Marketing your Freelance Design Services

networking and freelance marketing

With the current financial situation, freelancers could either find themselves in demand as they are cheaper than larger companies or that their work shrinks as their clients continue to feel the squeeze. There may also be more freelancers around as people made redundant from full time work seek interim freelance jobs.

So how do you Market your freelance services?

I would love to find out (if you are up for sharing 🙂 )-

  • What has been successful for you?
  • Have you tried an unusual way to market your freelance design services?
  • Is Twitter your marketing friend?
  • Does Facebook feed you new clients?
  • Does blogging bring you new business

What difficulties have you found?

Leave a comment or why not drop me an email and share your story and I will feature you on this blog along of course with a link back to your website and show some of your work off too.

Advice from other Freelancers

A few years ago I ran a popular series called Freelancers Focus where freelance designers shared their experiences and advice on freelancing. It was a real insight into how different freelance designers ran their businesses and marketed their freelance services. You may recognise a few names from the range of freelancers that took part, including designer bloggers:

freelancer

Of course since then there has been an increase in the number of online channels where you can market your freelance services and network with both peers and potential clients including Twitter, Linked In and the new kid on the block Google Plus.

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Ps. What do you think, should I start up the freelancers focus series again – any volunteers?

Freelance Graphic Design Rates New Survey is a Guide to What to Charge

freelance rates surveyWhen you first start out freelancing it’s really hard to know what freelance graphic design rates to charge and of course no-one wants to reveal what they earn either. Obviously there are many factors to take into account including where you are based, how much design experience you have and of course what the market will stand, but at least now there is a guide to help you. I was alerted to a Freelance Rates survey by James Young from Welcome Brand who commented on one of my old posts What can you charge for freelance graphic design. The Freelance Rates Survey 2011 was compiled by Cole Henley after he was made redundant, started freelancing and wanted to know what to charge. He surveyed freelance people in the UK and compiled the results by Age, Experience and area of work and location.

For more info check out http://cole007.net/blog/86/freelance-rates-survey-2011 and find out if you are charging what you should be.

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Free Design Project Management and Collaboration Software

Up until recently I had always organised my design work in a really basic way, just typing up a list if projects and breaking them up over the week. A few months ago I was introduced to Basecamp, which is an online software where you can organise your projects and have others collaborating on projects with you. The only problems was that only a very basic version was free, that was when Lisa from Finkcards told me about Podio.

Podio

Just like Basecamp, Podio allows you to create and cchedule tasks and create different spaces where you can invite other people to collaborate. This is great for scheduling your own projects and for designers collaborating on design projects. Another interesting feature of Podio is that it allows you to create “Apps” and all this requires is a drag and drop of different elements (no coding needed). This gives you the ability to do all sorts of things such as storing contacts for a design job, collecting together inspirational links and much more. You can also attach images in Podio giving clients or the rest of your team the ability to leave comments, which can save you from having to dig through emails, and allows you to remember who said what.

Freedcamp

Although I have only quickly looked at it, another free option for managing your design projects is Freedcamp which is very similar to Basecamp. Check out the video below to find out more.

You can read a full review at the  Pixsym Blog

Wunderlist

If you have ever tried the paid App “Things” by Culture Code Wunderlist looks very similar, if a little more basic, but best of all it’s free. It’s available for Mac, PC Andoid and Iphone and you can also collaborate (though I haven’t tried this). The only thing that bugged me about Wunderlist is that I could only view my tasks by Project and not purely by date.

What do you use to manage your design projects?

Make Design Business Dreams Come True – Set Goals

A Guest Post by Mhairi Gordon-Preston from Suit Free Business Help For Design Companies

Business dreams are fantastic; they can fire-up your enthusiasm and make the planning and work feel worthwhile. What’s even better than business dreams? Watching them become your reality.

Studies show that setting precise business goals makes business dreams a lot more likely to become real. That’s because the right goals keep your drive high, focus your mind, and get your creativity flowing.

1 “Begin with the end in mind” (Stephen R Covey, author & speaker)

What changes would you like in your design business? Examples could be “I want clients who really get my style” or “I want to earn an additional £800 a month”.

Note down your answers to the question — don’t analyse them, just let them flow out.

2 Highlight one answer that feels like it would have the biggest impact on your business at this moment

(There may be lots of things you want to do, that’s wonderful — remember you can always come back to this process as soon as your first goal is finished, or on-track.)

3 Make your goal do-able, but exciting

Don’t underestimate yourself with a half-hearted wish like “It would be nice to have one new client by March next year”; you have more talent than that in your little finger! Your goal should be something you’d go for when you’re on a high or having a good day — it should stretch you a little.

4 Get into the nitty-gritty

Make your goal specific, an example could be: “I want four new clients, giving me work totalling £600 per month, by 9am, eight weeks from today”.

Don’t be tempted into fuzzy phrases like “I need more clients”. Put actual dates & numbers in, even if it feels challenging. Dates & numbers will really increase the chances of your goal becoming reality. And remember: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.” (Les Brown, speaker & author).

5 Finally, “Ink it, don’t think it” (Mark Victor Hansen, business coach & entrepreneur)

Write your goal down; perhaps turning it into a desktop background, design or collage. Whatever format you use, make sure you place it where you can see it every day in your work area.

For an extra boost, put a credit-card sized version in your purse or wallet. Studies show that, funny though it sounds, carrying your goal on you really increases the chances of it becoming reality.

