Freelance Graphic Designer – There are many different types of freelancers, but they tend to be knowledge workers who possess a high-level of skills and knowledge in a certain area, such as designers, writers, programmers, translators, project managers and so on.
Graphic design is no rocket science, and many people have excelled in this field to a very different level.
Other than this, graphic designers are offered a very handsome amount of money that is much better than other professions. However, many designers still opt for freelancing, which is also not a bad option.
Many freelancers earn double the amount of money as people who are working in a company.
So, this decision might not harm you if you decide to become a freelancer.
A graphic designer is a professional visual artist, who combines various images, illustrations, and typography to convey information, engage the senses of the audience, and inspire action.
Utilising colours, shapes, textures, and lines, they can formulate a unique approach to showcasing a brand or concept.
For example, graphic designers often design logos, posters, product packaging, and other marketing material. They create images and prepare layouts for publications, such as online magazines and lookbooks.
Projects can be large, such as an all-out rebranding or advertising campaign, or small, such as an event brochure.
Graphic designers are also proficient with computer programs like those included in Adobe Creative Cloud.
You will find graphic designers typically working in the following:
- public relations
- specialised design services
- other related industries
These positions may be in-house, agency-based, or freelance.
Being a freelancer will let you work according to your timeline, and you will be your boss.
You will have the leverage to work on the projects you love and be free to go on vacations and live your days freely as you want.
If you are thinking of becoming a designer and haven’t taken any courses regarding designing, this process is long for you.
First, you will need to learn to design, and then you will excel in this field. You can either get yourself enrolled in a school, or you can opt for coaching sessions available in your location.
Graphic Designer Qualifications
There are a few distinct ways to go about becoming a graphic designer.
Generally, though, qualifications consist of the following:
- specialised education and/or training
- computer skills (certification optional)
- portfolio of completed samples
Computer skills are imperative and will most likely include Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
You will also need a portfolio showcasing examples of completed work that demonstrate your abilities, techniques, and style.
Graphic Designer Salaries
When it comes to salary amounts and hourly rates for graphic designers, much will depend on who you work for, where you are located, and whether you are an employee or freelancer.
According to the federal US Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), on average, graphic designers earn approximately $51,000 per year in salary. The average hourly rate is $24.38.
For freelance graphic designers, crowdsourcing sites like GlassDoor place yearly salaries at anywhere between $27,000 and $140,000.
How to Become a Freelance Graphic Designer
However far along you are in your career, at some point, you may want to become a freelancer. Becoming your own boss is enticing, and being able to choose the clients you work with, the type of projects you prefer, and setting your own rates is exciting.
Yet, you’ll need to balance your creative side with your business side to succeed.
Here are essential steps in how to become a freelance graphic designer.
1. Create Your Personal Brand
Start by understanding and articulating who you are and what you offer. Then, determine what makes you unique. These all will play a role in your personal branding.
Personal branding is the way you promote yourself and your services.
You want clients to associate you with your particular branding, work style, and resulting products.
While you can add to your skills and preferences later on, first, you need to find your focus and start building your brand.
Begin by creating your logo, website, and marketing materials.
2. Compile a Design Portfolio
While a freelance resume will be beneficial, it’s the design portfolio you’ll need to showcase your abilities.
A design portfolio is your resume of sorts, used to show your experience and style.
It may consist of examples created during a degree program, online classes, corporate experience, or freelancing.
If you don’t have enough examples, create more, always keeping your branding and purpose in mind.
For example, design an infographic or a mock ad.
If you want to specialise in something, create samples to show your creative and technical style.
Build both a physical and an online portfolio to exhibit your best work, and add to them as you go along.
3. Find your first worthy client
Finding a good client is the first and foremost thing for your business. If you don’t have clients, you don’t have a business and are not freelancers.
People first focus on building a portfolio and invest time and money in maintaining a website.
Rather than building your brand, please search for your first client and work on their project.
Your first client will give you the confidence to become a freelance graphic designer.
You can always search freelance job websites to get good clients to find interested candidates who pay well.
According to your interests, you will get one or more freelance graphic design projects from a pool of websites on the internet.
Furthermore, you can always count on your relatives and friends.
4. Take care of your first clients
The clients that have contacted you first should be prioritised more than others. Whether your first clients are your friends or family members, they will be more likely to give you more work if you keep them happy.
Clients who trust your work before anyone else will give you more work and refer you to their contacts if you keep them on your list before everyone else.
Create contacts like this and build trust with your customers.
Once your customers have your trust, they will always refer you for projects. This will be a win-win situation for you and will bring more clients in the future.
5. Work on your company’s branding
Once you’ve gathered clients, it’s time to consider your company.
Think of an attractive and unique name for your company.
You must be creative with your company’s logo, branding, and name as a designer. This will help you in the future, and remember that this company name will stay with you forever, so invest time working on your own company.
Many people use their personal names. This is not a bad idea if you have decided to keep your business to yourself and not keep your partner in it.
If you decide to add someone else in the future, think of a different and unique name.
Branding is an essential part of your business. It will represent your work, style, and attitude towards clients and be like your identity.
The more attractive and sleek the name is, the more people will get attracted to it.
6. Learn to make proposals and invoices
Many graphic designers are creative with colours and designs but have poor grammar and English.
Graphic design might be easy for you, but you must master writing proposals and invoices.
