Guidelines for Achieving Success as a Freelance Graphic Designer.

Guidelines for Achieving Success as a Freelance Graphic Designer.

6 min read

What steps can be taken to be a successful Freelance Graphic Designer?

Being a freelance graphic designer is attractive—you get to choose your work hours, select projects, and even set your prices to some extent. It sounds great, right?

But, here’s the catch: full-time freelancing isn’t always easy. Many young designers dive in without realizing the challenges that come with it.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be super tough if you prepare yourself. Keep these Tips in mind, and you’ll be on a smoother path:

-Embrace versatility in various skills.

Are you proficient in Illustrator or Sketch? While these skills served you well in your previous role, it’s time to broaden your expertise for your new career.

Being adept in more than just Photoshop and Illustrator can unlock various opportunities beyond your previous job. Fortunately, you don’t have to pursue formal education to acquire these skills; numerous online courses, tutorials, and resources, like this blog, can help you grasp the fundamentals. Keep in mind that becoming a versatile professional doesn’t necessarily require mastering every skill.

-Become proficient in at least one skill.

Have you gotten good at your design skills? Keep making them better.

Once they’re top-notch, focus on being the best at least in one thing. This brings in clients and keeps them coming back. Get good at design by practicing regularly and learning from the basics to advanced techniques. Take on different projects, listen to feedback, and stay updated on what’s new. Pay attention to details, colors, and how things look together. Work with other designers, attend workshops and find inspiration. Understand who you’re designing for and create with them in mind.

Just aim to be good, and happy clients will spread the word for you.

-Embrace the practice of sales.

Apart from relying on recommendations, you must effectively showcase your skills to individuals unfamiliar with your work. Developing sales skills can be challenging for a freelance graphic designer.

Several of us, myself included, feel uneasy about taking on a sales role. Nevertheless, achieving success as a freelance graphic designer involves articulating to clients or potential clients the reasons they should choose to work with you.

-Earning money in this way is not a simple task.

If having an inconsistent income is a deal-breaker for you, it might be advisable to return to a traditional job.

Freelancing can bring substantial financial rewards in some months, but there will also be periods of financial hardship where setting aside money for basic expenses becomes crucial.

A steady paycheck is not guaranteed when freelancing, but there are strategies to mitigate the challenges. Working more hours than you initially think necessary, as the traditional 40-hour workweek mindset no longer applies when you’re your boss. It’s essential to recognize that working for yourself often means putting in longer and more strenuous hours. Additionally, saving more money than you would from a regular paycheck can help soften the impact of slower months.

Preparing for the inevitable slower periods will reduce the stress and desperation that may arise, making it easier to navigate the ups and downs of freelancing.

-Learn to say no.

It’s acceptable to decline a client’s request. If a project is overly intricate or the client’s demands aren’t justified by the compensation, it’s advisable to disengage.

As a freelance graphic designer, your time holds significant value. Getting absorbed in a time-consuming project deprives you of the chance to explore other income-generating opportunities and establish connections with new clients.

There will be occasions when clients inquire about services beyond your expertise like IT support or designing airplane signage. It’s crucial to consistently focus on your core competencies and comfort zone.

-Have five projects that you find truly impressive.

Before considering a full-time commitment to freelancing, it’s crucial to possess a portfolio showcasing at least five pieces of work that you take pride in. These works can originate from your college projects or previous employment, serving as evidence of your capabilities to potential clients. In the absence of a substantial portfolio, consider undertaking small pro bono projects to establish a track record. This not only allows you to gain essential experience but may also lead to satisfied clients who are not only pleased with your work but willing to pay for your services in the future.

-Release your ego.

Ultimately, as a freelance graphic designer, you remain accountable to your clients. Maintaining a defiant attitude won’t sustain your business, just as the refusal to reject subpar projects won’t either. You may inevitably need to undertake less-than-ideal assignments. Nevertheless, rest assured, these experiences can pave the way for positive outcomes.

Young freelancers are often presented with “test projects” by potential clients to assess their capabilities. Embrace these opportunities rather than dismissing them.

Before declining a time-intensive project, consider the potential consequences. Even if the initial project is challenging, enduring it can be worthwhile if it leads to consistent and rewarding work afterward.

-Make firm decisions.

Success in freelance work hinges on your skill to engage effectively with clients. It’s not a suitable path for everyone, as some designers find comfort in the distance provided by agency employment, which spares them from direct customer interactions.

For those opting for freelance, mastering the art of addressing client inquiries is crucial. Respond promptly and confidently to questions like “What should we do here,” without hesitation. Making decisive choices without self-doubt is valued by clients.

-Maintain a healthy balance between your professional and personal life.

Ensure that your life doesn’t revolve solely around work. Reserve your weekends for socializing and spending time with family. Embrace outdoor activities, incorporate meditation into your routine, engage in physical exercise, and refrain from using the computer for extended periods.

Recognize the significance of offline hours, as they are crucial for returning to work with renewed energy and motivation, ready to create outstanding work.

In summary

Achieving success as a freelance graphic designer requires dedicated effort and perseverance. Investing significant time and effort upfront will pave the way for future rewards. I extend my best wishes to you as you embark on the journey to become a prosperous freelance graphic designer. Good luck!

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