I look forward to your achievements — do feel free to share your success stories with me.

Mhairi Gordon-PrestonI’m Mhairi Gordon-Preston and I help design business-owners & freelancers become more profitable and more fulfilled. Get monthly tips from me, plus a gift ecourse at SuitFreeBusinessHelpForDesignCompanies.com. I worked as a designer for 10 years, have run my own businesses for 10 years and am an Enterprise Champion in my local town, helping small businesses connect with each other

How to Freelance as a Designer

freelance questionsIt was nearly seven years ago when I was wondering how difficult it was going to be to go freelance. My first freelance job was in September 2003 and I remember how worried I was. Questions and doubts ran through my head, would I get enough work and how would I manage clients and my accounts.

It is because of this I have been wondering whether to create a free guide called something like – How to Freelance for Beginners. If this is something you would be interested in please let me know by signing up below to be alerted when the guide is ready.

Sign up for notification of the Freelance Guide

Please put in the comments anything you would specifically like covered in the guide.

Meanwhile I have previously written several posts on how to freelance that you might enjoy:

How to Freelance Posts From Graphic Design Blog UK

Advice for New Freelance Designers by 30+ Freelance Designers
The answer from 30+ freelance designers to the question – What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone starting out freelancing?

Working Freelance From Home or Inhouse, Pros and Cons
Working in house can prove a more sociable way to work but freelancing from home has its perks too.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Freelance Design Through a Third Party (Middleman)
As well as working directly for companies as a freelancer you may also get offered work via a third party, this could be a PR company or a design company that subcontracts their design work to you. This cuts out some of the client management process which has both pros and cons.

Back up Your Freelance Design Work
I can’t emphasise the importance of keeping back ups of your freelance design work. Losing a days work is frustrating, but several weeks or months work could be a major disaster for your business.

How Much Can You Charge for Freelance Graphic Design
A look at how to calculate what you should charge for your freelance design services

So What’s Stopping You Becoming a Freelance Designer
My personal journey to becoming a freelance graphic designer

Does a Freelancer Need an Accountant?
How an accountant can save you more than you pay them

Freelancing – Breaking Free from Fulltime Employment
Questions you should ask yourself before going freelance and tips to help you.

8 Reasons Why Designers Should Blog
My recent post with examples of how blogs have helped freelance designers

How to Freelance Advice from Other Design Bloggers

7 Tips for Freelancers Arranging a Holiday
A post by Ken Reynolds which deals with the tricky problem of how to take holidays as a freelancer

Why Freelancers Should Not Announce Their Availability
An interesting post by Brian Yerkes who thinks freelance designers may be missing out on work by publicly announcing their availability.

Urgent! How to Handle those Last-Minute Design Requests
Every freelancer at some point will receive a call with a last minute design request Tracey Grady discusses the best way to deal with them.

Self-employment advice for designers
Davis Airey offers his advice for designers considering self employment.

Design Agency VS Freelance Life
Jacob Cass – Just Creative Design compares freelancing with working for a design agency in New York City.

How to get freelance graphic design jobs
Rob Cubbon offers his advice on How to get Freelance Graphic Design Jobs.

Websites Dedicated to Freelancing

Freelance Switch
Freelance Switch offers extensive advice on how to freelance along with a forum and jobs board.

Freelance Folder
Freelance folder also offers a blog about freelancing a job board and a forum.

Clientophilic Freelancing Review – How to Win Clients for Freelance Designers

Cleintophilic Freelancing ebookClientophilic Freelancing by Shoaib Hussain is an ebook I was recently given a copy of and asked to review. I must admit from the title I thought, what the heck is this going to be about.

What is Clientophilic Freelancing?

Cleintophilic freelancing is an ebook aimed at freelancers including graphic and web designers who need a bit of help with their sales skills (ie they are clientophobic). It is not going to help you promote your design work, but once you do get a meeting set up aims to help you convert it into a live design job with better sales techniques.

Lets face it the majority of us designers are not great sales people. I think it is far easier for someone not actually doing the work to sell – they generally don’t think about the technical problems in the brief or the timing, they just listen and say, yes, we can do that (and leave us to curse when they get the job!).

This book looks at the psychology of different types of people and gives you ideas of the best ways to approach each of them. Along with this there are very general tips which should make any potential client feel at ease. A few of the techniques you may have heard of but I am sure there will be some you haven’t. For example one technique suggested is to repeat back what the client says. For example if they were saying they were looking for a very corporate typographic logo, which must be blue and include a given strapline when they had finished telling you about it you would say Ok When I get back to the office I will sort out a quote for your logo, I understand it needs to be very corporate and typographic based and include your strapline and retain your companies existing blue. This apparently makes the client feel like you are listening to them and have understood the given information. Its funny it’s something I know I actually do at meetings, though I do it more to make sure I have understood all the information correctly (so I am doing something right).

Personally I wouldn’t be comfortable to try out some of the tips straight away in case I made it too obvious and the book itself recommends you practice the techniques out on friends and family first – obviously without telling them to see if it works. (Who knows, maybe you can use the techniques to talk one of your friends into buying you dinner 🙂 )

Should I get Clientophilic Freelancing?

If you are new or nervous about meeting with potential clients or are struggling to convert a meeting into a sale then Clientophilic Freelancing will probably help you.

If you need help with promoting yourself to find new clients in the first place see my review of 10 Steps to Powerful Online Self Promotion for Creatives