As you may or may not know, I just started my creative business as a freelance graphic designer, and let me tell you – it’s such a great feeling! But of course, it’s not only great all the time. In fact, I just overcame a period where I was feeling a little anxious and living in self-doubt. But that is totally part of a new business as well. It’s a rollercoaster y’all!
Here are my 5 tips that will guide you into a successful start as a freelance graphic designer!
1. Be curious!
In the age of information and the internet, it has never been this easy to get information about ANY topic you can think of. So, take advantage of that! There are many amazing graphic designers who share their experiences and teach you a lot of new things, that your school hasn’t. For that reason, read books, listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos and fuel your brain with information. Because the digital world is changing so fast, it’s important to stay on track and updated. So here is my favorite YouTube Channel and podcast, it’s called TheFutur, and it’s so valuable for everybody who works in the design field!
2. Show your work! Build a portfolio
You want to give your potential customers a sneak peek into what your skillset and your aesthetic is. And if you’re not that happy with the designs you worked on in school or if you are a self-taught freelance graphic designer, just work on passion projects! These projects are a great way to show your style and what you are capable of. Just think something up! With this in mind, create a jewelry brand for example with a logo, a branding sheet, and a website, maybe even packaging and business cards. In fact, this is a chance to work on a dream project without guidelines, due dates, or waiting for emails from your clients, so it’s actually a lot of fun! That’s why I do that a lot, also to explore my style a little bit better.
3. Build yourself a home on the internet
This might be a no-brainer, but I have gotten to know designers, that only rely on their social media accounts. And of course, that’s completely fine. But having a website has a lot of advantages, that social media profiles simply don’t provide. Firstly, it will make you look SO MUCH more professional if you have a good working website, that you can link in your Instagram bio. It shows potential clients, that you are a real business and freelance graphic designer who they can take seriously. Secondly, you are not relying on your social media profile. What would you do if you can’t access your account anymore? If you have a website, people can still find you and your work, no matter what. And thirdly, SEO! Use this magic tool to drive traffic to your website in order to be found on Google! No matter what the algorithm on social media is doing (or not doing lol), you will still be found.
4. Go out there! Like literally out!
Get your business cards printed, or maybe a flyer or stickers, whatever fits your style. Then go out on the streets and present to people what you do! Where I live, a ton of small businesses have pasted stickers on lanterns and traffic lights and I got to know about them because of that. Go to small businesses and introduce yourself and what you do. Get a conversation going and leave a business card, you’ll see, sooner or later somebody will call! 🙂 This can be scary at first (I know for sure, it still is so much out of my comfort zone!) but I think it can really help to make yourself visible! (And to get to know your neighborhood a little better lol) I guarantee you, that you have a lot more competition on Instagram than in your hometown!
5. Don’t limit yourself
Especially in the beginning, it’s important to try many different jobs if the opportunities come. Don’t get stuck on only doing logos, for example. It limits your potential and will make it a lot harder to get those paying clients. Try new things and explore them in passion projects! Maybe you will get to know a whole new side of yours that you can incorporate into your business!
And lastly: Fuel that brain!
Websites like SkillShare or MasterClass can help you so so much in learning new skills, techniques, or programs. Invest in yourself and your business, take courses if you can afford them! I most certainly will join one or two next year and I can’t wait! The money that you invest in these courses and learning platforms will pay off 100%, I guarantee you that.