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Career Graphic Design

How to Start a Freelance Graphic Design Business?

Since the apparition of the Internet, people could access any type of information they desired. The World Wide Web is the place where everything seems to be possible. It is a resource you should take advantage of in order to improve yourself.

Some people use the Internet without a purpose, thus becoming just a method to waste time and defocus from your actual tasks. This is why it is important to get to know what you can do with the help of this never-ending resource.

If you are tired of following rules at work or waking up in the morning just so you spend eight hours a day in a company, there is one thing that could entirely change your life – freelancing.

The Internet is frequently used with all sorts of purposes; it has a visible presence in almost everyone’s lives. Using it considering personal purposes is quite common, but more and more people started to make the Internet a great professional resource. Nowadays, almost 30 percent of the working-age population is engaged in independent work.

The tricky part is that not all domains are suitable for freelancing. Because it involves working over the Internet and delivering the final product in a digital manner, freelancing is limited to several fields of work.

how to start freelance graphic design business: freelancer drawing

Generally, IT services are the most searched for. The existence of platforms such as Freelancer.com or Upwork.com allows clients to communicate effectively and obtain what each of them desire.

Jobs are sectioned into categories so that freelancers can easily choose the one that’s suitable for their skills.

The domains that are in demand this year include high-quality photography, managing inventories, overseeing accounts, content writing, Search Engine Optimization, branding, compliance managing or graphic design.

This article is going to focus on graphic design and will give you some ideas on how to start your own freelance business in this domain.

Here’s the list:

Step One: Freelance Graphic Design Business Plan

Composing a freelance graphic design business plan and investing in your portfolio represent the beginning of your journey.

Start by gathering all of your work together and compose a beautiful portfolio. Your portfolio is your ticket to being selected for a job.

Most freelancing platforms include a system where you bid for the projects, so you’ll compete with many other people looking for the same thing as you do – making money and delivering quality work. It is highly important to stand out by using your portfolio and bring something new to the picture. As a graphic designer, you need some previously completed projects in order to build a portfolio.

At first, it may be difficult to gain clients by applying without a complex profile. It would be recommended to work for friends and family pro bono, to use school projects that obtained high grades in the past, to volunteer at non-profit design companies.

Do this long before starting your freelancing journey, as you will have to be prepared when you want to start applying to projects.

Since you are a graphic designer, you might want to create eye-pleasing content that will impress anyone who visits your profile. Give your absolute best – the first opinion matters the most.

Step Two: Get Experience

Once you think you’re ready to impress people with your work, start applying to various projects. As a beginner freelancer, you should apply to urgent projects where not many people bid.

You have higher chances of getting selected if you stand out from a smaller crowd. Don’t be greedy for now – focus on tiny projects that seem approachable. You just have to prove your worth to someone and get a good review.

From there, everything will become much easier than before. Once people can see that you have good reviews, they will tend to choose you over other freelancers.

The key to being selected faster is to write good proposals. Mention the goals you included in your freelance graphic design business plan for the best results.

girl writing business proposals

The moment you bid, state all the skills you have, so the client can know what he should expect. Freelancers that are in the industry for a long time won’t write proposals simply because they are relying on their reviews.

Graphic designers should mention the following skills in their bio or proposals:

  • Good communication skills
  • Respecting deadlines
  • Curiosity and flexibility
  • Ability to accept criticism
  • Solving urgent problems quickly
  • Reliability
  • Creativity
  • Technical knowledge

Step Three: Pricing Your Services

This is an issue that many freelance graphic designers have to deal with. When you first bid on projects, you might tend to bid a lower price compared to the average.

Sometimes, this can be considered a good strategy to attract clients, but other times, you can make them rethink their options because your bid is too low. Depending on how long will it take to complete the project, how well do you think you can handle it and how much research is necessary, you have to set a reasonable price for your services.

If you know you have enough experience to handle bigger projects and your portfolio is impressive enough to attract clients, you don’t have to work for pennies. Value your time and know your worth, compare your services and portfolio with the other freelancers bidding and you might have a pleasant surprise.

freelance service pricing

No matter what you do, respect deadlines and specialize in a particular niche. Graphic design contains a variety of subcategories and you need to choose only one and be the best at it. Remember to mention what technology you know working with.

Most searched for are:

  • Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign
  • UI/UX experience
  • Print Design
  • Branding
  • Basic HTML

Step Four: Communication

Stating exactly what you can do and letting your client know what to expect is paramount in freelancing.

Considering the fact that you will only communicate with your client via the platform itself, social media, mail or over the phone, you have to learn how to use words.

In graphic design, it is crucial to give updates to your customers and constantly ask for feedback. As mentioned before, sudden changes are quite often in freelancing, and you need to be prepared and flexible when they occur.

Your client’s opinion may differ from yours, but the goal is to respect the exact requirements you were given. Don’t risk finishing a project and starting it from the very beginning – ask for feedback. Respond promptly to all messages you receive and don’t hesitate to edit your work if your customer is not pleased with the final outcome.

Communicating effectively is the key to delivering the expected outcome. Asking for references after you complete a project is also recommended. A lot of positive reviews will lead to more projects and – eventually – more money.

Step Five: Legal Matters

Each country has specific regulations when it comes to freelancing.

You have to pay attention to the terms and conditions of the freelancing platform that you are using, to notice what commission the website assigns for each project and learn more about transactions.

Being a freelancer means you’ll have to be organized and plan everything beforehand. Graphic design jobs are well-paid and this is the main reason why you might want to learn some things about managing finances and paying all the taxes.

Follow your freelance graphic design business plan and everything should come out exactly as you expected.

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