The world of freelance graphic design is one with many ups and downs, but one thing is certain – getting paid to do something you love through graphic design can be an amazing career path. As an artist, you need to stay focused on your craft.
Getting better at the design rather than having to worry about building your freelance business. That is why we put together this comprehensive guide. We want you to make the most out of your freelance graphic design career, so here is your guide to get started and grow an awesome freelance design career or side-hustle.
Part One: Building the Foundation
One of the best things about freelance graphic design is that you can start your own business with relatively little overhead. You don’t need to invest in a lot of equipment or software, and you can work from anywhere with an internet connection.
However, just like any other profession, there are some things you need to do to set yourself up for success.
First and foremost, you need to build a strong portfolio that showcases your skills and style. Think about the kind of work you want to be doing and make sure your portfolio reflects that.
If you want to focus on logo design for SaaS companies, that is what your portfolio should consist of. If you want to design band posters and t-shirts for the music industry, then what you publish online should reflect that.
If you don’t have a portfolio, then start one. Just use your sketches and what you have been working on for fun to sharpen your skills. They don’t need to be commercial brands or something you have been paid for, they just need to show your prospective clients what you are made of.
You will eventually want to build a website, but a free and totally worthwhile place to start would be Instagram or other sites like Dribble. There are dozens of portfolio sites out there, so pick a few and start publishing your work. Don’t be shy, get your ass out there, and show the world what you’ve got.
Identify Your Niche Or Style
Next, you need to identify your target market or niche. This is an extension of what we just discussed. You don’t need to decide and commit to any particular industry, and it is usually a good idea to start broad, but you do want to take what you know about your artistic style and apply that to particular industries.
If you are clean and modern, there there are plenty of SaaS or services-based companies out there that need logos, brochures, website graphics, and more.
If you are edgier and have a grungier style, then as we mentioned above, perhaps the music and entertainment industries is where you need to be.
Ultimately you need to ask who are the clients or businesses that you want to work with? What kind of work do they need? You don’t have to pigeonhole yourself, but it can be helpful early on in your career to focus on a particular type of client or project so that you can build up a strong body of work in that area.
Finally, you need to start making some connections. Get involved in your local design community and online design forums and groups. Attend meetups and conferences. Follow industry leaders on social media.
The more people you know, the more likely it is that you’ll hear about opportunities or be able to network your way into a great gig.
There is a reason why you keep hearing your network is a direct reflection of your net worth.
Part Two: Getting Started with Clients
Now that you have a strong foundation for your freelance graphic design business, it’s time to start working with clients!
The best way to find work as a freelancer is through personal relationships and networking. As we mentioned before, getting involved in the design community is a great way to make connections that can lead to work.
But don’t stop there – reach out to your friends, family, and acquaintances and let them know that you’re a freelance designer. When people need design work done, they’ll think of you first!
Another great way to find clients is through online marketplaces and job boards. There are a lot of these platforms out there, but be careful not to apply for every job that comes up – it’s important to only take on projects that fit with your skill set and interests. Also, make sure you have a strong portfolio and pitch ready to go before applying for any job.
Finally, don’t be afraid to cold call or email potential clients. This can be a great way to land some high-quality projects, but you need to make sure that your pitch is well written and professional.
Once you have a few clients under your belt, it’s important to keep them happy by delivering high-quality work on time and within budget. Stay in touch with them throughout the project and always be available for questions or revisions. And of course, don’t forget to ask for referrals!
Part Three: Keep Building Your Dreams
Don’t stop here. Once you start to see some success don’t let it go to your head. Keep progressing, keep pushing your skills to the next level, keep networking, keep calling on the big companies you really want to work for!
There is no finish line in freelancing, but that’s a good thing! It means you can keep building your dream business for as long as you want. Remember to enjoy the ride!
So there you have it – everything you need to know about how to become a freelance graphic designer. Just remember to start networking, identify your niche or style, and get involved in the design community. And always keep pushing yourself to be better!
If you found this guide useful, we have a great resource for you that digs into this and much more and it is totally free. Simply sign up for our kick-ass newsletter and get a free copy of the Ultimate Freelancing Blueprint!