How to become a freelance graphic designer

Everything you need to know about going freelance

If you are a creative person and like the idea of working for yourself, a career as a freelance graphic designercould be perfect! Most graphic designers work for design or marketing agencies, but many firms opt to hire freelance designers for ad-hoc work.

As experts in payroll solutions, we help many people just like you get to grips with being self-employed. Call us on 01923 277 900 to speak to one of our friendly customer care team and we will be happy to help find the right solution for you.

What is a graphic designer?

Graphic designers come in many shapes and sizes; some choose to specialise in certain areas and become experts in their field, whereas others opt for a more general route and offer a wide range of services. Some of the items that a graphic designer may have produced include:

  • Infographics
  • Brochures
  • Website designs
  • Business card designs

One challenge that graphic designers can often face with clients is the lack of a detailed brief. For example, it is not uncommon for a client to ask for an infographic but not have any real idea of how they want it to look. Therefore, it is essential that you are able to ask clients the right questions to be able to paint a clear picture of what they want.

The benefits of becoming a freelance graphic designer

There are a number of different benefits to leaving behind the world of permanent employment and choosing to become a freelance graphic designer. First and foremost, you could earn far more than if you were a permanent employee enduring the gruelling 9 to 5 hours. You can set your hourly rate and how much you charge for each project, so as your skills continue to develop and your reputation enhances, you could find yourself in a very lucrative position.

To find out more about how much you could take home as a freelancer, be sure to visit our easy to use take home pay calculator. All you need to do is enter you daily or hourly rate and an estimate of your monthly expenses and you’ll be presented with a quote. Remember that this is just a rough estimate and one of our friendly experts will be able to give you a more accurate calculation based on your individual circumstances.

Another benefit of being a freelancer is that you are your own boss! You get to pick what work you do, how long you work for and when you take a holiday… there is no one to answer to – you could even decide to catch a flight and work abroad for a week if your current working situation allows it!

Starting you career as a freelance graphic designer

With the solutions available from Futurelink Group, starting your career as a  freelance couldn’t be easier. We provide a number of solutions that can minimise the amount of paperwork that you need to complete and ensure that you get paid in the quickest and most efficient way possible.

Our Sole Trader Solution is most likely the best fit for you if you are just starting out as a graphic designer, but please call our helpdesk on 01923 277 900 and a member of our team will be happy to talk through your options.

Finding graphic design work

Even if you don’t have a mountain of sales experience under your belt, there are many steps you can take to help get your name out there and start generating graphic design work.

Word of mouth

It’s a free form of advertising and also one of the most effective! If you complete work for a client and they are happy with your work, chances are that if they have a contact that needs a graphic designer, they will recommend you. This is why it is extremely important to take pride in your work and provide your clients with the best service possible.

Most likely when you are first starting out you won’t know that many people, so it can’t hurt to offer an incentive for recommending you to a friend – this could be a cash reward or a discount on your services.

Build relationships with agencies and freelancers

Agencies and freelancers will often outsource work that they are unable to complete themselves. For example, a copywriter may be asked by a client if they can design a brochure as well as write the copy for it – in such situations they’ll outsource the design work to a freelancer.

By generating relationships with agencies and freelancers you can potentially drastically increase the reach of your services overnight. Although it’s worth bearing in mind that you might have to work at a slightly lower rate as the agency or freelancer will need to add their ‘cut’ to the end amount that is charged to the client, but when you consider the amount of work you could receive it is worth it.

Create a website

The first place most people go when they want to find a new service provider is the internet, so it’s essential that you have a presence online. There are many affordable agencies and freelancers that can construct a professional website that doesn’t cost the earth.

As your work will be extremely visual, it is important to develop a comprehensive portfolio area that does your work justice. Make sure that images are well displayed and if you can write a paragraph or two about each project it will give visitors an even greater insight into how it would be to work with you.

In addition to creating a portfolio, here are a few other pages that you should consider adding to your website:

  • Services
  • About
  • Contact

Freelance marketplaces

There are a number of websites where you can bid on graphic design jobs and promote your services e.g. Elance and People Per Hour. All you need to do is create a profile, select your skills, upload some portfolio items and you are good to go!

With literally thousands of freelancers active on these sites it is essential that your profile is fully complete (with some testimonials from existing clients) and your portfolio does your work justice.

When applying for jobs, be sure to state exactly how you can help and include a link to your website or portfolio section so that the potential client can easily see examples of your work.

Our customer care team are always on hand to help guide you through the world of tax, so if you have any questions or would like more information on our solutions, call us on 01923 277 900.

Now that you have a clearer understanding of how to start your journey to becoming a freelance graphic designer, you might also find the following pages useful:

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