Freelance Graphic Designers: Do’s & Don’ts
Do: Make A Plan For Your Life And Your Finances
Deciding to become a freelancer is a huge decision. You’ll need to think about how you’ll build a business and support yourself. Choosing to become a freelancer will require more or less thought depending on your current situation. For some, the planning process may be as simple as choosing a genre of design to focus on. For others, choosing to be a designer might have more serious or immediate consequences. If you’re supporting a family or have other obligations, it’s crucial to have a back up plan. You need to know what you’ll do if a crisis should arise, or if something were to happen to your savings.
Don’t: Become A Freelance Graphic Designer Without Doing Your Research
As a graphic designer, research is probably the last thing you want to do. Don’t skip this part of the process; it’s one of the most important things you can do. Research the genre you’d like to enter, average income you can expect, and where people in the genre typically find work. You’ll want to know how to set up your business correctly. Getting off to a great start will set you up for future success.
Do: Work Towards Getting Contracts And Monthly Retainers
Discussing money can be one of the most difficult parts of becoming a freelancer. It can be intimidating and overwhelming attempting to negotiate salary, and how many hours you should work. Many designers charge an hourly rate, but this can really backfire on you. Different projects require different amounts of time, and it can be difficult to judge how long a project will take to complete. Instead of focusing on an hourly rate, try negotiating monthly or contractual rates. Charging based on the project, and not the number of hours spent will help create more stability in your income from repeat contracts as well as make sure you’re being paid fairly.
Don’t: Fall Into The Trap Of Working For Less Than You Deserve
The best way to make sure that you are paid fairly is charging your clients based on the value your service provides. Don’t focus on how much time you spent on a project, instead think of the value your services can bring to the client. By implementing policies that promote fair wages, you help the entire freelance industry. Charging what you deserve might be tough in the beginning. Especially if you don’t have a lot of experience. While it’s important to pay your dues, it’s also important to pay your bills. Don’t let your volunteer work interfere with meeting your basic financial obligations.
Do: Provide Clients With Solutions To Problems You Know They Have
When approaching a company or individual you’d like to work for, start by providing a solution. This could be a solution to a problem or simply just an improvement to something that’s already in use. By providing solutions, you’re showing that client that you took the time to do your research. You’re also proving your value before you’ve even gotten the job.
Don’t: Ask The Client If They Need A Graphic Designer
If you ask a client if they need a graphic designer, the answer will most likely be, “No”. This is why offering solutions is so important. In many cases people have no idea what they need or how a designer might be beneficial to their business. It’s your job as the designer to show them how you can help their business grow. Asking if they need a graphic designer is like asking if you need dessert after a meal. You might like to have it, but you’re not sure if you want to pay extra for it.
Do: Grow Your Social Media Community Through Value
The best way to gain clients is through referrals and exposure. Social Media is an excellent way to gain exposure and display your design skills and styles to a mass audience. Your work can be seen by millions of people each and every day. Be helpful to people in your design community. Provide answers and advice in areas where you’re knowledgable. It will establish you as the authority in your industry and your fellow designers will be grateful for your advice.
Don’t: Beg People To Follow And Engage With You On Social Media
You need to provide value in order to get followers and engagement on your social media platform of choice. Don’t expect people to interact with you if you’ve given nothing to your community. You need to give before asking of others. If you’re an asset to your community, the likes, comments and followers will come to you. Collaborate with others in your industry to expand your audience. You’ll be helping out a fellow designer and hopefully gaining some new skills in the process.