So, you’ve decided you’ve been thinking about it enough, and you’re finally ready to take the plunge. If you’re planning to become a freelance graphic designer, you’ve got an intense, though highly rewarding career ahead of you. You might be an absolutely impeccable designer, but unfortunately that’s not enough to make it in this industry. Here are some important tips for launching your freelance career.

I’ll start this off with the preparation you’ll have to do. Firstly, save up! I know you may be itching to leave your current job, but you should really have a nice savings cushion. The first few months of freelancing can be brutal, and I’m sure you don’t want to ruin yourself so early in the process! Another thing you should do well in advance is know who your target market is. There are countless graphic designers out there, and having your own specific niche can do a lot to bring in business and make you stand out. However, don’t overemphasise your specialty too much, even if you’re the best at what you do. If you present yourself as an industrial-sector logo designer, rather than just a designer with a niche, you’ll chase away a lot of clients.

My next tip is to work hard at your marketing. This is perhaps the most important tip I can offer to any kind of freelancer. Remember that when you were working at your last job, your company had a marketing department dedicated to drawing in customers. When you’re a self-employed creative, things are pretty different. Your workload is likely to be sporadic and unpredictable to begin with. Even if you’re not getting any assignments, you should treat your self-employed business as a full-time job. This means marketing nine to five. To get a few initial clients, you might want to sign up to Fivesquid.com or something similar. These sites won’t make you rich, but they will help to build up a portfolio, which is essential for finding more work.

Finally, don’t suddenly halt your education. As I mentioned before, there are a lot of freelance graphic designers out there. You may not have considered this, but a lot of them are going to be better than you! When companies look to outsource design work, they’ll be looking for the very best. You need to be constantly honing your skills, and keeping on top of any changing trends in the graphic design industry. No niche ever sits still, and you’ll need to give a competitive quality of service to stay afloat. Vectips.com is a great place for you to find design tips and tricks. You should be monitoring several blogs and news channels, and making a point to apply everything you learn.

There you have some of the best tips for starting off as a freelance graphic designer. Believe me, you can have a hectic, often frustrating time out there. However, if you can put the work in, being a freelancer can be a great experience. I for one would rather work twelve hours for myself than six hours for a bloated boss!

Image: Wikimedia

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