How Do I Find High Paying Freelance Design Work?
This is a very common question among freelance designers. However, there is no one single path to design hotbed. There are different paths one can follow and not all of them will work for everyone. At the end of the day, you need to test out what works for you and leave the rest.
As a beginner freelance designer, it can be tough to find high paying design work. But once you’ve worked with a few clients and proven yourself, you may even start turning down work and charge higher rates.
How To Start Freelancing As A Graphic Designer?
So, you’ve mastered the skills and can now comfortably design from scratch to completion and deliver quality pieces to your clients. But you’re now wondering how to start off as a graphic designer. Here are a few guidelines to help you get started as a freelance graphic designer or even set up your graphic design agency.
Tip 1: Specialize
The design industry is highly populated with tones of awesome designers offering killer deigns. How do you break into this as a newbie? You need to specialize and perfect your skill. As an expert in a certain skill, you’ll be able to differentiate yourself from the rest.
As you were learning, you may have been able to identify your specialism. If you haven’t, think about the design aspect that you enjoy most. Project designers can work on designs across various fields, you just need to find what is trending out there and choose what to focus on. Here are some helpful niches that you may want to think about:
- Content marketing. In this niche, you’ll most likely design brochures, email marketing templates, social media templates among other things.
- Brand identity. Brands are always looking for logos, brand merchandise, color palettes etc.
- Packaging. The packaging industry is ever growing with companies often looking for ways to have the best packaging for their products. Think about juice cartons, cake boxes, toiletries.
Tip 2: Grow Your Business Skills
You may be an experienced designer but running a business requires a different set of skills. You need to equip yourself with skills such as:
- Marketing. If you sit comfortably at home, no one is going to find you and hire you, okay maybe your friends and relatives will. But if you intent to grow your brand as a freelance design, then you need to get the word out there, let the world know what you are offering. And, this can only be achieved if you market yourself well.
- Communication. Nothing can ever be achieved without good communication skills. As a freelance graphic designer, you need to work on your communication skills. This will not only help you network and find potential clients, it will also help when it comes to understanding a clients brief and delivering the right product.
- How to price graphic design jobs. Graphic design freelance jobs have no one price fits all. This is always tricky for freelance graphic designers to get right. You may be tempted to go low in order to win your first few clients, however this may undermine your expertise. Check out what the industry standards are and price yourself accordingly – not too low and not too high that clients will shy away from you.
Community. As a beginner freelance graphic designer, you need to find communities that will help mentor and offer support as you grow your freelance career. The American Institute of Graphic Arts and Design Business Association should be top of your list for the latest information on graphic design.
Tip 3: Start Your Business
You’ve gained some business skills and together with your design skills, you need to start thinking of starting your own business. Whether you want to be a solo freelance or start up an agency, you need to treat this as a business, set some goals and have a structured plan to achieve it.
Your business plan. Having a business plan will help answer some crucial questions before you get started in your graphic design business.
Your business structure. You need to choose how you are going to do business, whether you are going to set up as a limited company or a sole trader. This will also help you when it comes to filing your annual tax returns.
Tip 4: The Right Insurance
This is one aspect of design work that most freelance graphic designers tend to overlook but it’s a crucial part if you want to succeed in this industry. As a beginner freelance designer, you need to think about and get yourself a designer’s insurance. Here are some types o insurance that you should consider purchasing:
Public liability insurance – this protects designers if a member of the public gets injured, property is damaged and blames your business for it. It also helps to cover copyright infringement.
Professional liability insurance – this is an insurance cover that freelance graphic designers need to purchase. It helps to protect you in case you give faulty advice to a client, professional negligence, misrepresentation, and violation of good faith and fair dealing.
4 Ways to Find Freelance Design Work
1. Build A Portfolio
As a graphic designer, you need a portfolio. If you want to succeed in this cut throat field, there is no shortcut. You need to build a strong portfolio. You don’t necessarily have to wait to work for a client to include that in your portfolio.
Look at what is trending and come up with designs of your own to include in your portfolio. Once you have it, share it out. After all you didn’t create your portfolio to keep it a secret.
Share that link anywhere and everywhere; on social media, drop it in forums, include it in your email signature and even on the old school business card for when you are out for networking events.
2. Make Use of Social Design Websites.
There are several social design websites that you should take advantage of as a freelance graphic designer. Behance, Dribble, DeviantArt, The Dots, Dayflash are some of the well-established sites that can help you market yourself.
In as much as some of these social media platforms for designers were designed for graphic designers to share and get feedback on their work from other professionals, this is a great way of getting referrals. By creating profiles on these sites and sharing your work, you’re potentially marketing yourself to thousands of people, who will not only give you great feedback to improve your skills but can hire or refer you to potential clients.
As a designer, you should always leave room for feedback and improvements. Create stunning designs to add to your freelance portfolio consistently in order to stay relevant with emerging graphic design trends.
3. Freelance Job Marketplaces
Freelance job marketplaces are a good option for finding freelance graphic design jobs. There are quite a handful of these freelance marketplaces where you can find work but we will only take a look at a few top ones.
Upwork is one of the largest marketplaces that connects freelance graphic designers with potential clients. Hundreds of graphic design jobs are posted on this platform every single day. All you need to do is create your profile, create your specialized profile, upload your portfolio, create a few projects to sell or start bidding on graphic design projects.
Upwork is a competitive platform with designers from around the world. You may find some bidding with very low rates but this shouldn’t discourage you from stating your own rate.
As a freelance graphic designer on Upwork, you’ll have a chance to work with individuals and even Fortune 500 companies. As you work on improving your design skills, don’t leave your English skills behind as proper communication will help you land some of the big projects.
Getting started might be hard, but if you stay consistent and deliver quality, you may end up qualifying for the Top rated or Top Rated plus badges which help you stand out and get priority access to better paying graphic design jobs.
As the name suggests, this is a community of talented designers. According to the website, over 900 new design projects are posted on the site every week. To earn money as a graphic designer on the platform, you’ll have to register, find a project that interest you, create a design and submit.
Toptal is another freelance marketplace that you may want to look into. They screen their applicants to ensure that the freelance designers joining their platform are a good fit for their top tier clientele such as Thumbtack, Zendesk and Airbnb.
This is another great place to find freelance work especially if you want to work in the start up industry. The directory is made of a variety of startups looking to hire. From a one man start-up in some remote place, to companies such as Twitch, Instacart, Discord, and Uber.
Create your profile, tell your story, talk to founders and win some awesome gigs!
4. Start A Blog
I know you’ll argue that design is a different process and doesn’t require too much writing. Writing may not be your passion, but having a blog, and sharing your expertise can help drive traffic to your portfolio.
Think of your blog and content as a way of marketing your brand. What do you want potential clients to know about you? What are you good at? What’s your niche? Are you a person who can take a random idea, and conceptualize it into an amazing design?
Find Your Next Freelance Graphic Design Gig
If you’ve been sitting at home with your skills and wondering how to find freelance graphic design jobs, we hope the information above will help you get started.
Remember no client will come looking for you, you need to put yourself out there. Show your potential clients what you are capable of. Whether you are a self taught graphic designer or went to top design schools, at the end of the day, what matters most is what you can deliver.
Will your design bring out the brands image correctly?
Does your design make the brand stand out from its competitors?
Is your design unique?
Are you a graphic designer, share in the comments any other helpful tips that have worked for you in your career.