Let’s make one thing clear; you won’t get very far as a graphic designer if you do not possess the skills needed to thrive.
This includes the creative imagination. Whether you’re starting your career in design or have decades of experience under your belt, it’s imperative that you keep developing. After all, new technologies, techniques, and trends hit the market every single year.
Still, it’s equally vital to remember that a host of external matters will impact your earnings and career opportunities. This is especially true when working as a self-employed contractor, which is why you must ensure that every box has been ticked. Focus on the following eight tips for a thriving design career.
#1. Removing Distractions
One of the great things about working as a self-employed graphic designer is that you will often get to work from home. However, taking this route does take a lot of discipline. Without it, an eight-hour day can quickly become a complete waste of time. Instead, you’ll have cleaned the dishes, watched some Netflix, and produced very little else.
The best way to combat this problem is to create a designated space for work. This could mean converting the guest room to a home office. Or it may involve upgrading the garage or erecting a garden building. Either way, establishing an area that is designed purely for ‘work mode’ is pivotal for your daily productivity.
Having this space is very beneficial when working on a project that requires equipment or materials to be left out overnight. When supported by the habit of actually getting showered and dressed before “going to work” each morning, the benefits will be seen on a daily basis.
#2. Selling Yourself
As a graphic designer, it’s unlikely that you’ll struggle to promote your work in a winning fashion. Creating an online or traditional portfolio that stands out from the crowd should come quite naturally. Likewise, you’ll be very familiar with the attributes and credentials of the individual pieces within the portfolio of work.
Conversely, it’s not uncommon for graphic designer’s to face some problems in relation to promoting themselves. Writing a better biography for your website or social media streams can have a big impact. Likewise, perfecting the word choices on your resume (not only the design) will boost your hopes of impressing prospective clients off the bat.
It may feel a little vulgar or awkward to boast about all the great things you’ve achieved. However, celebrating the awards you’ve won or the reviews you’ve gained is hugely important. When used to complement the quality designs in your portfolio, potential employers will have no reason to doubt you.
#3. Create A Niche
As a graphic designer, working with a flexible range of clients can be great fun. Still, you do not want to fall into the trap of becoming a jack of all trades but master of none. Honing your skills to focus on a specific area within the field of graphic design may reduce the size of your network. But it could be the key to making it more profitable.
Finding your niche may mean focusing on a specific area (sport, music, IT, etc.). Or you may find that you become a graphic designer primarily focused on website creation, logo design, or something else. Either way, you’ll be able to create far clearer package services, and can manage your time with greater results.
Specializing in a niche doesn’t mean you will turn down outside jobs. Instead, it simply gives you a sense of direction and can also help win new clients as people will often run searches based on the target words. This is because they want to work with designers that know the subject.
#4. Master Communication
Interacting with clients in a way that is convenient for them can make all the difference as you bid to win more projects and maintain strong bonds. You cannot sit around waiting by the phone every day, which is why investing in a virtual assistant can work wonders. Chatbots can direct users to the content that they desire while telephone lines can redirect your calls.
Team messaging apps such as Slack and other modern services, such as Fax from computer,team messaging can have a huge influence, some clients are stuck in their ways services allow you to satisfy those needs, giving customers what they want. In turn, this will enhance their natural feelings towards the idea of working with you, which can lead to more bookings. Keeping clients happy is often easier than winning new ones.
Clear communications throughout every step of future projects will also aid the speed of work. Best of all, working on the same wavelength should ensure that you encounter very few revisions. This in itself can work wonders for your earning and hourly rate of pay.
#5. Be Prepared To Say No
When working as a freelancer or contractor in any field, it is very easy to fall into the trap of accepting every job that is offered. However, taking on a $100 job that prevents you from taking on a $1,000 job would be madness. Projects will naturally clash from time to time. But a greater sense of organization should allow you to manage the workload and prioritize the right tasks.
One of the worst things about working in a creative field is that some clients will try to abuse their role by getting work for free. Newspapers and popular sites may try to sell the idea of increased exposure. While a small handful of jobs in this ballpark will open the door to future triumphs, the vast majority are a waste of time.
Quality graphic creations will impress prospective clients regardless of how big the company was. Therefore, it’s best to take on the jobs that will actively help you earn the most money. After all, unlocking the greatest salary should be a priority for all designers. If a job isn’t right, reject it.
#6. Connect With Creatives
Depending on the size of the project, along with the deadlines imposed, it may be necessary to team up with other designers. In reality, though, the more likely scenario is that you will join forces with other creatives during the course of project. Losing the “me versus the world” mindset can, therefore, be one of the greatest breakthroughs of all.
Working with writers, photographers, SEO experts, videographers, and creatives are all great examples. Those people could be key to making big projects work. After all, your graphic designs are likely to form a small piece in a much larger puzzle. Failure to look out to the peripherals will severely hinder any hopes of realizing your true potential as a graphic designer.
Apart from anything else, these creatives can become integral connections for your network. You are not direct competition to each other, which means you can keep each other mind when speaking to clients about related assignments. This type of mutually beneficial agreement can work wonders.
#7. Consider Tutoring
Other creatives aren’t the only people that can help enhance your earnings. Plenty of new graphic designers are actively seeking support as they look to develop their skills. If you have the skills, experience, and communication capabilities, teaching could be for you. Adding this side project to your main source of income can bring increased stability and earnings.
Tutoring can take many forms. From working part-time in a college to attending workshops, there are many options in the local area. Alternatively, you could set up a website with paid content and memberships that offer access to lessons. The second option is one that has the potential to open the door to ongoing payments from ambitious creatives around the globe.
The process of tutoring isn’t only an ideal way to generate additional income. It can also help you develop your skills and gain new insights into technologies and techniques. If it enables you to become a better graphic designer, your career prospects will improve too.
#8. Join Third-Party Platforms
Finding clients isn’t easy, which is why you need to provide ways for them to find you. Investing in SEO for your website and a strong social media presence will feed into the idea of promoting yourself. A growing number of businesses will head straight to dedicated networks of freelance designers, though. Not being on them can harm your hopes of success.
There are many different sites available. Finding the ones that offer graphic designers the best shot at success should be a priority. Meanwhile, setting fair prices is essential. The most popular accounts on websites of this ilk tend to offer various tiers of service. This offers startups budget options that can fill short voids in your schedule. Similarly, bigger projects can gain comprehensive plans.
We all want to make it on our own. In reality, realizing that the existing platforms can serve you in a very big way can transform your career for the better. Gaining awareness and increased visibility in this way opens the door to a whole new audience. Embrace it, and your future will look far brighter.