In this sluggish economic environment, even talented graphic designers are having trouble finding work. Many clients are now outsourcing their design jobs to foreigners, and thanks to freelance marketplaces, it’s easy for clients to find designers who are willing to work for mere pennies. Plenty of clients are still willing to pay fair prices, but today’s graphic designers need to be on top of their game if they want to stand a chance.
1. Get to Know the Locals
Local trade fairs, festivals and business events are great places to meet and network with potential clients. From car washes to restaurants, all types of businesses require someone to work on their logos and other design projects. If you can meet and mingle with these business owners in person, they will be much more likely to think of you the next time they need a designer.
2. Take Advantage of Social Media
Joining graphic design communities and participating in forums is a great way to start getting your name out there. However, you should also have a social media presence across a variety of platforms, such as Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. You’ll also need to regularly update a blog, where you’ll be showing off your design work and providing helpful information that will keep your readers coming back for more.
3. Have Confidence
If you don’t believe in yourself and your work, neither will anyone else. Whether you’re an experienced designer or just getting started, confidence is key. What makes you different than your competition? What’s special about what you have to offer? Focus on these things when selling yourself, and when you land a new client, make sure you deliver work that you can feel proud of. The more you do this, the more your confidence will grow, and the easier it will be to get clients to trust you.
4. Be Prepared
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to be prepared for a heavy workload. It won’t do you any good to connect with great clients if you can’t keep up with your deadlines. Be sure to stay organized and have a plan of action for how you’ll tackle everything you need to accomplish. If you’re already busy, don’t feel compelled to take on a client you can’t handle out of fear of missing out. There will be more opportunities in the future. It’s better to focus on doing great work for the clients you do have versus stretching yourself too thin.
5. Be Patient and Don’t Sell Yourself Short
As previously mentioned, freelance marketplaces are filled with designers who are willing to take on jobs for very low pay. This means that joining such a marketplace will result in having to compete with these designers, which is nearly impossible unless you’re willing to take the pay cut. Don’t sell yourself short. Your time and skills are valuable, and you should be paid fairly for the work that you do. It’s better to be patient and wait to find great clients than it is to stoop to a level that will make you feel degraded, burnt out and depressed.
The world of graphic design can be tough, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. Instead of letting the challenges discourage you, use them to motivate you! If you take advantage of the tips listed here, all of your hard work will begin paying off soon.