10 tips to get started as a freelance graphic designer:
Tip #1 Develop a strong portfolio:
Your portfolio is your showcase of work and it’s crucial to have a diverse and strong body of work that showcases your skills and expertise. Start by creating a portfolio website and update it regularly with your latest projects.
- Behance (https://www.behance.net/) - a popular platform for showcasing your work.
- Dribbble (https://dribbble.com/) - a community of designers where you can showcase your work and connect with others in the industry.
- Adobe Portfolio (https://portfolio.adobe.com/) - a simple and easy-to-use platform for creating a portfolio website.
Tip # 2: Define your niche:
Identify the types of design projects you are passionate about and specialize in. This will help you target your ideal clients and differentiate yourself from other freelancers.
- CreativeLive (https://www.creativelive.com/) - offers online courses on various design topics to help you find your niche.
- Skillshare (https://www.skillshare.com/) - another online learning platform that offers courses on design and other creative topics.
- Design blogs and websites like Creative Bloq (https://www.creativebloq.com/) or Smashing Magazine (https://www.smashingmagazine.com/) can also give you insight into different niches in design.
Tip # 3: Establish your pricing
Determine your pricing strategy based on your experience, skills, and market demand. Research industry rates and adjust your pricing accordingly.
- Freelancer's Union (https://www.freelancersunion.org/) - offers a rate calculator to help you determine your pricing based on industry standards and your location.
- How to Price Design Services (https://www.creativeboom.com/tips/how-to-price-design-services/) - an article that provides tips on how to establish your pricing.
Tip # 4: Network
Attend local industry events and join online design communities to build your network. Connect with other freelancers, agencies, and potential clients to expand your reach and increase your chances of finding work.
- Meetup (https://www.meetup.com/) - a platform that helps you find and attend local industry events.
- LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/) - a professional networking site that can help you connect with potential clients or collaborators.
- Slack communities like Designer Hangout (https://www.designerhangout.co/) or Ladies Who Design (https://ladieswhodesign.com/) - can help you connect with other designers and ask for advice.
Tip # 5: Market yourself
Develop a marketing plan that includes tactics such as social media, email marketing, and advertising. Leverage your portfolio to showcase your work and attract potential clients.
- Canva (https://www.canva.com/) - a simple design tool that can help you create social media graphics, email newsletters, and other marketing materials.
- Mailchimp (https://mailchimp.com/) - a popular email marketing platform you can use to create newsletters
- 99 Designs (https://99designs.com/ - become a designer on 99 designs to build your portfolio and find clients
Tip # 6: Communicate effectively
Clear communication is key in building strong relationships with clients. Make sure you understand their needs and expectations and communicate your ideas and progress regularly.
- Asana (https://asana.com/) - a project management tool that can help you stay organized and communicate with clients.
- Trello (https://trello.com/) - another project management tool that can help you manage your workflow and communicate with clients.
- Grammarly (https://www.grammarly.com/) - a writing tool that can help you improve your communication skills.
Tip #7: Manage your time
As a freelancer, you are responsible for managing your own time and deadlines. Use project management tools and create a schedule that allows you to balance your work and personal life.
- Toggl (https://toggl.com/) - a time tracking tool that can help you manage your time and stay on top of deadlines.
- RescueTime (https://www.rescuetime.com/) - a tool that tracks how you spend your time on your computer or mobile device.
- Pomodoro Technique (https://francescocirillo.com/pages/pomodoro-technique) - a time management technique that can help you stay focused and productive.
Tip # 8: Keep learning
The design industry is constantly evolving and it’s important to keep up with the latest trends and technologies. Attend workshops, take online courses, and read industry publications to stay up-to-date.
- Lynda (https://www.lynda.com/) - an online learning platform that offers courses on design, software, and other topics.
- CreativeLive (https://www.creativelive.com/) - offers online courses on various design topics.
Tip # 9: Build a solid contract
Protect yourself and your business by creating a contract that outlines the scope of work, payment terms, and intellectual property rights.
- AIGA Standard Form of Agreement (https://www.aiga.org/standard-agreement) - a contract template created by the American Institute of Graphic Arts.
- Docracy (https://www.docracy.com
Tip # 10: Provide excellent customer service:
Deliver quality work and exceed your client’s expectations to build long-term relationships and gain referrals. Provide prompt responses to client inquiries and address any issues or concerns in a timely and professional manner.