So you want to start working as a freelance graphic designer. Where do you start? How do you meet clients? There are a lot of questions that you may ask yourself as you are starting your freelance business. It can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but there are few tips that I have learned in my own journey that may help you in yours.
1. Create a business name, if you plan to do business using any other name but your own. In my own business, I incorporated my name into by business name. My name is Victoria H Braswell. If you add, "graphic design" behind that, it turns into a very long name, so I ended up using my first two initials (V + H) and my last name (Braswell) to get VHBraswell Graphic Design. Once you create a name, if it doesn't include your name, you may have to fill out a "doing business as" form with your local state government.
2. Create a website. As you probably already know, having a website in this field is crucial. Keep it easy to navigate and simple in design. You may want to add a portfolio with examples of your work. Create a blog on your website. Blogs are a fantastic way to add fresh content to your website. The more you update your website, the higher in search engines your site will appear. Also create a page that lists the services you offer, as well as a contact page so that potential clients can reach you.
3. Sign up for social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google +, etc) and update often. Keep active on social media. Use social media as a tool for active communication with your clients and your network of professionals. I think of social media as an "ongoing conversation."
4. Create profiles on freelance websites (ex. Elance, ODesk, Freelanced, etc). These sites are great tools for finding freelance work.
5. Design and order business cards and possibly other marketing material. Business cards can be passed out at networking events, to friends/family, clients, pretty much anywhere. Use these materials to get your name out to as many potential clients as possible.
6. Create a price sheet listing all of the services you offer. You can add this to your website if you wish.
7. Set up a home office. Make sure you have all the supplies and software that you need.
Those are just a few tips on how to get started as a freelance graphic designer. If you have any other tips, please leave them in a comment below.
Victoria (Tori) is a freelance graphic designer located just outside of St. Louis, Mo.