Are you one of those freelance designers who often find them selves struggling to find clients? Or do you find your self not getting clients at all? I was personally stuck in this category for quite some time. The number one reason why, the lack of a portfolio, along side many other various reasons. So if you are still stuck in this category, I am going to share with you a few tips, and ask you a few questions to try to get you… back on track.
Lets get that portfolio up
How many times do you find your self saying, “I just don’t have the time to make a portfolio”. Well look at it this way, do you have any clients taking up your free time? Use this free time to design your self a portfolio. If you find that your having a hard time designing your self a portfolio, DO NOT feel shame in hiring a fellow designer to design one for you, this will also give you more time to design for clients. Remember that we often become our own biggest critic, and designing for our selves can often lead to hours upon hours of pain and agony. Once you have your portfolio design completed, you will feel relieved and satisfied, and finding clients will get that much easier. But trust me, this is just the beginning, but you are also that much closer to the light at the end of a long dark tunnel.
No work for the portfolio?
When I first started, I often caught my self saying “but I don’t have any work to put in a portfolio”. Well this one is easy. If you are calling your self a designer, then you must have some work on that hard drive of yours that is portfolio worthy. Even if it is only two or three pieces, put it in your portfolio! Clients want to see some work, showing them a blank page or promising greatness definitely wont help you. I often found that experimenting with new styles and design techniques made for some great portfolio pieces, I still do this at slow periods, and trust me… IT HELPS.
You have more time than you think
Now even I find myself still falling into this trap! “I just DO NOT have the time to get things done”. Ok, in some cases this may be true, but more likely than not, you are probably just procrastinating. We have so much going on around us, everything will and can distract us, you just cant get away from it, or avoid it! My best suggestion is, in-brace it. Although this may sound bad I think it helps. I find this keeps your mind to stay fresh, and imagination pumping. If you find that letting these distraction be part of your life are causing you to just procrastinate even more, then make your self a schedule, plan your days out. Giving your self some time to get away from that computer will help, but you have to remember to stick to your schedule! You will find that you have more time, and a fresh mind to get things done. You will begin to get into a routine. You will find your self completing more and more projects, while still having some free time to spend with loved ones, or to sit back and watch that favorite TV show of yours.
Charity work, and its benefits
So now you have a portfolio completed, a few pieces of work up, and you are still having a hard time finding clients. Do not be afraid to do some Pro-Bono work (charity work). This will give you more work for your portfolio, and if you are new, it will give you some valuable experience. Charity work has many benefits, if you exploit them correctly. Do not be afraid to ask the client for a little incentive like ad space or referrals, this can go a long way in your career. You will gain some exposure and credibility, which will help to gain clients down the road. You also have to be careful when you are doing charity work. Make sure that its worth it! Also, do not be afraid to help out your peers. They will probably mention your name more often than not, which could lead to jobs.
How much are you worth?
Quite often new freelancers are not sure how much they should charge for their services. Do your self a favor, and do a little research. In many cases new freelancers are charging way to little for what they are offering. Although this could be good for getting some nice portfolio work, and experience, it also drags a long many draw backs! First off by bringing down the price of your services, you may be unintentionally bringing down the market. Sure you may also be getting a lot more jobs, but do you truly enjoy doing all that extra work for so little? You are probably trying to make a living, so charge accordingly. The exact opposite can also happen, charging way to much for your services resulting in little to no work. Again let me suggest doing a little research.
So now you that you may feel a little more enlightened, get back to work and make your freelance career a success! Freelancing can some times be a touch job, but it has many benefits… like being your own boss. To make it work, you have to focus on your “A” game, so hopefully the tips I provided can lead you on the right track!