HOW TO BE A FREELANCER (PART 2): Graphic Design

September 12, 2012 by Who's Who of Southern Africa 

In part two of this series, we take a look at freelancing as a graphic designer. This industry has its very own challenges: the main one being a mostly saturated market, which may make it difficult to build up a customer base.

Graphic design freelancers should have plenty of tools available for branding  themselves properly and making themselves stand out. This means you should create an impressive personal logo, as well as a website that can serve as portfolio. Special care should be taken when creating these: they serve as a business card and an example of your style and talent.

Once your portfolio is up and running and looking good, the next step is to go out and find yourself a project to work on. As with most freelance professions, your next job is not going to come knocking on your door. Next, you want to work on your reputation. This involves several elements, of which customer care is the backbone. Your service needs to be perfect and you should always go that extra mile to make your customers happy: a satisfied customer may always recommend your services to others. For a freelance graphic designer, the power of word-of-mouth is never to be underestimated. In order to keep improving, ask your clients for feedback.

Paul Scrivens, Product Designer at Media Temple, reminds us that believing in your own talent is crucial. There are already a lot of designers out there. This is why you have to believe in your own style and what you have to offer in this sector. You will gradually build up a network of happy customers. Be aware that this is not only an automatic process. You should always work on expanding this network yourself. Get on as many social and professional networks as possible and put yourself out there.

As we discussed in part one of this series, you should treat your freelancing activities as a business. Grace Smith at Postscript5 underlines the importance of making a business plan and saving up for a rainy day. Freelancing is a volatile business and you can never be sure there will be a project to work on tomorrow.

Finally, be professional about your activities: not only to your customers, but also to yourself. Set your working hours and be productive when you are ‘at work’. Know when to start and when to stop.

At the end of the day, your presence on the internet and how you represent and brand yourself can make all the difference. In combination with service and customer care, you are already half way there.

By Laura Macek, Journalism and Content Intern at Who’s Who

 

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