Freelance graphic designing is a completely different phenomenon in itself. It is different than a regular salaried designing job, 360 degrees. It is a prevailing trend among the graphic designing community. Many experienced salaried designers are turning to freelance graphic designing and even a good number of fresh graduates are starting their career as freelancers.
Like every other thing in the universe, freelance graphic designing has its own advantages as well as disadvantages. This field of profession can be very rewarding. You are your own boss, you are not stuck in an office, and there is really no limit of your potential earning. However, at the same time, it is not bed of roses as well. Before you begin to think about becoming a freelance graphic designer (or even if you are in this field), you should keep the following simple tips in mind:
Be Passionate About Your Work
This is a universal law, that in order to be successful in anything you do, you’ll have to be passionate about it. Especially in freelance designing business, where you don’t have a boss to motivate you, your passion for your work should be the source of your motivation. If you are an employee of some company, it’s easy to do your 9 to 5 job and then leave it behind for the next day.
Well, in freelancing, this should not be the attitude. To be a successful freelancer, you need to have an excitement for what you do. Passion will be that driving force that’ll keep you working till late night. Equally passion will keep you focused and it is quite possible that this same thing that will guarantee your success.
Keep Learning New Things
Graphic designing is a multi-disciplinary skill that is as broad as it is deep. Every new day brings in new ideas or techniques and often it is hard to keep pace. So, it is good to be endlessly inquisitive and always wanting to keep learning the latest trends and technologies. Flush the web, reading every single piece of information about the newbies of the field. A freelance graphic designer should love what he does and constantly learn how to do it even better.
Make a Perfect Portfolio
As a freelancer, it is neither your face nor your resume that will tap the interest of your clients. It is basically, a portfolio that will speak for your talents and skills in the field. The decision-making of your clients depends highly on your portfolio. However, when I talk about a portfolio, I am certainly not referring to the point that just any portfolio can do the magic spell on your client.
Your portfolio needs to be a perfect one. Also, in this regard, put your best foot forward by filtering out your best-of-the-best work and then putting it in the portfolio. If you have been doing 360 degree campaigns, case studies may be the better way to go. A good case study will allow you to explain your involvement with the project, justify the decisions you made and demonstrate how you contributed to the success of the project. People are very visual, so portfolios are a much easier prospect for designers to nail a project.
Network Your Way to Success
Networking is perhaps the easiest way to catch the business as a freelance graphic designer. ‘Charity begins at home’ and so when you start out your freelance business let all of your friends and family know what you are doing. Ask if they know anybody who needs your services and whether they would be kind enough to introduce you.
Events like the local chamber of commerce are a great way to meet potential customers or gain those all important referrals. Also consider contracting directly with a design house or advertising agency. Such organizations are always on the lookout for reliable freelancers, often at a very short notice. These agencies do the hard work of finding and managing clients, leaving you to get on and do what you’re best at.
Networking is an interesting thing to do for a freelancer, which usually involves hanging out with people in your industry, sharing your stories and occasionally getting some work out of it.
Manage Your Time
As a freelancer, you don’t have any direct authority over your head to continuously push you to do meet the deadlines in time. So you need to make sure you manage your time well and meet the project deadlines efficiently. Your time management should be balanced means you should neither do over-time 365 days a year nor sit idle most of the time.
Also, make sure people know the difference between your work time and your personal time. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you are available 24/7 for your client. One benefit of being a freelancer is being your own boss, so make use of this liberty and be both strict and fair with your time.
Be Well Organized
Like any other business, you really have to be organized in freelance graphic designing as well. This starts from the way you organize your files on your computer, all the way you store printed materials. Losing a client’s important documents or work is just not acceptable. The last thing you want to have is a bad name and the best way to avoid it is to be organized in everything you do.
Maintain Good Reputation
One of the best ways of becoming a successful freelancer is to become the person people want to do business with. This means that you need to build and then maintain a good reputation as a person and as a professional among your clients and in your industry. If you are successful in building a solid reputation, the clients will come to you, instead of you going after them.
You can do this by doing great work and meeting the deadlines efficiently. Another way of build your reputation is by sharing your experiences and knowledge through writing articles, blogging and speaking at local events. By building your reputation as an expert, people will be happy using your services and recommending you to others.
Defend, but don’t Go Defensive
Always be fully prepared to defend yourself and your design in front of the client; however, do so without being defensive. Actually, whenever you present your design to the client, chances are that you will get some feedback you do not agree with (frankly, sometimes it could really damage the integrity of the design). Your selling talent here will be not let your clients do or say something bad to your work in a peaceful manner. Of course, I am not telling you to roll over on major design decisions, but do take care without getting defensive. Do not let your ego get in the way of your success. When it comes to the smaller stuff, go ahead and let the client win and fight those only worth fighting. A defensive attitude will clearly result in damaging your credibility and the designs as well.
Sell Your Designs Well
To succeed in freelance graphic design, you will have to market and sell yourself, your reputation and your designs to the client. This can be done by a number of ways including word of mouth, advertising in the newspaper, news groups, forums, and by the help of the clients who are happy with your work. The best way to get started is by doing work for people that you know and the ones who know you. This way, you will be able to gauge your potential for less known clients and ultimately will be able to sell well.