How to Become a Freelance Graphic Designer

One of the most popular questions I have received since starting my business a few years ago is “How did you get started in your design business?”

When I first got started, I didn’t have many other designers or creative entrepreneurs to look up to or seek advice from… I had to learn as I went along.

But I love to shorten the learning curve for others when I can, so in the video below I’ll be sharing my top 5 tips on how you can become a freelance graphic designer yourself.

How do you get started as a freelance graphic designer?

1. Find your motivation.

Do you want to be a freelancer because you love design, you want to work with certain clients, or do you want to bring in some extra money every month? Whatever it is, you will need that motivation when the journey gets tough and you want to throw in the towel. There are countless times I’ve wanted to quit along the way, but I kept pushing forward because I remembered why I got started in the first place.

2. Educate yourself.

If you aren’t already educated in design, soak up as much knowledge as you can. There are tons of design books, design blogs, design courses, and higher education programs for you to expand your knowledge and increase your skill set.

Even though I studied in a 4-year design program and earned my Bachelors in Graphic Design, the design industry is always evolving and I’m still learning something new every day. My degree didn’t prepare me for entrepreneurship, so I also recommend educating yourself on best business practices.

3. Tell the world.

Once you’ve decided you’re becoming a freelance designer - tell everyone you know. Tell your family, your friends, your co-workers, the grocery store clerk. These people can become your ambassadors and help get the word out about your new services.

4. Find your clients.

The first “real” design clients I had were from websites like upwork.com. I was so excited when I won a bid for a design project because that meant I got to work with someone that wasn’t a family member or friend. I felt like I had made it as a designer.

Some of my other clients were fellow attendees at a conference I attended. I offered limited time design services on a pay-what-you want model in order to build my portfolio and iron out my client process before taking on additional clients.

5. Treat your business like an actual business.

Go ahead and banish the word "freelancer" from your vocabulary. When people heard the word “freelancer” they typically think cheap, and you are much more valuable! It can be tempting to keep costs low and only have your portfolio on your Facebook Page or Behance until you make it big, but when you invest in yourself and buy a custom domain, set up your own website, and make your business legal your clients and peers are going to know that you are the real deal.

That covers it for my top 5 tips on how to become a freelance graphic designer!

Now I want to hear from you! What questions do you have about becoming a freelance graphic designer? Comment below and let me know! I’d love to learn how I can support you as you grow your business!

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Business, DesignHolly Meyer