Being a graphic designer, you must be willing to establish yourself as a reputed professional graphic designer. When it comes to freelancing, you’d like to set off as soon as possible. The outsourcing industry is flourishing with a great pace, so is the freelance jobs.
A recent study has shown that over 56.7 million Americans freelanced in 2018. Yes, you heard it right! This number shows the potential of freelancing holds.
Setting-off on your own isn’t a big deal but it requires discipline and observant project management expertise. Lack of these skills, you would end up being overworked or underpaid.
Freelancing is both fun and fright. It includes a dozen of stages which you need to cover one-by-one to succeed. The step-by-step workflow is essential to get consistent projects, deliver on time, and get paid. It not only takes away chaos involved in the process but also helps you focus on creating great designs.
Here are ten tips to become a successful freelance graphic designer.
1) Create an impressive online portfolio
The first step to becoming a successful professional graphic designer goes through a portfolio.
If you do not have created one, it’s time to get one. Your online presence depends on a strong portfolio. Any potential client may ask you for it. Most of them would like to visit a URL to have a better idea of your work style.
Take your time to make an effective portfolio. Upload your best designs online and get a URL dedicated to it.
Avoid it, and no clients would trust you for their work.
2) Market yourself, get the words out loud
Nearly no company entity or business can survive without branding. The one that markets itself sells itself. With no logo design, an impressive portfolio, and marketing, you will fall into oblivion. Marketing is an important segment where you inform, draw, and convince your target audience that your service is valuable for them.
Who knows clients who would not buy you services straightaway may come later? It’s because branding raises awareness among clients. They know who you are and what services do you offer.
Besides, branding improves your project acquiring rates. It also builds trust among people. There are many ways by which you can brand yourself. However, the best approach is to utilize both online and offline channels.
Market yourself through social networking sites. Get a professional business card with other brand identity materials to get the message loud and clear that you are a professional graphic designer.
3) Consult and pitch
Sitting down with your client for a virtual or in-person conversation is an essential step after you’ve landed yourself a project.
A grim mistake that many freelancers make is they give the clients a free-hand to dominate the process. Such things may create problems for both of you. It’s better to talk through and focus on meeting the client’s expectations.
It’s also the stage in which you can do negotiations, set your fees, availability, and schedule a date for changes as well as deadlines. If you ignore this step, the client may come forward with all these details which might put you in an unfavorable situation.
Well, you can avoid it by building an understanding of the work a client needs. If the client has given you a brief upfront, get back to the client, and use the info as a guide for conversation. You can also ask the client for any information you don’t understand.
Once the consultation part is over, prepare a pitch. It can take many forms — from a physical presentation to a detailed brief of your initial work. It helps you show what you can offer to the client and get their agreement for the same.
Every client would like to be involved in the creative process. So it becomes essential to give them as many inputs as possible.
4) Formulate an agreement
Do you know more established businesses have a standard contract process? However, not all of them practice it for outsourcing. But, this is where the serious working goals roll in.
Clients would like to hire a freelance graphic designer but not by sidelining the professional ethics. Signing a contract is beneficial for both parties.
There is no need for a legally notarized agreement. However, it should include everything that you want to write.
Make sure your contract includes what responsibilities you wish to take along with deadlines, fees, work, and agreed terms. Also, include charges for additional work; if there’s any.
5) Use time management tools
Managing time of your project is very crucial. Slip the timeline, and no client would come to you with more projects. So to keep the agents of unmanaged work away, use time management tools. Choose ClickUp, Todoist, and other tools to break down your project into small tasks. You can also use their mobile applications for the same.
These tools organize your whole task and streamline the entire process. You can track the progress of every project and share it with your client as well.
6) Prepare with all the tools and software
Once you have cut down your project into small modules, it’s time for you to start with the preparation. Make sure you keep all the tools handy along with the software you need to finish your task. Check if the software is working because any lag in it will slow down the whole process.
For some design projects, you may need to create a prototype, wireframes, storyboards, sketches, and even do research work. Book studio time, sort out tickets and arrange meetings in advance. This will show you loopholes if any in your project.
Skip this step, and you will fall right on your face.
7) Plan small, grow bigger
Don’t hop on freelancing track with a big picture in mind. Always start small with a careful approach.
You can participate in freelance design contests put up by various crowdsourcing sites such as Designhill. There you can enter a logo contest for a particular industry or client.
If your designs are unique and creative, you may end up winning the contest. If a client gets impressed, who knows you may bag big projects from the same client in the future!
8) Be confident, don’t underestimate your creativity
Those who are optimistic reach at the pinnacle of success sooner or later. Those who believe in themselves become a successful freelancer.
If you doubt your skills or think you aren’t better than the other designer, then no one would give you projects.
If you work well, charge accordingly and show confidence that the pricing is as per your skills.
9) Keep practicing
Those who don’t keep practicing don’t learn new things. It is essential to hone your skills and master your domain.
If your work is going with a slow speed, utilize the time for some personal projects. Join designer community or group to sharpen your skills.
Practice in contests, design forums, or workshops. Nothing can replace real-life experiences.
10) Deliver on time
What keeps a successful freelance graphic designer from others is timely delivery. Those who fail to meet deadlines often lose the client’s confidence in them. It also affects their relationship.
Don’t miss your deadlines. Timely delivery is an excellent trait for freelancers, always remember that.
Be it logo design or any other graphic design needs; don’t shy away from taking help from online tools like logo maker. Such tools help you enhance your productivity while meeting deadlines.
Look, being a successful freelance designer isn’t impossible.
What all it takes is dedication, time arrangement, and process simplification.
Once you have simplified every process, there is no stopping! Follow the tips discussed earlier to streamline everything.