Business & Entrepreneurship

15 Steps to Starting your Own Freelance Graphic Design Business!

Freelancing is one of the most lucrative methods to work from home. You skip the commute, you schedule your own work. You can replace the income of your full time job, or create a second income with a only few freelance clients.

1. Build your portfolio

This is a key aspect for every freelancer. Every designer should have a vast portfolio showcasing their work.

Whether it’s previous work from other clients, or personal projects, showing off your best designs is a MUST when coming to the table! There are many tools available to you, to develop a professional looking portfolio for FREE!

Use a site like DesignBold, and create a beautiful portfolio within minutes.

2. Create a website

On top of having a good looking portfolio, you should have a website! Not only will this give your business a sense of professionalism, it will show your potential clients that you’re capable of creating unified aesthetics/designs.

Resist the urge to go crazy with your graphics on this site. Create a page on your site, specifically for the portfolio you made previously, and let your designs do the talking there. Leave room for your work to speaker louder than your actual website.

3. Develop a Social Media Presence!

A social media presence is REALLY important for freelance graphic design artists! Technically, it’s pretty important for just about any business but freelancers especially!

Social media is a place where you can: Show off your designs, Find clients, Get inspiration from other designers, ask for advice, promote yourself, post content, run sales and more!

So get on social media and start posting!

4. Read Up!

In the age of information, you can learn just about anything from online tutorials, and articles alone! Whether it’s innovative styles, design techniques, tips tricks or trends.

There are countless resources for designers that are entirely FREE or cost-effective. Beginners can pick up methods to make relevant, and eye catching designs like the pros.

Jump start your freelancing career by learning the basics, not from a classroom, but from other designers.

5. Prepare your “Arsenal”

Every designers should make sure they have the proper programs in their tool-belt. Outdated software can complicate the process and set you behind the competition.

Knowing how to use these software’s is also part of the battle. Dive into the YouTube tutorials, and forums, learn the keyboard shortcuts, bring your designs to life, and make your life a whole lot easier.

DISCLAIMER: High end, expensive design software is definitely not a necessity there are many free resources available to designers that can produce similar designs!

6. Dive in!

Once you have your website, your portfolio, and all you software up to date, it’s time to “Take the Plunge”. This is when you start searching for clients! One of the best, and most effective ways to find clients, is outreach!

Be prepared to send, send, SEND! You will definitely be direct messaging more people than you’ll actually work with. And always remember, never be afraid of rejection! It’s all apart of the process.

If someone doesn’t need or want your services, move on to the next prospect! You’ll start to get more comfortable with the process, this is a key part of standing

7. Never work for free

Just because it’s called “Freelancing” does not mean you should work for free.  Giving away your valuable hours is not ideal. You’ve worked hard to be where you are, don’t lessen your worth by handing out free work!

That’s not to say you can’t throw out a freebie in here and there, or do a giveaway, or exchange your services for others. But don’t get into the habit of giving away work without a price tag attached. Know your worth and don’t be afraid to turn down jobs that refuse to pay you properly.

8. Experiment!

When starting out, experiment with your designs! Create as many different designs as you can. Social media banners ( Twitters, Facebook, Youtube), blog graphics, Content for influencers, ads for businesses, you name it!

Test yourself! If there’s something you don’t think you can make, try it anyway! That way if a client asks for it in the future, you’ll be ready.

9. Know your client

You’ll develop a feel for your clients needs as you continue to work. Whether it’s one project, or ongoing work. You can clearly tell when a client’s business is professional or something more relaxed.

Tailor to your clients design needs! Take time to learn who you are working for and their taste in design!

10. Manage your time wisely

As a freelancer your time is your most valuable asset. Adjust your prices for projects based on the time it will take. This is why practicing you designs before hand is important so you know the time each type of graphic will take.

Charging according to your time is also an effective way to avoid burnout. If you’re creating hundreds of graphics for dirt cheap, you will be burnt-out way quicker than if you’re creating a handful of designs for a higher price.

Simply put, MANAGE YOUR TIME WISELY.

11. Never stop Learning

The best way to get a leg up on your competitors, is to always be learning. New techniques, new styles, new tools etc. Take time to develop your skills, master them, get an edge on your market.

This will also keep your job fresh, rewarding, and most importantly, FUN!

12. Promote yourself Daily

This goes hand in hand with having a social media presence. You should be showcasing your designs and offers daily! If you’re not posting your offers on social media, how can you expect to get any clients?

Make your offers irresistible, showcase your designs, add a price tag, and spread awareness! Want to learn more about creating your offer, pricing your offer, DMing prospects, and where to find them? Click here. 

13. Seek inspiration

There are many different ways and places you can go to get inspiration for your designs. Take a look at what other websites/designers are doing with their graphics. Find what works for other people and copy it! There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. However, and this is import, be sure to add your on twist/ideas to your “copied” designs.

Look on blogs like CreativeBoom , Medium, or even Canva has their own sections for tips and advice. Finding what designs are popular on pinterest, and other social platforms and mimicking those designs is a great way to gain inspiration and find your own style.

14. Don’t bite off more than you can Chew!

If you’re currently working with multiple clients, doing design work. Know your limits. Sometimes you won’t be able to take on another client because you’re too busy with your others, and that is okay.

Yes I know it’s hard to turn away a client, especially when you’re a freelancer, because of the money. But you don’t want to overwhelm yourself, and not be able to perform your best for your clients because there’s too much on your mind.

15. Be patient!

You probably won’t be successful right away, and that’s okay! Building up a successful online business, takes a lot of time, effort, and hard work. But there are many tools available to you to make it easier.

As long as you’re consistent, and disciplined you will be successful! Stick the the tips and tricks listed, and you’ll be there in no time.

The wrap

By now it should be pretty obvious to you that Freelance graphic design, is a simple yet effective way to start making money online. So go forth a prosper, start a second or main source of income. Scour the internet, spend hours of time looking through tutorials and lists of softwares.

Or get this  straightforward guide that will breakdown the basics of graphic design. Whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been struggling to find clients, this guide will help increase your income, and show you the way of freelancing. Learn more Here.

Use code: tasteful for $10 off at checkout!

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