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How to become a successful freelance designer

How to become a successful freelance designer

2020-01-22 |

You will all agree with me that being a freelance designer is not something one can decide overnight.

There are definitely a wide range of reasons why one would consider becoming a freelance designer. We all at one time have considered leaving our tedious jobs to be on our own. Truth is that there are several thousands of creative designers out there in the market. Even though the freelance market is somehow saturated we all want to become successful freelance designers. However it is important to understand that without self-discipline and effective project management, one can end up underpaid and overworked at the same time. The reason as to why many freelance designers have failed to succeed is because they lack fundamental tips for success. But hey, you do not have to be one of them. Below are important tips on how to become a successful freelance designer.

Know your target market

Freelance designing is not about designing anything you think of. Before you enter this industry, it is important to know your target market. Ensure you know them pretty well. By this I mean you must learn the needs or your target market. This way, you will be able to identify any challenges that may arise when addressing the needs of your clients. Identifying challenges also helps you to provide a perfect long-term solution that will leave a long lasting impression on your clients.

Most freelance designers market themselves as people who are able to design anything for any client. I understand you want to capture as many clients as you can. But this is a risky way of marketing yourself because obviously you cannot design anything for anyone. Even if you think you have the skill, you might be lacking the tools. It is so embarrassing when you are given a project you cannot handle. Ensure you have the right skill and tools for the project you are marketing yourself for.

Also apply for as many jobs as possible. You will come across well-paying projects and on a bad day you may come across projects that pay less. It is upon you to decide whether or not to take on these less paying projects. Freelance designers should not be greedy. I mean you not set extremely high rates that scare away your clients because you want to succeed quickly. It is wise to set reasonable charges that attract clients.

You need to sit down for a conversation with your clients

Whether the conversation is virtual or physical, it does not matter as long as you find time to discuss with your clients. Remember, conversation is key to the success of any project. A number of times, most freelance allow their clients to lead them all the way through the project. This is a very big mistake that any freelance designer who wishes to become successful must avoid. Allowing the client to lead the whole process is dangerous for both parties. Am not trying to say you should not listen to your clients. Please do not mistake me. My point is that both of you need to take things through and not just your client only. Conversing with your clients allows you time to negotiate about your charges, availability, deadlines and revisions. Any freelance artist who skips this stage is headed for failure. If you allow your clients to dictate all the above terms, they will definitely set them in a manner that favors them alone. Let your client say his offer and say yours too.

Finally you will come to agree on a common ground that is fit for both of you. Having a conversation with your client also offers you a chance to understand the needs of your clients since every client has his own individual needs. By discussing with your client, you get a chance to highlight areas you do not understand. This is important because it helps to avoid common mistakes that occur while working.

Successful freelance designers brand themselves effectively

Any business organization or company that has no any established style is likely to fail. The way you brand yourself as a freelance artist determines the success of your business. Most clients are willing to pay even a fortune for professional services. You need to give your business a professional look from the way you brand it. Do not worry about attracting clients. I can promise that they will come your way once you have a well-established brand name gives your freelance business a professional look.

Never sell yourself any short. "I won't pay you for this project but if your work pleases me then I will give you a lot of interesting projects in the future." If you are a freelance artist, am sure you have ever heard these words from one of your clients. I know this words as so tempting, and you are likely to fall for the trap. Do not be deceived. In most cases, these words are only empty promises that will never be fulfilled even when you complete the project successfully. Remember you are here to make a living and therefore working for free is not the best idea. You need to trust yourself and your work as well. Maybe your client is not lying but hey, do not sell yourself any short, not even once. All your effort must be compensated.

Avoid any distractions

We are all distracted by some less important things in our lives. Freelance designers who want to remain productive must do wherever it takes to identify and eliminate any obstacles that may distract them while working. As I have always said, you are accountable for yourself. You cannot blame your friends for stopping over at your place to say hi when you are working.

Most freelance designers love working from the comfort of their homes. This is not a bad idea but it easy to slip out of your working schedule. For instance, browsing on social media like Facebook or twitter for only a minute while working may quickly turn into several hours wasted on social media instead of completing your project. Have you ever walked into any office or working environment? Do you see employees surfing while serving their customers? You need to have a similar mindset. Say NO to any surfing temptations. If you cannot resist this temptation, I suggest you switch of your phone while working. If your home is not too convenient for you, find an office in town and set up your own studio.

Ensure you maintain a professional attitude all the time

Every client wants to know his project in being handled by the right person. Whether you are communicating with your client via email, phone calls or video calls, it is very important to maintain a professional attitude throughout. I understand that some clients are too hard to handle. But you are here to make dollars from all these clients. Whether your client is social or too hard to work with, a professional attitude will save you and keep you going. Did you know that you can attract or scare away your clients by the word of mouth? Before you say anything to your client, analyze your statement first and ensure it is strictly professionals. Clients are human beings. If they enjoy working with you, they will definitely leave you a good feedback and recommend you to their friends. This is one way of expanding your network. You mouth is your greatest weapon and so use it wisely. Always ensure you leave a perfect lasting impression on every client.

Submit your project in time

Earlier in this article, I mentioned that it is important to negotiate with your clients on key factors including deadlines. Before you accept any offer from a client, ensure you are comfortable with the deadline. Submitting work past the deadline creates a bad image to your client. He will leave you a bad feedback for example, "he is too slow or submits work past deadlines." Which client wants to hire a slow freelance designer? Obviously NO. But is you are the type that submits work in time, you will definitely attract more clients.

I believe you are now ready to take this big step of becoming freelance designer. Freelancing is a difficult route that is not for everyone. However if it is done in the right manner, it is obviously very rewarding.