Freelance designers work in a variety of creative fields including graphic design and website design and development. While freelance designers do not have the job security and steady paychecks of traditionally employed agencies, freelance designers have the freedom to work with a variety of clients and to express themselves creatively without managerial influence. Freelance designers can reach financial success if they can combine a strong work product with effective targeted marketing, advertising and networking.
Things You’ll Need: Resume, Online portfolio
- Gain experience in the design industry. Since there is no official licensing board or certification for freelance designers, it is important to gain valuable experience in your field. If you do not have past work experience with a design company, then consider offering your services for free or at a reduced rate for a nonprofit organization in order to obtain relevant experience.
- Create a professional resume that highlights your education, work experience and notable projects. Focus not only on the content of your resume but also the way in which the content is presented. After all, your resume provides potential clients with a first impression of your design aesthetic.
- Create an online portfolio that highlights a diverse selection of your best work. Post the online portfolio on your personal website or through a portfolio hosting site.
- Network with other professionals and potential clients including other designers, advertising and marketing executives, small business owners and anyone else who could provide a potential lead for your design services. Attend industry conferences and social hours, start a blog, host an informal information session, teach a free class on your specialty at a community center and host a giveaway or work with a local charity to garner local media attention.
- Set consistent work hours and strive to adhere to them. While one of the benefits of freelance work is the ability to set your own schedule and work from anywhere, setting a work schedule will help increase productivity.
- Streamline your business operations by establishing a consistent time-tracking, billing and invoice system. An organized operational system emphasises your business professionalism, helps save money and reduces costly mistakes.
- Diversify your client base. Since freelance work is unpredictable, try to work with a variety of individual and corporate clients so your livelihood is not dependent on the whims of only one client.
Make sure you have quality, reliable equipment including up-to-date computer programs in order to work efficiently from home.
When contracting with a new client, make sure to specify in writing whether you or the client will own the rights to your work product.