Being a freelance graphic designer is rewarding but not without its problems. If you have never worked for yourself before, and are just starting out, there are some key points to factor in. If you are a seasoned professional, a few operational tweaks are not always unwelcome. Working for yourself is great but read on for some tips on how to make your life easier as a freelance graphic designer.
Make a Space for Work
Creative roles require space, even if they are carried out on a computer or laptop. The mind needs to be clutter free and the creative vibes need to be able to have the arena in which to flow freely. Your work is largely dependent on your mind connecting with a project, so you need a dedicated space to get into that mindset in the first place. Create an office in your home or hire a space externally in a shared office. Your office will be where you spend most of your working hours so, it is important that it suits your ethos, methodology, and brand vision. It can be professional while also maintaining the artistic aspects of graphic design.
Get the Most Productive Technology
When you have your office space up and running, make sure to acquire the right tech to complete the scene. Graphic designers need something with more power than a traditional laptop or desktop and that is where the alternative workstation style desktop shines as a credible option. This range from Lenovo is a strong idea of what workstations have to offer. They are created for a heavy-duty project, like the ones graphic designers often take on. They have better, more capable GPUs, a more supportive CPU, and the RAM is also more in line with the needs of a graphics heavy work base.
Set a Dedicated Work Email Address
Do not use your personal email account for work related correspondence. It can cause too much confusion, mean that essential emails might be missed entirely, and makes everything just that bit more disorganized. A work email address also makes you look more professional to clients.
Get Dressed for the Day
Set a work schedule for yourself that suits you. If you work better in the evening, start your professional clock then. Get up and get dressed because working in your pajamas is never as motivational as it sounds.
Set Your Rates Competitively
Scoping out the competition enables you to see what rates other people are using for similar services. By doing this, you can dictate your prices accordingly, ultimately giving you the edge over other companies. Don’t work for less than you are worth; this is a timely process, and it is your craft that people are paying for as much as everything else.
Draft a Contract for Clients
Client contracts are a way to ensure you are legally protected if a customer backtracks on their demands or refuses to pay. It is a sensible idea to have both parties sign a document before commencing work as a formal agreement on the expectations of each side. That way, if a client refuses to pay or changes the parameters, you can refer back to this document for reference and use it should things proceed to a legal arena.
Put Yourself Out There
Try to connect with other local professionals with similar areas of interest and business. Local networking events are great for this, and while it is a nerve-wracking experience to take the first steps, the benefits will be unbelievable. For example, someone may have a gap in their skills that you can fill and vice versa. This means a collaborative effort or referring clients to one another becomes a viable option and can bring one another more business in the long run, rather than having to turn clients away. It also makes you look more professional to have industry connections, which boosts your credibility as a freelancer and helps to put your brand on the map.
Market Your Brand
Advertise your services, as it is the only way to reach new clients and secure business. You have plenty of options to play with in this respect. For example, you could:
- Set up a social media profile for your business. People are turning to social media to find services as it is convenient, and it’s a popular platform for companies to display what they have to offer.
- Create a website and get to know SEO practices to drive new people to your site. Create pages on essential company information like what you do, how you do it, and what your rates are for different project types. Provide contact information and links to social profiles too to keep everything linked together neatly.
- Ask clients to recommend your services or leave a review to encourage new customers to come forward.
Invoicing is a task that all freelancers face at some point in the working week. Consider using a software program to create and manage your invoices. This is the one part of your business that you can’t get wrong because it would mean you don’t get paid. It has to look professional, contain all the necessary information, and be filed and stored for tax purposes. You don’t get paid to create your invoices, but it is an essential admin task that is unavoidable. Missing or error-filled invoices are the bane of the freelancer’s existence!
Be Strict with Your Time
Don’t let people take advantage of your time and set your rates accordingly. Be upfront about how long a project will take and stay in touch about any issues that may cause a delay. Your time is precious, and there needs to be some divide between the workday and personal time to avoid mental burnout. Some people have a higher capacity for work than others, but everyone needs a break.
Freelance graphic design is a rewarding career path, and working for yourself definitely comes with perks. Just remember to stay on top of organization and network with other professionals in the field to enable your business to grow organically.