Being your own boss and earning money online is priceless. As a designer you have the freedom to make that happen and I want to help you do that.
This article is not focused on how to work directly for big graphic design companies. Instead I’m focusing on people who have just started out as freelancers.
Before I cover some of the key places where you can market yourself, let me get rid of any illusions you might have. The bottom line for any freelancer is you need to work hard, be organized, network and have an impressive portfolio. It’s hard work and a lot of it.
You want more bad news? You won’t get results overnight. You have a lot of competition. The good thing is though you can make a decent living by tapping into the hidden freelancing economy.
Ready to hack the big freelancing websites? Cool, let’s do it!
The Five Commandments of A Five-Figure Freelancer
Value Your Time
There will always be someone who will undercut you. That’s fine. Don’t try to be the cheapest, price yourself honestly and value your time.
Understand The Client
Before you apply for a job, review the clients profile and look at the feedback they leave. Note down what they liked about previous freelancers and what they were looking for. Then use this information in your application.
Get An Interview
People shortlist candidates based on price, but hire after an interview. Show interest in doing the job and offer to discuss the project via Skype or chat (just don’t put in a bid straight away).
Apply For Few Jobs
The truth about freelancing is that the best money is in repeat customers. Make sure you do every contract to the best of your ability and focus on satisfaction. These repeat customers are where you’ll make your money (it’s also part of the reason you need to price yourself properly at the start as getting a repeat customer to pay you more is tough).
Understand Your Market
There are so many freelancing sites online that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Target a select few and just focus on them (eLance is known for being one of the best freelancing sites btw, so I’d definitely create a profile for this site).
Killer Case Studies
Every one of these tips comes from my experience hiring and working as a freelancer, but don’t just take my word for it. Here are a few case studies created by successful freelancers (as well as a freelancers guide to freelancing).
Hacking eLance: A step-by-step guide to making $23,700 in four weeks.
How I earned 6 Figures in 12 Months: A look at the secret freelancing economy and how to take advantage of it.
Best Freelancing Websites: Great review by freelancers on the problems with freelancing.
Looking for places to get work as a freelancer? Check out a list of some of the biggest sites on the Internet.
With 15 millions user, Freelancer is one of the biggest marketplace for online jobs. The competition is tough, but the quality is mixed.
On Guru there are over 700,000 services in Design, Art and Multimedia category. Everything from individuals to small companies are listed here.
Elance is the best of the big three marketplaces (Freelancer, Odesk and Elance), because they take the smallest commissions. That means more money in your pocket.
You can make good money on fiverr. However, I’d say this is really a preferred site for business owners rather than quality freelancers.
99 Designs connect the world with great graphic designers. The site covers everything from logo, packaging, t-shirt through to book cover design.
I hope this article has given you a few ideas for building your freelancing business. I definitely suggest reading those case studies, as there’s lots of useful information in them.
I’m sure you must have some tips to becoming a better freelancer. Share them here. I’d love to hear them.