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How to Be a Successful Freelance Graphic Designer

Freelancing is becoming more and more popular every day. People love the freedom it affords, as well as the ability to set your own rates, take on as much or as little work as you want, and it’s a great career path or supplement to your 9-5. While sites like Upwork and Fiverr have helped propel freelancers forward, you’ll find that there is no single best way to get clients for your freelance business. In graphic design, it’s critical to have a portfolio that showcases your work and to leverage it when you pitch clients. Here are some essentials you’ll need to be successful as a freelance graphic designer.

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Learn How to Pitch Your Services

One of the scariest parts of being a freelancer is the fact that you need to pitch your services to potential clients. Whether you learn to cold pitch or pitch to warm leads, you can learn to create pitches that are effective. A few things to consider are that you need to make the pitch about them, their company, their needs, and their potential pain points. In your pitch, be sure to also briefly highlight how you can help. A good pitch isn’t a resume, either. Rather, it’s more of a sales letter that focuses on their company, instead of your experiences. Once you get comfortable pitching, you’ll be able to connect with companies from any industry you want to design for.

Make a Portfolio

Whether you are new to design and have never had your own client, or you are a veteran designer, a portfolio that showcases your talent is essential. You’ll want to create designs that highlight your ability and show how you can help. If you want to design for brands, don’t just show a logo, show how that design can be translated to different mediums. A digital portfolio is just fine for

Don’t Say “Yes” to Everything

It’s easy to get caught up in a lack mentality as a freelancer. You want to say yes to projects so you can make money, but you don’t have to say yes to everything that crosses your radar. It’s important to leave some flexible time in your schedule so you can say yes to the things you love the most and that get you really excited about doing design. You don’t want to have too many boring projects in your queue that simply take your time. While you do need to pay the bills, you also don’t have to say yes to clients who treat you poorly or who aren’t a good fit for your services.

Create the Best Customer Experience

Think about your client interactions from start to finish. What do you do that sets you apart from the competition? Do you respond to emails quickly? Do you provide more mock-ups than the competition? Part of being a freelancer is recognizing that you are the only person who can provide the best customer experience for your clients. The buck falls on you. But it also means that you can be the one to make sure your clients are happy with their product and with you. That way, they will continue to hire you for their projects, and may even refer you to their friends.

Create a Business Plan

While you might think that you’re “just” a freelancer, in reality, your freelance graphic design services are a small business. A business plan simply helps you determine your rates, your methods of getting clients, and how you want to run everything behind the scenes. You can use a business plan to document your website, payment options for clients, outline your contracts, and so much more. It can be as simple or detailed as you want. It’s a tool to help you stay focused on what you’re doing and how you want to grow, or if you want to grow. Perhaps your only goal is to make an extra $500 a month. A business plan will help you line out exactly how to reach that goal.

Create and Use a LinkedIn Profile

It’s not necessary to have your graphic design business on all the social media platforms, but if you’re offering B2B services like graphic design, a LinkedIn profile is the perfect opportunity for you to showcase who you are and how you can help potential clients. It also gives you a place to send potential clients to learn more about you before they decide to work with you. No need to create a fancy website, either—unless, of course, you specialize in web design.

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