Do you dream of making a living as a freelance designer, but you’re not quite sure how to get started? The following is a list of freelance design options that should keep you busy – and well paid – for some time to come. To begin, it is important to set the stage so that potential clients know that you are able, willing and ready to be hired. To showcase your ability effectively, the first thing you will need is a portfolio.
Building Your Portfolio
Take all of your previous projects – paid and unpaid – and find the most exemplary pieces to show potential clients when you start marketing your services. If this is your first time working as a freelance designer, you may not have many pieces to work with. This is where you should do some research, find out what most clients are looking for and start designing projects as if you actually had people paying you for your hard work. Put your all into your portfolio, make sure it’s polished and professional and then advertise your work to anyone who will pay attention. Here is how to do just that.
Today’s social networks have become incredibly image-centric, which is ideal for the freelance design professional. You can upload your works to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+ and any other networks you plan to use. If you can manage to build up a healthy following, you may soon find yourself fielding offers from potential clients who are interested in hiring you.
Whether you are looking for local clients or clients from all over the world, Craigslist is still an excellent resource. You can even put your own ads on Craigslist letting others know that you are looking for work. Make sure that it is easy to contact you, including a valid email address and phone number, if applicable. If you don’t want to give out your own phone number, get a Google Voice phone number, which will forward any calls or texts to your cell or smartphone.
Many freelance design professionals go right to the freelance job boards to find work; and this is always a good option if you don’t mind competing with a slew of other professionals for all types of design jobs. Whatever you hope to do, there is likely someone advertising for just that service on eLance. Fill out your profile with enticing information, upload your profile images and start bidding for projects. Even if you don’t choose eLance as your chosen freelance design job board, at least you’ll get some idea of the types of projects that clients might be looking for.
oDesk is another popular freelance job board, and freelance design is a major category that gets tons of activity on a regular basis. The best move would be to have profiles on both eLance and oDesk to maximize your chances of finding clients to work for.
Keep in mind that with both job boards your payments will typically be held in escrow until the job is complete. This means that you can’t usually ask for half up front, which is a good practice to get into for all freelance professionals.
Another good option for freelance designers is to create a Google Alert that notifies you whenever potential clients advertise design jobs online. Come up with a series of keywords, such as ‘looking for a freelance designer’ or specific keywords relating to the type of design you prefer, such as branding, marketing, web design or any other. You will then receive regular email updates whenever those terms are caught by Google’s search algorithm.
If you don’t like the idea of waiting around for clients to contact you, take action and start contacting marketing and advertising agencies, small businesses, midsized businesses and corporations to let them know that you are available for immediate work. As long as your portfolio looks professional, as long as your prices are competitive and as long as you are skilled and reliable, you should have no trouble finding work this way.
You now have a wide range of freelance design options to choose from. If you don’t like your day job or you have been out of work for some time and you’re ready to get started on the road to freelance success, start putting yourself out there. If you put focus into your dreams, your dreams will come true; and that’s never been truer for freelance designers than it is right now.
Image Source: Chad Magiera on Flickr
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