Being a design freelancer

From the friends of Untouchable Designs a great article about being a freelancer.

“You’re thinking about stepping out of the college world into the freelance world.

If you are looking to expand your portfolio, make an extra income or want to freelance for the rest of your life, this is the blog post you want to read.

It is not just for graphic designers. Whether you want to generate income from being a writer, editor, artist, photographer, videographer, landscaper, architect, fashion designer, creative, musician, dancer, chief, keep on reading!

This is the “real world,” not the babied world you are shielded from in your parents’ house and in college. This is a cut-throat second career you are stepping into. You have to “hulk-up” and become business savvy, marketing wizard, head-honcho and almighty-guru all into one!

 Business From Scratch

This is hard for us “creatives” to start but once we begin we keep on going. We are very particular in what we want. We have OCD and will not stop until it is perfected.

I will never think twice about starting a small business from nothing. I enjoyed it and cannot wait until I put more time into it or even start a new one. Untouchable Designs was one of the most positive and productive business ideas in my life for the 15 plus months I done it. The business is always changing and every day there is something new to accomplish. The vast goals are ever changing.

Brand yourself. Let’s go!

This will require the majority of your brainpower. It will not be easy and you may change it 20 times until you have a perfect “brand”. Anyone that is serious about his or her business will have a strong identity. You do not have to be a large company such as Apple, Louis Vuitton or Disney to create an impressive brand that stands out from the rest.

I personally made changes to my brand five times over seven months before I came up with a sound color scheme and brand you see before you. Then every thing else fell into place i.e., templates for social media sites, stock photos/mockups and webpage. This webpage took over a year to create and edit and I am still perfecting stuff on the back end, such as SEO and keywords. It will never be done!

Market yourself on the cheap.

You have to spend money to make money. Just think about it: you can have a loss against your taxes for your new business for the first two years. Starting a business is a gamble and you may as well invest into.

That being said, if you ain’t trying you ain’t working. If you have a passion for entrepreneurship you will make some money.

I have spent money on creating some mini-portfolio to give out at conventions and interview. I pay for my website and URL. I bought two bots that automate twitter marketing. Business cards and other business essentials etc. I am a very frugal small business owner. Trust me. You have to have a budget.

Now that I have all the stuff I pay for off my chest, onward to the stuff I get for the free! I have two free portfolios on a http://www.deviantart.com and http://www.behance.net. I am on all social networks, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Linkedin. I try to go to free social networking events, although I am not as engaged because of my full-time job with a print shop. Word of mouth remains the best form of advertising. Talk to everyone and be friendly. You never know who is listening or who needs your help in finding a solution. Give your business card out to everyone. People will contact you if they need something from a question or a quote on a $100,000.00 project. You never know until it happens!

Think Like a Partner, Client, Art Director or Recruiter.

Ask yourself, where do partners, clients, art directors, and headhunters go to find graphic designers? First thing, I do to research something or someone is search for it on google.com.

Here are a few rules of thumb so the online society can find you:

1. Use compelling and descriptive keywords to market yourself and your skills within your titles, narratives and briefs.

2. Use hashtags and keywords in posts and direct replies.

3. Customers search off what you can bring to the table and if you are a freelancer. Be knowledgeable.

4. Most, if not all, websites are searchable and the more you interact the better you come up first when searched.

5. Pick words that are industry-specific and are used by that job and per application.

Last Word

Most large, creative companies are looking more for part-time creatives that bring a new light to their marketing campaigns and designs. They will pay large amounts to someone to make them stand out from the norm.

Freelance is about working for yourself. It requires putting in the hours and wearing many hats, but doing so is an investment in your career and your future. Work it right, and you can be the best boss you’ve ever had.

BY: Nicholas Tuma, Graphic Communicator

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