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A Guide to Going Freelance: In-House to Freelance Designer

This guide will explore the benefits of going freelance in the graphic design area.

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Working as a freelance graphic designer comes with amazing pros. Getting to work in a schedule you created fitting your specific lifestyle, working from everywhere that provides a stable internet connection, and getting paid as you work. But when you flip the coin and look at its cons, you may also find yourself in some undesirable situations. But graphic design means creativity, and creatives have difficulty with discipline and being put into a box. The freer, the better! So, the majority will ask, “how does one get to be a freelance graphic designer?”

In this blog post, we will be guiding you on how to go as a freelancer in the world of graphic design. We aim to set you free and help you build a system that will, in turn, make both you and your clients happy. So, keep reading!


1. First Step: Finding Your First Client

Don’t get lost in setting up an official business before having anyone to pay you or designing your own logo of a company that does not exist – yet. Instead, set out to find your first paying client. After all, if you don’t have a client, graphic design is nothing but a hobby for you.

We have a mission here: to lead a fulfilling life as a freelance graphic designer! That will need us to build up an income. And no income will generate without having people pay you for what you do.

The most effective way for you to find your first client will be by spreading the word on your social media accounts. Let your contacts know what you can design for them and how you can help them create images for their own brand and services. Shout it out from your social network rooftops! As a second alternative, search for freelance job boards that are looking out for a graphic designer. Open an account on Upwork, Fiverr or People per Hour to set up your online shop like other professionals.


2. Let’s Build Your Brand

After setting up your work and getting paid for it, you will have to decide how to brand yourself.

Will you choose the path to name your business with your full name and confine yourself to operating a one-person business for the rest of your life? Or would you perhaps like to come up with a name that will let you dream of going big and employing others under its roof someday? Talking about creativity and graphic design, we doubt you would like to draw lines to your own growth and set out not to do something more significant in time. Make your decision early! After all, a professional look will need some branding.


3. Build a Portfolio and Let the World See Your Magic

As a graphic designer aiming to go freelance full time, you need to take the matter into your own hands and build a portfolio to showcase a range of your best work.

You are not preparing to curate an exhibition that fills up the walls of a labyrinth-like hall, with the title “the Super Random Works of a Random Freelance Graphic Designer” here. Just pick your best pieces and bring them together to give as a reference to the quality of service you will provide. Don’t overthink it, don’t be too picky. This is not the wedding day you are organizing.

Keep up with the times and definitely have your portfolio online. Place the link to it on your professional social network profiles so that your potential clients can check your work out.

To help you create your online graphic design portfolio, you can get help from the industry giants like DeviantArt, Dribble, Artstation, or 500 px. Your options aren’t limited to these, but we are giving some names to help you out here.

Ding-ding! Reminding you again: Don’t forget to highlight only your best work that will encourage visitors to hire you!


4. Make Sure You Get Paid – And in Time

As a professional who is putting their heart and soul into their work and deciding to become a freelance graphic designer, make sure you are getting paid for what you do. And in a timely manner.

After all, we all have bills to pay, due rent, and maybe even some debt clearing to do. Even when you scratch any type of authority that will be asking you “where THEIR money is” on the due date, remember this: you are putting your time and your precious, dandy, creative soul into creating art. You are offering a professional service. So make sure you get paid, and in time, for what you do. After all, no professional service is offered free in this day and age!


5. Do Not Settle Down Early: Always Be on the Lookout for New Clients


You will never know when a client will decide to part ways with you. Their business might fail, their managers and taste for design might change, they might hire their own in-house, full-time graphic designer. So, always be looking out to add up new names to your client list. Going freelance brings you the freedom to be your own boss, and that calls for you to make paying contacts as many as possible.


6. Get Feedback and Master Your Craft Further

After all the steps you’ve taken, now it’s time for your crucial last step: getting feedback on what you do!

Creativity is such a subjective topic that not every client is going to like what you do, even when you are provided with the most professionally scripted and detailed brief beforehand. Happy clients make long time clients, and great referrals will come with them. So, getting feedback and adjusting your work is crucial when you work as a freelance graphic designer.


7. Adjust Your Work with Real-Time Feedback

Artboard Studio’s “Presentation” future will be a life saver as you look out to put the finishing touches to your work.

Forget about the time consuming back and forth that come with editing requests from your clients! Open up your project right when you have your client in “on a call” and use the presentation future to get real-time feedback from them. Make adjustments right then and there without losing any extra time as you complete their order. Put the last touches simultaneously as your client points out their requests, and neither of you will feel like either party needed to physically be there, looking at the same screen, to get work done!

Sounds too good to be true? But it definitely is!

Sign up to open your account with Artboard Studio and take your in-house profession to freelance.

Happy creating!

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