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A Guide For Designers To Start Freelancing

designer's guide to freelancing

Do you planning on starting your own work as a freelancer? This something many daydream about, but don’t do anything to make it real. If you really want to start freelancing, you must have a ‘can do’ attitude. You must be self-motivated, hustling and bustling for clients, and capable of wearing difference hats. Successful freelancers manage to do everything without anyone probing them to get their work done.

It’s tougher than it sounds and that’s exactly why so many people prefer to remain in the fantasy realm when it comes to freelancing instead of quitting everything to hit bed with a laptop and make money right from home. So, let’s be honest and explicit: freelancing isn’t for everyone. Those who get it right are those who can do all of the three things in the bold letters above—and of course a lot more.

But for those who are more than willing to work as a freelancer, get on the track! To help you along the way, here’s a quick guide on how to kick start your freelance design career from scratch.

Start Networking

You never know who could be your first or next client. Freelancers, just like marketers, need a lot of networking to pave their way through to places that may be difficult to access. In this scenario, however, networking is crucial for finding new clients. You can join Reddit subs relevant to your field of interest, or try to find new people on job boards or freelancing sites such as Upwork.com.

One other great way to get started for novice designers is to post work on online in design communities such as Behance or Dribbble. Not only do you get to showcase your skills and make way for potential clients, but also connect, socialize, and learn from other designers in your community.

Build Your Brand

You can work on this step before or after you’ve been hired by the first few clients. The whole idea behind building a personal brand is to maintain a personal style, voice, or expertise in your work that is somehow unique. This may not be clear at the very beginning of your freelance career. However, with time and experience, it becomes more apparent. Make sure you recognize that as soon as possible and work to build on it through specialized experience and projects.

Build On Your Skills

You may be a great designer, but remember your education, experience, and skills can never be absolute, particularly in the field of designing. It’s always a good idea to add on to your skills through tutorials, courses, or whatever resources you can find. The web is full of excellent Adobe Suite tutorials. You can also look for quick tips, easy shortcuts, or other ways to make your workflow more productive and efficient. This leads us to the next point…

Manage Your Workflow

This may be a no-brainer. But as we mentioned earlier, this is going to be the most important part of freelancing, and the part that determine whether or not you succeed as a freelancer. Once you’ve kicked your freelance business off the ground, there’s going to be plenty to do and you’ll come across a point when you’re so overworked, you may be willing to give up.

We’re here to tell you that it happens, so relax! The trick to keeping your sanity and ensuring that your workflow remains efficient is proper time management. Go ahead and try out management and productivity tools like Trello, Evernote or Google Drive. If you’re in need of an extra human hand, don’t hesitate to delegate tasks.

Work With Passion

The freelance gig is certainly not one of those profession where you can slack of every once in a while. Whether you’re a graphic designer, an illustrator, or a web developer, it is extremely important for you to pursue that area of expertise that you’re most passionate about. There’s plenty of competition in the design field and in order to propel your freelance career in a forward direction, you need to work with utter devotion and commitment.

Be Bold And Daring

Finally, when you have made it to the top, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself with large projects, big tasks, and catching big fish clients. In order words, you may feel comfortable being in the shallow end of the pool, but it isn’t until you swim in the deep waters that you realize how far you can go and what else you can do.