Tips for a Fledgling Freelance Designer

As a designer, you might be tired of hopping over to numerous studios to work on that ever-elusive perfect project. It can also be that you've just finished graduation, and you feel that you have to establish yourself first before working for bigger, more established organizations over the course of your career.

Whatever the reason may be, going freelance means you can have freedom and control over your job. Being your own boss has its advantages, but there are also a number of added responsibilities, such as the need to establish more self-discipline and methodological planning. You need to be good at making all the right calls and backing them up, in order to do well.

Here are some tips you can consider as a starting freelance designer:

  • Create a killer logo. Showcasing your skills start with an excellent, eye-catching logo. It makes you look more professional and make an impression when you use it on your job boards, websites, and calling cards. It can also improve name recall, and make it easy for clients to remember or keep you in mind for their projects.
  • Invest in expanding your skillset. Established freelance designers are not limited to only one aspect of their craft. For example, if you're into Web design, brush up and develop your skills on numerous design platforms. You can also branch out into other specializations that can be useful to you, like 3D modeling and video editing. Try to set a routine that includes the improvement of your present skills and acquiring new ones.
  • Assemble your online portfolio. Don’t just rely on your profile when you sign up for job boards. You should build a custom website or online portfolio where you can showcase your talents, and offer potential clients a glimpse into your past projects. Also, sign up for all the free portfolio sites you can find. The more content you put out and make available, the more you can boost your page rankings in an online search.
  • Don’t stop looking for projects. Even when you're in the middle of working on a project, set aside some time that you can spend on looking for more freelance work. This way, you can ensure that income is continually flowing, and you avoid being in a position where you're left with no revenue stream when a project ends.
  • Don’t sell yourself short. Most clients will probably barter with you, and tell you that more work will come in the future if you take a low-paying project. Make the client understand that freelance work is how you make your living, and you need the income from projects proportionate to your skills.
  • Establish a network. Connect with people through social media, or make yourself visible on designer forums and threads. Having a network means you have the chance to spread the word around about you and your work. Other designers can also use this to find or contact you if they need help with projects that they want to outsource.
  • Feedback is important. Ask for reactions from people you've worked with. Testimonials from satisfied clients, comments and suggestions from fellow designers, criticism from your friends – these can all help you become a better freelance designer.

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