Have you ever thought of becoming a successful freelance graphic designer?
Nothing is impossible. Even a freelancer can deliver the best work than professionals who have worked in a big company for a long time.
The only thing that becomes the obstacle of the biggest challenge might be how you introduce yourself to the world. Personal branding is crucial for a freelance designer.
So, what steps should you take to brand yourself? How will you let the world know who you are? In this article, we have several things you can follow to become a successful designer.
What to Do to Become a Successful Freelance Graphic Designer
Freelancing is like the fresh air you breathe in while you are in the Maldives for a vacation. You don't have to deal with routines that trap you in a monotonous life, while you can follow your passion and earn money at the same time. Taking your hobby as a job will give you a high level of satisfaction and excitement while doing it. It is like a golden ticket to entrepreneurship.
Everyone is a natural entrepreneur for sure. And you don't have to be born with a talent to be a graphic designer. However, you have to manage your skill and nurture it to make money out of your hobby. Whether you take a degree in graphic design or taught yourself to be a designer, you have to put tons of effort into turning your daily hobby into a successful business.
Graphic Design Business
We can say that graphic design is a fast-growing industry nowadays. The demand is high and skyrocketing from time to time. From promotional needs to marketing collaterals, the presence of designers would be highly needed. Thus, a graphic designer is popular in the last decade.
It also makes many people want to become one. The flexible work hours and creative requirements make this job highly desired. Thus, you have a higher level of competitors in case you plan to become one too. But no need to worry. We have several tips you can follow to be a unique and creative designer and being able to show yourself to the world. All you need to do is to read this article thoroughly.
1. Get the First Client by Using Your Contact
The first thing you can do to let the world know how excellent you are is by contacting people you know. Letting people know your decision about being a freelance designer is the first step to make a statement about who you are to the world.
When you tell your friends that you are now an independent designer, they could also help you spread the word to their other friends or connections that may need your service. Other than that, be sure to state that you are willing to take projects right away.
Why should you contact everyone you know first? Because by contacting your peers, it is more likely you will start getting new projects earlier and easier. Having enough projects and experiences in the early state will help to develop the quality of your portfolio sooner. And the more qualified your portfolio is, the more people will connect you to their networks as references. Without you realizing it, it will go on like a snowball effect, and it will get easier for you to grow in times.
2. Brand Yourself
As mentioned earlier, personal branding is crucial when you have decided to work as a freelancer. The competition is tight from time to time, which requires you to stand out and be unique at the same time.
Once you have handled a few clients, this might be the right time to think about other elements you want to show off as a graphic designer. You can start by giving a name to yourself. Word of mouth for a freelance graphic designer is crucial and effective.
Using your name for the company name is excellent if you plan to be a one-person business forever. Meanwhile, you better consider a company name if you plan to make a bigger graphic design company. This one is your call.
3. Make a Business Plan
Some people would make a business plan as their first step to become a successful freelance designer. However, you can go to this step after establishing the first two steps above.
Making a business plan is one of the important ingredients to become successful. Even successful designers or business owners still make business plans ahead. Writing down your business plan helps acknowledge possible challenges and crucial issues. Once you know what to expect from being a freelancer, you can plan your strategy to find eligible partners and investors.
More than anything, a business plan is the blueprint of a company. Whether you will start on your own or create a small startup business, be sure to make a proper business plan in the first place.
4. Competitor Research
Keep in mind that you will always have to find your key competitors. Freelancing is such a flexible and versatile work field. Thus, many people have so much opportunity to compete in the market and trying their best to stand out.
To become a successful freelance designer, you should be aware of the competition. You don't have to copy what your rivals do, but it is essential to find where your voice leads you in this job.
Maintaining your position in the freelance world requires skills and patience. As a freelance graphic designer, you have to consider share, trade, and exchange information at all times to progress and become an even better designer in the future.
At some point, your rivals will be your friends. Having friends who work in the same field or joining a community will make you feel supported for sure. Thus, consider always share what you know about the industry with your community.
5. Behave Professionally
We all believe that we are the expert and know about everything when it comes to designing. On the other hand, your clients will think that they know what's best for the project. They will describe their opinion about any work and all job they asked you to complete.
Keep in mind that communication is crucial to be a successful freelance designer. You need to deliver efficient and friendly customer support, even though sometimes it means you have to listen to complaints multiple times.
