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How do I Become a Freelance Graphic Designer?

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  • Written By: Sonal Panse
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2016
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There are definite attractions to becoming a freelance graphic designer. Freelance graphic designers work independently, have a roster of different clients and have an unlimited earning potential. Before plunging into the freelance pool, however, it is advisable to consider all aspects of the business.

The first thing a graphic designer requires is the skill, knowledge and talent to do graphic design work. Talent is usually inborn. Skills and knowledge can be acquired by taking college or university courses in graphic design. Some graphic artists are self-taught.

Designing skills aside, a freelance graphic designer must be prepared to shoulder several responsibilities simultaneously. These include office management, marketing, finance management, accounting, technical maintenance and general maintenance. Business acumen, people skills and high levels of confidence are necessary.

Competition in the graphic design field is tough and it can take time to get established. It is important to stay focused and motivated, and be able to cope well with rejection or criticism. The freelance graphic designer must also be comfortable working alone and for long hours.

Another factor is finances. Freelance means the paychecks arrive only if the freelance work flows in. Until it does, have sufficient savings to tide things over. Otherwise monetary worries will put a spanner in both the creative and business abilities.

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Sometimes it's smarter to take the full-time route to freelance. Build up a pool of freelance clients while keeping the regular job. Add to these and gradually ease into being a freelance graphic designer.

Once all these issues have been considered and the plunge taken, pick a name for the business. Get registered as a self-employed person with the Tax Department, which is essential in most countries. Find out about filing taxes and getting business insurance.

Set up a home office with office furniture, computer equipment and a phone. Invest in a powerful computer with a large monitor, a first-rate graphics card and the latest design software. Create a well-presented, informative and easy-to-navigate business website. Use business name for domain name. Optimize site with keywords so it is easily found by search engines.

Plan an effective marketing strategy. Network with peers, cold-call clients, write a business blog, write a press release, advertise in business directories and newspapers. Use search engines and online job boards to find work.

Be well-informed about current freelance pay scales, copyright issues and work-related legalities. Never undertake any project without a written, signed work contract. This should detail the project, completion time-frame, payment amount, payment method, copyright and any other relevant information.

Maintain up-to-date, detailed financial records of all business transactions. Note all business expenses and received payments. Keep all receipts. Be professional in work, word and appearance. Always go an extra step to offer excellent service. Ask clients for referrals.

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Discuss this Article

anon155441
Post 4

Wow. This has been an extremely important article and very helpful.

beachgirl05
Post 3

love0876- I agree with you that getting a part time job when freelancing is ideal, especially in the beginning of your career.

Getting a part time job within the graphic design industry would be especially helpful. The job might give you contacts for potential clients and will allow you to network. It will also give you the opportunity to perfect your design skills as well.

love0876
Post 2

Some freelancing graphic designers may want to consider getting a part time job. Having a part time job still gives you plenty of time to work on your freelance business but you will still have a steady income coming in. This can be especially beneficial in the beginning when business is slow.

Taking on a part time job is also a good way to get out of the house every day. People who work from home can often get restless and feel as if they are in the house all day. Going to a separate job just a few hours a day is an ideal way to get out of the house and earn money at the same time.

surreallife
Post 1

A very informative article. For a freelance designer to be really successful it seems it is not sufficient to be talented only, but he or she has to have so many other skills.

I am sure though that freelancing can be a very rewarding job. The money earning potential, the satisfied clientele and such, are big rewards, but the freedom the freelancing offers seems invaluable to me.

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