If freelance graphic design is your business, then you probably already know how competitive this field can be. Though there is no shortage of work out there, there is also a huge number of designers all vying for the same jobs. For those who are relatively new to this work, it can be discouraging. But through sheer hard work and persistence, any talented graphic designer can forge a successful career. Here are a few tactics, strategies, and tips to consider giving a shot.
1. Get social: Create Facebook and Twitter accounts associated with your graphic design business, and become an active part of the conversation surrounding graphic design.
2. Submit work to contests: Most graphic designers try to do personal creative work when they have time. If you have any pieces that you are proud of but which have no place in the professional side of your work, send them out to contests. If you place highly, you get instant marketing.
3. Write a blog: Do you have lots of opinions about graphic design? If so, start writing about them on your website. The possibilities are limitless. You could write about design craft. You could review instances of graphic design in the media or on the web. Whatever you come up with, make it novel and engaging, and people will take an interest.
4. Interact with other freelancers: Other graphic designers may be your competition for jobs, but that doesn’t mean they’re the enemy. In fact, by befriending them and sharing information, you can give yourself a great advantage when it comes to finding leads and staying on top of your craft.
5. Don’t forget local work: Many freelancers come to rely almost exclusively on the online services connecting freelancers with clients. But don’t forget that many potential clients are still going the older, more locally oriented routes. This doesn’t mean you need to check the classifieds in the local paper every day. It’s true that hardly anyone uses those anymore. But do check your local Craigslist for potential jobs.
6. Write tutorials and how-to’s: You clearly have expertise in what you do, so why not share your knowledge with people who are looking to learn graphic design? Put these on your blog, promote them as eBooks, or submit them for publication on websites or through publishers. This presents you as an expert in the field and will likely draw clients to you.
7. Offer freebies: Use your graphic design skills to create cool items that you can give out for free. For example, pens, cards, stationery, bumper stickers, and t-shirts are all items that can be made relatively cheaply and used as fun promotional items.
8. Advertise online: If you know of a few websites that your potential clients frequent, look into advertising on those sites. Just don’t break your budget on this, as there are plenty of ways to advertise for free online.
9. Keep in touch with old clients: If you once worked with a great client whom you haven’t heard from in a while, reach out to them to find out if they have any projects they’ve been contemplating, and ask if there is anything you can do.
10. Ask for referrals and testimonials: When a client is happy with your work, ask them to refer people to you whenever they get a chance, and request a few words of testimonial that you can place on your website.