Want to be a freelance graphic designer? It is high time to think over this excellent career option which offers unlimited career prospects and job satisfaction throughout. Being a freelance graphic designer, you are responsible for conveying a special message visually to a specific audience through color, font, symbol or imagery related to the business. You may have to design a logo, brochures, folders or business cards for your clients hence creating a completely new corporate identity for them. By starting a graphic design business of your own means you are a flexible creative person who knows how to craft a masterpiece.
Becoming a freelance graphic designer
Step #1: Educate yourself first
The first step for becoming a freelance graphic designer is to educate you first. Before you can go out and create new identities for clients, you need to get up to date with the latest design trends and you need to learn how the latest software works.
Start by searching for colleges and courses offered in your area, or search online for a course that would get you up to speed. It is very important that you know about the best standards and practices when it comes to graphic design – the fact that you are entering a creative career doesn’t mean you don’t have to be serious!
Some of the most popular graphic design software you should learn to use properly include:
These are the most popular ones being used by industry leaders. Sure there is other software available, but if you get a good grip on the mentioned-above, you would be able to adjust to any new software with ease.
Step #2: Start with a well thought out plan
Once you have the knowledge and education to become a freelance graphic designer, it is time to start planning out how you will run your graphic design business. There are various elements and factors that you should take into account to ensure everything is done right the first time, and to avoid any problems occurring in the future due to negligence while starting your business.
You need to consider some vital things about how you will run your business:
Do you want to focus on specific types of graphic design projects, or would you like to take a more “global” approach?
Do you want to focus on gaining local or international clients?
Do you want to run your business online only, or as an offline venture as well?
Entering this career and starting a creative business designing graphics for clients could also require some start up money. In order to determine whether or not you will need a budget to get started, you need to consider things like:
Will you be working from home, or do you need to rent an office?
Do you have the required equipment (a Computer capable of running the software, a wacom tablet if you want to do illustrations by hand, a camera if you want to take stock photo’s yourself, etc)
Do you have the requirement software (Graphic design software can be quite expensive. If you don’t own any software to work with, then you will need start-up money to buy them)
Step #3: Branding yourself
If you want to build authority, you need to create a brand for freelance graphic design business. This could even be your own name, or a creative name that you would like to offer your services under. Professional freelancers usually prefer to brand themselves by their own name as this creates authority around their name and looks good on their portfolio / resume.
Start by deciding if you want to use your own name, or think of a creative name for your business. The next step is to create a logo or signature that you will use as your “image”.
After designing a logo, you can incorporate your new image onto letterheads, email signatures, on your website and more.
Step #4: Taking action
Waiting for something to happen will not get you very far. You need to take action as soon as you are ready to start your new freelance career.
After educating yourself to learn how to create better designs, creating a complete business plan and branding yourself, you should take action by setting yourself up. This includes setting up your workspace, creating a website and setting up a marketing campaign to advertise your business.
Step #5: Finding your first client
Once you are ready to get started, you should find your first client. Depending on the type of freelancing business you have, you can find work by advertising your services and selling them on your website, or with the help of freelancing websites and internet job boards.
Directly selling services to clients
If you choose to promote your website and sell your services directly to customers, then you need to start with a decent marketing campaign. If you decided to target both online and offline clients, then you should create a marketing campaign for your online presence, as well as for a local presence in your community.
Advertising methods can include search engine optimization, search marketing, social media marketing, internet marketing, video marketing and more. You can also choose between free methods to get traffic to your website, or paying for advertising to get targeted visitors to your site.
You can also list your services in online and offline directories, as well as on classified ad posting websites.
Using a freelancing platform
The internet is full of both freelancers looking for work and clients looking for freelancers. If you don’t have authority in the graphic design industry yet, it might be a good idea to start out with a freelancing platforms. There are many different platforms available where you can apply for graphic design projects. Some platforms pays top dollars for completed work.
Here are some places where you can register and apply for work as a freelance graphic designer:
- UpWork (http://upwork.com)
- Guru (http://guru.com)
- 99designs (http://99designs.com)
- DesignCrowd (http://designcrowd.com)
- PeoplePerHour (http://peopleperhour.com)
- Fiverr (http://fiverr.com)
Becoming a freelance graphic designer is a perfect career choice for creative individuals looking for a work where they can have a flexible schedule and the ability to use their creativity as a source of income. Even though there are many risks and challenges to overcome, building a graphic design business as a freelancer is a rewarding career choice that will give you a lot of opportunities and help you grow as a professional.