaborate with other designers on projects (this is a great way for you to learn new skills).
  • Contribute to design news sites (this will increase your exposure and make it easier for clients to find you).

11. Build Relationships With Clients Instead Of One-Time Transactions

When you’re starting, it’s easy to view your clients as one-time transactions. You’re doing work for them and they’re paying for it. That’s it. 

But to build a strong business that thrives over time, you need to build relationships with your clients instead of viewing them as generic objects who will come and go from your life forever once their project is complete.

If you view your client as a person rather than an object, then they become more than just another transaction on the books; they become part of the family (or at least part of your family). 

And when someone becomes part of your family, there’s much more at stake than just getting paid you want them to be happy with their service or product because if not then how can we ever expect them to refer us?

Mastering client relationships is essential for freelance graphic designers. Dive into The Ultimate Guide to Freelance Graphic Design Clients Success to gain insights into building strong client partnerships and achieving sustained success in the design industry.

12. Don’t Just Be A Freelance Designer; Be A Successful One!

You’re a freelance designer! And you’re on your way to being successful, but there’s still room for improvement. It’s time to take the next step and become a full-on professional with this guide on how to be a successful freelance design business. 

We’ll cover everything from setting up your first client meeting, finding jobs, improving your work, and maintaining good relationships with clients until it’s time for them to leave for good.


You can get started right now by creating and re-affirming your goals and business plan for the year ahead. Then, you can set clear priorities for yourself to improve your freelance design business. 

Make sure that you take time to learn new skills, limit distractions, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Most importantly, remember that this is a journey so don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone to grow! Good luck!

Further Reading

Expand your knowledge and enhance your freelance design business with these valuable resources:

Success Strategies for Freelancers: Explore proven techniques and insights to achieve success in your freelance career.

Scaling Your Freelance Business: Learn how to effectively scale and grow your freelance business for long-term success.

Growing Your Freelance Design Business: Discover practical tips and strategies to take your freelance design business to the next level.


How To Get Started As A Freelancer?

You’ll need to set up your freelance business and file the necessary paperwork with the government, which includes registering for an individual tax number, getting health care coverage, and securing a social security number or alternative identification. Once these steps are complete, it’s time to start looking for clients!

How Do I Find Clients?

There are many places where you can find potential clients such as online job boards like Upwork or Freelance Finders (formerly Elance). You can also use social media platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter where people in your industry are more apt to be hanging out so you can network with them directly instead of just blindly posting ads on Craigslist (don’t!). 

Another option is asking friends who might know someone looking for some design help themselves even if they don’t hire us right away we will still add them on LinkedIn just so we have another contact there who knows us personally too!

How Do I Improve My Freelance Design Business?

The first step to improving your freelance design business is to make sure you have a good understanding of the basics. If you don’t already have one, we recommend getting a copy of “The Entrepreneurial Designer: A Guide To Starting A Design Business” by Jeff Bogle. 

This book will give you all of the information that you need about starting and maintaining your own successful design business. 

It will also help prepare you for many of the challenges that face any business owner, including how to set up an LLC or Corporation (if applicable), how much money it costs to start up a new company, and how much work goes into running one!

How Do I Become A Freelance Designer?

If becoming an entrepreneur isn’t something that interests you at this point in your life but still wants some extra cash flow while working with clients on projects then being a freelancer might be right for your situation! 

There are lots of options out there when thinking about what kind of project would fit best with yours – here are just a few ideas:

How Do I Get Freelance Design Jobs Online?

There are two ways to approach this: finding freelance design work and marketing your business for those jobs. To find freelance design work, you can search job boards like Dribbble and Behance for available opportunities. 

Once you’ve found what looks like a good fit for you, apply! If you don’t want to go through that process yourself, many sites connect freelancers with clients you can even find them on Craigslist or in your local paper (if it still exists). Or if all else fails, Craigslist will have something no matter where in the world you live!

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