Tips and Tricks for Freelance Graphic Designers
Freelance graphic designing is an enjoyable professional field that allows you to work with freedom and much relaxation. However, managing your freelance operations is a hell of hard work that most of us do not learn until a very long time. Freelancing has its particular pros and cons that depend a lot on the freelance designer himself. There are many risks involved in freelancing business, which, however can be dealt with.
Either you are new to the business of freelancing, have switched from a salaried job to a freelance profession or are working in the field from quite some time, following are some tips and ‘tricks of the trade’ that, when followed, might help you catapult your freelance graphic designing to success.
The most important tip for freelance graphic designers is persistency, which is a key item in such a profession. The main reason for it is that most operations do not get off the ground for quite some time and at first you may make barely gain enough earnings to survive. So it is better to stay put to the long term benefits and keeping your focus on the big picture is extremely important.
Don’t Undersell Your Services
It is a general trend that when freelancers first get into the freelance business, they often undersell their selves in order to get more work and gain recognition in the market. This technique does them good for initial few months, however, when they do get recognized in the field and start having proper work, they get into serious trouble. And a moment comes when you start realizing that you are working 120 hours a without getting paid enough.
To cope with this situation it is advised that once you build a strong relationship and understanding level with your client, speak with the client directly and let them know that you need to raise your pricing due to increased work volume and rising company costs. Another benefit of increasing your price is that as the volume of your work expands, you can filter out the clients that are misers or troublesome. Your expanding client volume much of the time means that clients either have to find another service provider or make it worth your while to fit them in.
Know Before Quoting
Getting to realize that there is more work than you thought it will be and so you quoted wrong, is the worst discovery. This is one problem freelancers often get into and find themselves in trouble when they find themselves between devil and the deep blue sea.
In order to avoid this confusion, you retain your professional status in front of the client. Do remember that you are a professional graphic designer providing your services on a proper pattern. If a client tries to impose on you that they know it is a small and easy project and would not cost much, then ethically you should either try to persuade them otherwise or just leave the job. You need to take the time to assess the task, gather the material and make your own judgment with how easy it is, how long it will take you to do the job
So always commit to the job at the price that you feel is appropriate and in accordance with the hardwork u put into the work. If the client declines, then bargain a bit on pricing keeping your integrity and client both at winning end.
Market Yourself Best
There are very few businesses in the world that can run without proper marketing and freelance graphic designing is definitely not one of them. Yours and your brand’s market image counts as much as your skills in the field.
For freelancers, there are many ways to market themselves and their business. One of the most important mean of marketing is ‘word-of-mouth-marketing’ which not only spreads a word about your work, but also helps others get authentic views about you. Speaking on design community forums and posting to website galleries are great ways to gain credibility. With credibility, the word about you will spread like wild fire. Other mediums of marketing can be website, blogging and other social media marketing tools.
Note: always keep your business card handy, you never know where you might find a potential client and your business card speaks the first word for your work.
Focus on Business Expansion
Although it is better to start the business with a specialized field of graphic designing, however, as the business increases, you may find yourself in trouble with one skill only. Basically, when starting your freelance operation you obviously have target markets in focus that you are currently dealing with. Then shortly after you start your business, you need to be thinking on other areas that your skills can be applied. In other words your basic goal should be to broaden your scope of business.
Where to Find Clients
For freelancers, finding new business is the top priority. Their every action and move is aimed at finding new clients and new work from existing clients so that the business keeps running. Also, freelance graphic designing is the kind of business in which your existing clientele is unreliable and inconsistent. So finding new clients is quite inevitable.
The places where my freelance fellows can find new clients can be many. There are many websites on the Internet that offer projects for freelancers that will aid greatly in finding clients and work for your freelance business. Although, in the course of finding new clients, you often have to bid much below your cost estimate in order to get clients hooked fast, however, I think it is a good practice that allows you to stay in the business and you can always raise your prices slowly.
Getting new clients is not difficult; however, maintaining them well is more important. Building strong relationships with your clients is absolutely inevitable. This often means going an extra mile to please them to strengthen your relationship. Being punctual, writing greeting emails and getting their feedback are a few things to start with. The other things to follow are: sending updates, communicating regularly, showing a strong portfolio, a professional looking website, providing references and client testimonials, meet your deadline or be early, being straight up with your client.
The Round Up
Starting and maintaining your freelance graphic designing business requires a lot of hard work and patience. It is a general perception that freelance work is all fun and games because you get to sit at home and work when you choose. This is not at all the case. Remember, that at the end of the day the only person responsible for the success or failure of the business is you yourself. You will have no one else to blame or be angry at, in case you fail. So try to learn the tricks of this trade as soon as possible for your own good and the good of your business.