If you want to become a freelancer, then you will need to run your design business. You will need to learn how to write an invoice and make proposals for your clients.
When working on contracts, you must write emails explaining your timelines and other things to your clients.
Here you will need to master content writing skills, so you don’t make any errors in your emails and proposals.
Here you can take help from many online tools that teach how to write a proposal or email clients.
Other than this, many online websites and tools help create professional invoices in just a few seconds which can work great for your business.
7. Don’t be too choosy when you begin
At the beginning of your business, you might get work that is not of your interest or where the client is paying less.
In such situations, don’t let the client go. This happens to many people.
Most people are assigned tasks that least interests them but let it go if you want to build clientele.
If you’re not an expert working as a graphic designer for years, you should not allow small graphic designing jobs to let go so quickly.
These small tasks and assignments sometimes help us make good contacts that cater to us in the future.
If you are new, don’t expect the market to pay you as it pays an experienced designer. It would be best if you built your identity first. Let it go with the flow.
Once you have a good client, you are ready to find your design tasks.
8. Establish an Online Presence
Establishing an online presence is crucial today, and one of the best ways to do this is with an SEO-Optimised Website. This website can be your online portfolio, with narratives written with each sample, or a place to share a bio, blog, and client testimonials.
Other beneficial ways to increase your online presence include:
- LinkedIn, a professional network that includes decision-makers for companies and agencies.
- Specialized social platforms, such as Dribble (for creatives).
- Social media platform accounts (separate from your personal ones) to share and engage with others (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok).
9. Develop an understanding of the Business Side of Things
Being a freelancer requires more than just creativity and connections.
You will need to become proficient with the business side of things, including sales and accounting techniques as well.
10. Utilise your network
you need to utilise your network to find your clients.
Once you have a client in hand, regardless of being a video animation company that is nowhere related to your genre yet to grow your network, you should also consider them.
Working as a Freelance Graphic Designer means meeting new people, making new friends, and working with them. Meet new people and engage with people as much as you can.
While we talk with people and step out of our comfort zone, we learn new things about people that mesmerise us.
Attend parties and events where you can meet new people and try conversing with different types of people. You never know when a valuable client is available to hire you for their work. With virtual and hybrid events on the rise, you may want to invest in a digital business card to help you build your network.
Moreover, your network will make your freelancing journey less boring, so don’t miss out on the network you have built but try expanding it for your betterment.
11. Always look for new clients
While you’ve started your freelancing, business doesn’t fear if you have abundant work in one month and no work at all in the next.
Many freelancers face this situation, often have busy schedules, and are entirely free in the next month. In this way, you will not enjoy working.
Therefore, search for new clients even if you have many workloads. Your pending tasks will be completed, but having no work will keep you free next month, which will not be much entertainment for you.
Keep a time slot for reaching out to new clients and indulge in activities like cold-emailing or SEO.
For marketing and sales, spend time learning how to pitch yourself. Develop proposal and invoice templates to modify for each client and each new project.
12. You’ll also need to set your rates.
One of the most puzzling or challenging parts of your freelance business will be establishing these rates. To help, start by researching what other freelancers are currently charging. Look at their experience, training, and portfolios.
Check out freelance marketing platforms such as Fiverr to get a feel for what’s out there and what customers are saying. You may want to offer discounted rates for bigger projects or ongoing work for a client.
Your workload will vary at times, so plan ways to make the best of a slow period by smartly budgeting and by attending additional training to boost your skills in a new area.
13. Take feedback and get referrals
Always ask your clients to give feedback if you are working through a website or have a website. Feedback is critical in every field. It educates the person on how they can improve their skills.
Also, get referrals from your clients. Successful Freelance Graphic Designer have succeeded because of referrals and word of mouth.
Once you provide the best services to a client, it is more likely that they will come back to you for more work.
This type of marketing is free, and it can be challenging when you’ve just started your business. Build trust slowly and gradually and gain the trust of your customers.
As you finish a project with your client, just ask for their feedback. You can also start by asking for referrals from your existing clients.
Whenever you meet a client and have a good conversation, look out for a chance and ask them if they know anyone who wants to hire a Freelance Graphic Designer.
Always be productive and provide quality work, which will bring business to you automatically.
14. Market Yourself
Even with experience under your belt, it will take time to build up a client list to provide regular, ongoing freelance graphic design services.
In other words, you will need to market yourself.
Reach out to your contacts, such as that small business owner who is just getting started. Offer to help them with their website or branding for free or a discounted rate in return for a review and recommendation.
Let all your connections on LinkedIn and other social media platforms know you are now freelancing and contact you for more information. Ask them to share this exciting news with their networks.
Identify brands, companies, or agencies that produce graphic designs for themselves or others and are similar in style to your offerings. Start contacting them directly.
Network online and in-person. Attend digital marketing conferences and build connections.
Also, if you feel inclined and are just starting out, consider placing your services on job boards such as Upwork and Fiverr. While rates here may be considerably lower than what you would normally charge, it can give you freelance experience.
After you have established ongoing clients, stay on the lookout for new opportunities in order to scale your business or replace clients who only need short-term help.
Once you’ve mastered graphic designing skills, you will love to work with different types of clients. You won’t become a successful Freelance Graphic Designer overnight.
Just keep improving in your skill and welcome the opportunities that come your way.