This is a guest article written by Nicole White*. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Stepping out of college and into the world of design can be a big change for many with little real-world experience in the field. Learning how to deal with clients, manage projects, and find work can be challenge for the rookie designer, especially with freelance work. These basic business tips can help prevent major disasters and set the stage for future success in the field.
1. Always get a contract.
It isn’t uncommon to get hooked up with a friend of a family member and in these cases you may not feel it’s necessary to ask for or get a contract, after all, you know the person. This is where trouble can start. Always lay out what the expectations for the client are and your fees ahead of time so there can be no question later as to what the agreement was.
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2. Ask for a down payment.
Inevitably you will have clients who are reluctant to shell out for the work that you’ve done for them, offering a myriad of excuses. Getting half the money up front will ensure you’re not left penniless while trying to get what you’re owed and that the client won’t leave you hanging partway through. 25-50% is a fair amount.
3. Limit revisions.
As with any creative project, there are a limitless amount of revisions that can be made. Some clients will be very picky and involved in the process and want to see numerous revisions of an idea. While there’s not necessarily anything wrong with wanting the best, make sure you’re getting compensated for it by placing a limit on the number of revisions or charging if they go over a certain number.
4. Get organized.
It will be incredibly difficult to manage one project, let alone multiples, and your life to boot if you don’t get organized now. Set up places to file important paper, organize your email inbox and make sure you’ve got plenty of room to store all your client work.
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5. Work your network.
Finding work can sometimes be the hardest part of working freelance. When you’re first starting out, try using your personal connections to find yourself some work. Ask family, friends, classmates and associates if they know anyone who could benefit from your services. Most of the time, this will turn up at least one lead and get you started working.
There is no guarantee of entrepreneurial success in any venture, but taking steps to plan for the future and better manage work today certainly won’t hurt even the most experienced designers and can be a great way to start a career for newbies. Start to market yourself.
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Have you got any other great business tips to share?