How to behave professionally? You better keep your temper in front of the clients and be sure not to backtalk about any of them. Other than that, you must keep the relationship as professional as possible. Patience is the key, even though it seems difficult when it comes to negotiation.
6. Over-deliver for your clients
Your client's happiness is crucial for you. At some point, you may need to over-deliver the work to maintain your connection with clients. Why should you do that in the first place?
You cannot be a successful freelance designer without tons of repetitive works. As mentioned earlier, being a professional freelancer takes time and effort. The more effort you are putting in, the more satisfied your clients are, and the more possibility they will come back for the more following projects.
Besides, it is fun to have a regular client or recurring revenue when you work as a freelance designer. When your clients are happy, you get more referrals for them. References and connections help a lot when it comes to building a steady freelance job.
7. Don't Be a Picky Designer
At some point, you may feel like a client or job is not too exciting. Several experts who have been in the freelancing world for a long time might be able and have the position to choose their clients. However, if you just started in the industry, it is better if you take every opportunity you can grab.
A successful freelance designer can handle almost anything. By handling different kinds of graphic designing tasks, you will have a more comprehensive skill set to be used for any possible opportunity. You can also use it to enrich your portfolio, as it is crucial to showcase your ability.
8. Build Your Network
Networking is undeniably important. Before becoming a successful freelance designer, you even need to nurture your network from the beginning. Connections and networking are essential to building a strong freelance career.
You may have a series of excellent works to show to people. However, this may not be sustainable if you don't widen your network and connect with new contacts. Building a network might be tiring, but it will make your business more sustainable. Network and connections are available everywhere. All you need to do is to find a way to utilize your network.
9. Always Hunt For New Clients
Freelancers must prepare for all possibilities. Some seasons are like feasts, considering there are tons of works to be done. However, the next season could drop significantly. A successful freelance designer also faces this kind of issue. Besides keeping your finances as manageable as possible, you have to find new clients from time to time.
You might need to handle extra work, considering many clients lead to tons of things to complete. More than anything, your clients are the ones that will keep your business alive. Of course, it takes much effort to become a successful designer. Hunting for new clients is also part of the hustle. Besides working on your graphic designing skills, you can make time to perfect SEO, networking, or anything that boosts your visibility.
10. Keep Your Finances Clean
Budgeting is also crucial for a successful freelance designer. You won't wander into the freelancer industry smoothly without proper financial planning in the long run. Keeping your finance as clean as possible might sound easy. However, finance can lead you to problems if you don't manage it properly.
It is essential to always pay your bills regularly, which you can do by determining dedicated dates to make payment. As a freelancer, you will face so many ups and downs moments. The money is good when everything is up. Meanwhile, you have to prepare everything when the season is low. By implementing budgeting, your finances will be tidy and stable.
11. Keep Train Your Skills
Becoming a successful freelance designer can be a long way. Yet, it is not a riddle at all. While finishing your current projects as a designer, you can hone your skill at the same time.
Whether you are a formally-trained or self-taught graphic designer, it is essential to deliver quality results consistently. Without an honest assessment, you would never know which area to be improved.
Why is it essential to enrich your skillset? A wider skillset allows you to pick more clients and possibilities. You can consider few other areas such as image editing, 3D modeling, infographics, logos, website banners, and illustrations. The list might look exhausting, but the impact will be huge for your career. You always have to keep pushing yourself to become a successful freelance graphic designer.
12. Be Consistent
Creating a brand and defining the rules will help you know what you look for and what to expect when becoming a freelance graphic designer. Once all those things above are met, you have to face the hardest part of working on your own, which is consistency.
Even professionals would take time to maintain consistency, so you should also start building this from the beginning of your career. Sticking to the plan is an excellent start to be a persistent freelance designer, regardless of the circumstance. There would be a time when you feel like not following the routines you have set. But that's okay for once in a while. But keep in mind that becoming a successful designer takes time, effort, and consistency in the long run.
Above are the essential tips and tricks on developing yourself to become a successful freelance graphic designer in the modern days. As an independent professional, it is critical to know who you are to be a well-known designer. What makes you different from other designers? And how can you stand out from the additional billions of online freelancers? You have to build a strategy and create a business plan because freelance is a business at the end of the day. Besides improving your skills, you should provide an adequate portfolio so potential clients can discover your talent.