Turn Yourself into a Magnet for Design Projects as a Freelancer

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Turn Yourself into a Magnet for Design Projects as a Freelancer

Graphic designing is a prevailing career field in almost every part of the world. Universities are producing hundreds of design students who, after graduating, turn towards a serious carrier path. The field of graphic designing is composed of either employed designers or freelancers. Although business promotion is required by both the types, however, this post is aimed for freelancers and self-employed graphic designers who are looking to expand their business and catch more clients.

Freelancing is quite like ‘heaven on earth’ as it brings great opportunities for creating a working environment that matches your lifestyle, however, it would not reap you any benefits if you without enough clients to support the business. Most freelancers are of the view that successful freelancing depends on their professional skill. What they usually skip is that your professional skills need good marketing in order to be recognized and demanded in the market. For freelancers it is necessary to establish and then maintain a separate department for business development (that too all by themselves).

If you are lucky enough to have a couple of loyal clients, business development will not be much difficult for you. However, it is not the case with all the freelance designers. They tend to gain and lose clients randomly and always want extra clients to keep the business running. Freelance designing is a prevailing rend in the graphic design community and so, you’ll have to compete with an increasing number of freelancers. In such circumstances, proper marketing can help you elbow your way towards success.

Following are some useful and easy-to-do activates by which you can conduct better business development for your freelance graphic designing business. (These tips can be applied to small scale design houses as well).

Word-of-Mouth

word of mouth

The need of graphic designers in the market keeps fluctuating. There is no industry or business that may not need the services of a graphic designer at some stage. Every type of business can benefit from a website, brochure, business card and other communication material as corporate identity. Let your acquaintances know that you are hunting for new design projects. Ask your friends, family members and other acquaintances to spread the word about your new business hunt and also testify your skills and services (if possible).

Existing Clients

Existing clients

Your existing clients can be the best bait for your freelance business’ development. If you keep up good professional relationships with your existing clients and provide them with service excellence, not only will they want to stick to you, but will also refer you others, automatically generating clients for you. You existing clients can be helpful to your business in another way. If perhaps, you are involved in the communication designing of their printed material, and are successful in satisfying them with your quality and service, you may ask them for their other projects as well, like web designing or logo development etc. this will increase to your job and will also develop stronger relationship with your client.

Business Cards

business card

Whoever maintains a business should also necessarily have a business card. Especially for graphic designers, business card can be their ‘mini portfolio’ and an opportunity to get hold on newer clients on the go. The business card can literally communicate your aesthetics and design sensibility to potential clients as well as works as a reminder of you at your potential client’s desk. Design your card the best way possible and add all the communicative elements in it as possible. Carry it with you all the time, as you never know where and when you’ll find a potential client whom you might immediately tap with your business card.

Professional Networking

networking professional

As a human being (in general) and as a graphic design business owner (in particular) not having a network of people around you is un-natural and total idiocy. To maintain a good professional network highly important, as well as equally difficult for freelancers. For freelancers, the ‘home office’ routine is quite stagnant. However, you need to take time out to meet colleagues and potential clients, and learn what’s happening in your field. Try to take part in professional networking events, where you’ll be able to network with other designers and freelance writers, marketing professionals and web developers. Who knows, your fellow copywriter might have a design client for you or the printer may need your help in designing some print material.

Also, networking with your competitors is also very important. It keeps you in touch with their activities and in such circumstances when they’ll be too busy, you might get a chance to have a share of their work from their clients.

Online Portfolio

Online Portfolio

As the entire professional world is turning to online medium, the freelance designers might also find a great number of clients online. And the best way to advertise yourself and your freelance services on the Internet is through an online portfolio. Most potential clients who will be considering your services will evaluate you from your online portfolio. To make sure that they contact you and don’t just more to another designer is to make your portfolio as impressive as possible. Ideally, your portfolio should contain four things:

–          Your latest work

–          Your best work

–          Wide variety of work from different industrial sectors

–          Multiple design solutions

If your portfolio is not up-to- date or lacking in these areas, your marketing efforts could be harshly impacted. It’s a good idea to get your portfolio to a level that you are satisfied with before investing considerable time or money marketing yourself.

Regular Blogging

blogging

Blogging is another way of social interaction with the potential clients and other people from the field. you can get your potential clients to see your portfolio through your blog. Having a graphic designing blog is a great way to build name recognition, brand yourself and to network with other designers and developers. It is the most massive as well as cost-effective way to market your freelance design services. Although marketing through blogging is a relatively slow process but the benefits it reaps are worth waiting.

Partnership/ Outsourcing

partnership outsourcing

Freelancers carry their work independently, however, that does not mean that they are bound to do everything by themselves. Most successful freelancers build a strong network of skilled professionals from other fields i.e. other designers, copywriters, printers and even marketers. With your outsourced team of professionals you may find it very easy to find and then nail a client as a group. Work on building partnerships with a bunch of talented individuals and keeping an eye open for those who you could partner with in some way.

The Bottom line…

Planning the marketing of your freelance graphic designing business can be quite tricky; especially when you have an increasing number of competitors and all of them marketing in their own unique ways. The freelancers who are into this business from past many years don’t find it much difficult to catch new clients, owing to their reputation through word-of-mouth marketing. However, new –comers and newly converted-to-freelancing designers should definitely pay heed to the aforementioned suggestions. Regardless of whether you are just getting started as a freelancer or whether you have a good bit of experience, giving consideration to your marketing efforts is a worthwhile activity.

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Comments
  1. suraj October 6, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Online profile is very important to attract new clients as well as to prove yourself. Thanks you very much for detailed explanation.

  2. Sofia Shafi October 8, 2010 at 6:50 am

    Well, I love it. I am sure everyone can find something for themselves in the resources provided by you!

  3. Claudia October 8, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Very interesting article…I believe a strong portfolio will certainly do the job of getting new projects.Is hard as a newbie to get this but who works hard will certainly have results

  4. Arfa October 9, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Thanks Suraj, Sofia and Claudia 🙂

  5. JONxBLAZE October 21, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Excellent tips! Thumbs up!

  6. Alex January 25, 2011 at 5:38 am

    I personally think that networking is the best way to get clients. Of course you have to have all other things in order as described in this post but I can say for myself that I get most of my clients from people who I know or have done something for them. Really nice post, it was my best read today.

    Keep up the good work.

    Cheers Alex

    1. Arfa January 25, 2011 at 12:19 pm

      Thanks for the appreciation Alex.

  7. Brett Widmann January 26, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    This was a really cool article. It contains a lot of really nice info.

  8. Nick Elliott - kikisoso / loudBANG creative January 9, 2012 at 1:43 am

    Nice artical Arfa, some very good points in there. Another ‘must read’ for graphic designers is Adrian Shaunessy’s book “how to be a graphic designer without losing your soul” Good luck and if at first you don’t succeed, keep trying, you will get there in the end.

    1. Arfa January 9, 2012 at 2:29 am

      Thank you very much Nick…
      You got my point instantly, it’s all about trying and trying again.
      See You 🙂

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