If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, chances are freelancing is your ultimate dream. And indeed, how great it is if you can make a living by working for literally anyone from anywhere in the world, and you get to arrange your lifestyle in any way you see fir on top of that. If you haven’t really given it much thought, freelancing might seem like a very easy thing to start off – all you need is knowledge and clients. However, that couldn’t be farther away from the truth, which is that actually establishing a career as a freelancer, especially in fields like graphic or web design, where the number of experts is growing quickly and the competition is fierce, is a long and hard process. Thus, here are some tips to start off your independent journey.
- Be confident in your skills and price accordingly. Make sure you evaluate yourself objectively and can put a price on what you can do. Research what other people with your professional background are asking for similar services, see how much experience they have and how many recommendations they have received and then estimate your price based on that. Don’t oversell your services, promise something you cannot deliver or set a price that is unreasonably high for a beginner freelancer. All of these things will set you aback quite significantly.
- Develop your brand. As a graphic or web designer, consider a “signature” that will help you become a memorable figure in the industry. Needless to say that to accomplish this, a social media platform is not enough. You need your personal website, ideally even a blog where you could keep your clients updated not only on your achievements but also on the development on the industry. People love to see they are purchasing services from someone who knows their field and its innovations inside out!
- Put together and impressive portfolio. This might require doing some work for free or setting some tasks for yourself. Don’t forget that no one will hire you if you don’t have anything to back up your claims of being a great designer! Portfolio is not just what you have done so far, but also things you are working on now or would like to explore in the future. Who knows, maybe a potential customer will pick up on that and you can embark on this fun journey together!
- Nurture client relationships. Returning clients are every freelancer’s bread. They are living examples of the fact that people are satisfied with your work, they will be those to spread the word-of-mouth compliments about you and in general they are an invaluable asset to your professional growth! Make sure you communicate efficiently and are extremely helpful but never forget you know better when it comes to your specific field!
- Contracts, invoices, legal advisors… Once you take off, make sure you can manage it all! One of the most important things to keep track of is invoices. They can be notoriously difficult to produce at the end of the month if you haven’t been writing down what work exactly you completed. Also, as a freelancer, you don’t have many social guarantees a full-time employee might enjoy. Thus, an official contract protecting your rights and your work might not be a bad idea – pay a one-time fee to a lawyer and have them draft something that will keep you safe in the competitive market! Or, if you truly are freelancing full-time, an accountant or a legal advisor are not out of question!