It's hard out there for a hustler and nothing needs more hustle than freelance graphic design work. You're talented enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like you.
Yet here you are wondering how to make it in a field where you’re up against clients that want you to work for free For "exposure" sites like fiver and clients who think design work is fast, easy and something they could so themselves in a hot minute.
We don't need to explain the intrinsic brand building value of hiring a professional designer to you, you already understand what comes with the work you do. There is no simple solution to this challenge but here are a few ideas to help you build your graphics business that help you.
1. Invest in a website that showcases your work and create curated pages for industry specific artwork. Potential clients like to see that you have a feel for their industry and can understand the unique needs and challenges of their industry.
2. Have a business card that rises above the rest and showcases your skills. Your business card will make or break a deal so get the very best business card you can afford . You will be repaid in full by your first few clients!
3. Have you heard of Shopify? If not you have definitely clicked through one of the hundreds of thousands of sites they host and they need designers to partner with them to make their client's sites improve with professional graphics Learn more
4. Become a reseller with Clubcard Printing - Clubcard printing was founded by 2 graphic designers with the goal of providing high quality printing services to their clients - so who better to trust with your designs? The reseller program allows designers to order printing for your clients at 15-20% off the listed price, this added service allows you to provide full service from start to finish for your client base sign up today!
5. Yard Sale! Sell off your unused or rejected client work. You've already put in the sweat equity, now sell it off to stock sites and get paid each time your work is sold https://www.awwwards.com/top-websites-where-designers-can-sell-their-works.html
6. Get social! Get out from behind your screen and join local networking groups. These groups let to meet new clients one on one in a social setting. Can't find a local group? Create one using facebook groups. Focus on image driven social media sites like pinterest and instagram and don't forget LinkedIn - it is meant to build professional relationships.
7. Get local - Find local Business Improvement Associations formed to promote and support local businesses. Just about every neighbourhood has a business association and many have budgets to design and print everything from event fliers to street banners and annual reports. Becoming the designer of choice for these groups exposes you to the board of directors who are business owners as all of the small business owners in the area of coverage.
8. Charge what you’re worth! We do the design community at large a huge disservice when we low ball our rates for the valuable work we do. Even if you decide to do work for a non-profit or donate your time and effort always send an invoice for the amount you would have charged that has been zeroed out or reduced to the agreed amount. The current rate for graphic design is between $75to $300 per hour with most designers falling in the $100 per hour range. Here’s a great resource for determining your rate for design work https://mirandamarquit.com/tips-for-setting-rates-as-a-freelance-graphic-designer/
9. Enter design contests. Unlike clients who promise you’ll be repaid by exposure - design competitions really do expose you to massive audiences. This is when “free work” can really pay off, from designing street banners for your community to Internationally acclaimed competitions like these https://graphiccompetitions.com/multiple-disciplines
10. Get listed on Google! The majority of searches for a graphic designer are done as local searches on Google and you wont show up unless your website has amazing SEO so get cracking and create a Google Business Page. Here’s a video showing you the steps https://youtu.be/1D9faRLZN8s