There are many career paths you can choose from if you want to be a full-time graphic designer. Companies are always looking for new talent to design their logos, give their website a modern look, or make their product irresistible. But today, working as a graphic designer doesn’t necessarily mean working in the same office or on the same project for weeks, months, and even years. Thanks to the power of the internet, graphic designers have more freedom than ever to carve their own paths as freelancers.
Even if your ultimate goal is to have a comfortable position at a company, here are a couple of lessons you can only learn as a freelance graphic designer:
It’s All About Self-Promotion
In this day and age there are countless other graphic designers grasping for the same opportunities as you. As a freelance designer your goal is to get yourself noticed no matter what it takes. Whether you’re a veteran or new to the business, it is essential to self-promote and cultivate a vibrant professional network.
This is why every graphic designer should have a robust portfolio that showcases their skills. Your portfolio is your way of giving potential clients a taste of your talent and creativity, so be sure to put up and feature work that will leave them craving more. Freelance graphic designers learn the valuable lesson of carefully and diligently marketing themselves to stand out and win jobs, which in turn pushes them to produce better work that they can later show off.
Balance & Organization Is Everything
The average freelance professional often works from their own home, which is where they keep their TV, video game systems, and other temptations. Freelancers also make it their responsibility to earn enough projects to pay the bills without making the common mistake of spreading themselves too thin. This is why a freelancing professional won’t make it long without proper organization of workflow to keep them focused and on track.
As a freelance graphic designer you’ll learn the value of staying organized. Instead of missing deadlines, you’ll deliver fantastic work because you made sure to give yourself enough time to do it. Success as a freelancer also comes down to how well you balance your work and regular life — otherwise you’ll either burn yourself out or always fall behind.
Good Work = Continued Work
The best graphic designers of our time didn’t reach the heights they achieved on their first try. Much like any other creative career, graphic designers don’t really discover what they’re truly capable of until after they’ve had years of experience. And there’s no better way to continue growing and learning than by winning repeat clients who are willing to keep paying you for your work.
Repeat clients are the best thing for a freelance graphic designer because it means you’ve found someone who not only loves your work, but trusts you and depends upon you for consistency. But to hook a repeat client, you have to impress them with the first work you produce. As a freelancer you’ll learn the value of always putting your best into each project, since you never know which client will end up filling your wallet for years.
Rejection & Failure Will Only Make You Better
If there’s one phobia most people can relate to, it’s the fear of rejection (you may have discovered this feeling with the person you had a crush on in school or during your very first job interview). As a freelance graphic designer, you’ll most likely run into rejection sooner or later, but that isn’t entirely a bad thing.
Losing a client for not meeting a deadline or delivering something that wasn’t accurate to their request is a valuable learning experience. It will teach you to be better organized and take more time to understand what the client wants. You may even get the courage to take risks and get more creative if you find that clients aren’t impressed when you give them exactly what they asked for.
There’s always something new to learn even from a project that doesn’t end well. Freelance graphic designers sometimes learn this the hard way, but this too can become a positive. Freelancers must learn to take rejection and failure and turn it into encouragement to do better the next time around.
What have you learned as a freelance graphic designer? Let us know in the comments below!