5 Tips to Make Money as a Graphic Designer

To have a thriving career as a graphic designer, you need to diversify your income sources. A single client is never a stable way to earn a living because it is always possible for one client to just disappear. By using business tips, diversifying your client base and using creative marketing ideas, graphic designers can build up their business and make a decent living.

1. Begin Small

If you are considering a switch from a full-time job to freelance work, the best technique is to start small. Before you make the leap, make sure that there will be a market for your work. Often, graphic designers and illustrators start by selling prints or publishing their work online. By creating a website and profiles on graphic design sites, creative professionals can develop a client base before they leave their day job. Even if most of these new projects are small, the total dollar amount will start to add up quickly.

2. Create Stock Photos

One of the best ways to earn money is through passive income. This type of income source involves getting paid for work that has already been done. With stock photos, you can sell the same graphics multiple times. This allows you to make money off of work that you already completed and sold. If you are trying to build up your monthly income, creating a passive income source like stock photos will allow you to develop a consistent revenue stream. There are many different marketplaces where you can sell them, and you can always design your own store. In addition to stock photos, you can always sell website layouts, icon sets, fonts or Photoshop filters as well.

3. Find a System and Stick to It

Once you are your own boss, becoming motivated to work can be difficult. You have the option of staying at home in your pajamas, which makes it difficult to get up the desire to actually work. To be successful, you should start by creating a system that works for you. Some graphic designers like to carry around notebooks with them throughout the day. Whether you are at the coffee shop or dropping off the kids, you can write down sudden ideas, conversations or sketches in the notebook.

In addition to finding a way to cultivate the creative muse, you will also want to find a schedule that works for you. Pick the time of day that you are most energized and work during this time. It often helps to have a set schedule of work time, lunch and breaks to make sure that you stay on task.

4. Consider Making Physical Products

Websites like Cafe Press and Etsy are perfect locations for graphic designers to hawk their wares. Instead of just selling a design, you can add it to a mug, poster or a T-shirt for sale online. This allows you to have an additional income source and a steady stream of customers who would not normally be buying a basic design.

5. Make Graphic Design Into a Business

Many creative professionals fail because they lack business acumen. They are amazing at creating designs and works of art, but they are unable to focus on driving revenue and keeping the books. If you want to be successful, you need to be able to manage a business, limit your overhead and market to potential clients. While a blog or an online storefront can help with marketing, you will still need to educate yourself about the banalities of running a business.

Making money as a graphic designer is not always easy, but it is entirely possible. Over the first few months and years, you will build up a client base that will keep your income level up. Intelligent business practices, creative selling techniques and new markets will ensure that you are able to thrive as a graphic designer.

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