Freelance graphic design work seems like the best job in the world: you get to make your own schedule, work from home and choose which projects and clients you take on. All of that is true; however, becoming a freelance graphic designer isn’t as easy as it seems. To succeed, you’ll need an excellent work ethic and some entrepreneurial skills, as well as a strong educational foundation. Here’s our guide to how to be a freelance graphic designer, in seven easy-to-follow steps.
Get the right equipment
This is pretty obvious, but to do design work from home you’ll need to be sure you have the necessary software and hardware. The standard software for graphic design is the Adobe Creative Cloud. While you may not need all of the desktop applications included, you will probably need Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Lightroom, among others. Depending on the services you want to offer clients, you can choose what you need. In terms of computers themselves, this is also up to your preferences and needs. Some graphic designers work from laptop systems, while others prefer to have a desktop machine. Whether you choose an Apple or PC system is your call, too.
Don’t rush into freelance work before your financial situation allows you to do so with security. Whether that means keeping your day job until you get your freelance business up and running or waiting until you’ve saved up enough to cover six months of expenses is up to you. If you plan to keep a full-time job while you launch your freelance work, start a few side projects that you can work on after hours.
Update your information
In any new work venture, it’s important to have updated professional credentials. Make sure that your resume reflects that you’re looking for more work, rather than a new job. Try to come across as a confident professional who is actively seeking to increase your client base. Also take some time to refresh your personal website. It’s the easiest way to introduce yourself to prospective clients, as well as a place to send new networking contacts. House your portfolio in its own tab on your site, along with a digital version of your resume.
Freelance work can be irregular, especially when you’re first starting out. The best way to gain new projects and clients is by promoting your business. Do this by creating social media accounts, or add a blog to your website that includes features on the projects and clients you’re working with. Create a marketing plan and calendar, then stick to it.
Create your brand
The next step is to create an identifiable brand identity. To do that, you’ll need to have business cards and a website for your new venture, as well as additional materials such as brochures. Branding is important, so come up with a logo and website design that reflects your services and client base. Do some research to see what features other designers have on their websites and create materials that make sense for your business.
Make it worth your while
Setting prices for your services can be difficult, but keep in mind that you’re using revenue to pay for all of your business expenses. This means that you have to make enough money from your business to cover things like insurance, equipment and taxes. Do some research on other freelance businesses in your area to get an idea of what your competition will be charging for similar services. You may think that you need to charge lower prices to get business, but the clients that you’ll want to work for will understand that you get what you pay for. Don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth
Get the right education
The most important part of launching a successful freelance design business is having a strong background of design knowledge. At BUonline, you can complete your online Associate of Arts in Graphic Design in just two years. This program covers the fundamental skills you need for all types of media and software. The combination of range and experience you’ll gain as you pursue your degree will result in marketable skills you can apply to your freelance career. And when you graduate from our online graphic design degree, you’ll have a portfolio to show future clients what you can do.
Are you ready to begin your freelance career? Learn more about how the graphic design courses in our program can help you get started.