If you’re creative, self-motivated, and have a knack for design, you can become a freelance designer!
Table of Contents
Build Your Workspace
Choose your design focus.
If you want to start earning income off your design skills, you’ll need to get creative! Freelance design is all about finding your niche and building your portfolio. Start by choosing the types of design services you want to offer. This can be logo design, brand creation, website imagery, or other specialty work. If you’ve worked on previous design projects, build your portfolio to send to prospective clients. New designers should create project examples focused on the types of work they plan to offer.
Build Your Workspace
Setup your workspace and business needs.
As a freelance designer, you’ll need a space to create a desk, office, or even a local coffee shop. You’ll also need design tools such as a sketchpad, computer, and software, and business management tools.
Many designers utilize programs like Sketch, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop & InDesign. For nitty-gritty business needs, we recommend Freework, an easy-to-use app with time-tracking, invoicing, and client organization tools. Freework is perfect for all types of freelance careers! Freelance Designer Philipp uses Freework to manage his daily work. Check out his story.
Research your pricing strategy.
Set your project prices according to your skill and experience level. Many designers charge at an hourly rate for smaller projects and charge at a flat rate for larger projects. Remember that design work can be tedious and takes time! Consider things like project size and design requirements before sharing your price list with your first client.
Build your client base & design business.
Design work is needed by virtually every business and organization. If a brand or company uses a logo, website, or other marketing materials, it’s likely they need design services, too! Start by reaching out to friends, family, and local small businesses who may be in need of design work. Offer your experience, portfolio, and ways you can make their brand pop.
In the modern world there are some more things you can do to promote your own business:
Social Media: We recommend you to create a Social Media presence where you want to play around a bit, you can also work with TikTok and there are more channels for exposing your creative work like Behance. Additionally, LinkedIn will help you with connecting with other Professionals and Businesses. You should definitely use this opportunity to directly connect to all the potential clients out there.
Online Presence: It might help you a lot if you also expose your graphic design work to the web by creating your own website. This way you can present your style in a very personal way as an online portfolio. What is important here is that you will only reach traffic if you use SEO and optimize your website to the Google Search Engine. In general, SEO and Webdesign are skills that you might combine with your design work some time so learning them will help you on multiple levels.
Start Designing And Work Hard
Get creative and get to work!
Now that you have your first client, it’s time to start designing! Be sure to deliver all projects on time and within the agreed upon hours or rate. Always communicate with your client if anything changes such as the amount of time needed for a project or the total cost. If you're working with the right people who appreciate your work, it will help you a lot to outperform their expectations in the beginning. This way you can earn a good reputation and find new clients easier. Outperforming does not mean everything will have to be perfect yet. If you're at the beginning of your graphic design career, your designs skills will improve through your experience. It just gives your customers a comfortable feeling if they notice that you are really into their projects and deliver your best work as fast as possible. And word-of-mouth is always the strongest form of advertising so getting referrals by your customers will boost your customer portfolio a lot.
And don't get us wrong, being your own boss is cool but freelancing can be much more challenging than a full-time job, especially in the beginning of your career. So make sure to always take care of your mental health and take some time out if needed. Things will get more structured within time.
Create invoices and get paid.
Finished with your creative work? it’s time to get paid! Calculate your hours worked or use a flat rate to create an invoice for each freelance design project or client. Freework makes this step easy with time tracking and invoice tools. Setup your client profiles, input your design rates, and use the time tracking tool to quickly generate your invoices. Simply tap the send button to submit invoices to all of your clients. The Freework app makes it easy to get paid to do what you love!
We hope this article gave you a quick overview on some of the upcoming steps if you're thinking about starting your freelance graphic design business. Being with the right customers. Learn more about our product, Freework, on our website!
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