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Becoming a Freelance Graphic Design Professional or Business Owner

July 1, 2014 Graphic & Comm. Design, General 0 Comments

Many designers do freelance graphic design work or run a design business. As a budding designer, you should be prepared for both paths. The main difference between freelance graphic design and operating a graphic design business is how you earn your money. You do the same work — graphic design — but you might sell it in different ways.

Harrington Becoming a Freelance Graphic Design Professional or Business Owner For example, a graphic design business might sell Photoshop templates, stock business card templates or Photoshop textures in addition to providing design services. Freelance designers, on the other hand, make their living by doing mostly design work. In other words, if you run a graphic design business, you could potentially make money while you sleep. Other than that, the same rules and steps for success apply to both fields.

Step 1: Sales and Marketing

As a designer, you'll have to market yourself to get business. Start with some unique business cards that represent who you are as a designer and the way you think. A well-designed business card shows off your skills as well as gets your out there.

Step 2: Learn Basic Accounting Skills

As a freelancer or design business professional, you will have to account for your finances. This means you should be able to make a record of your income and your expenses. To do this, use an easy, inexpensive program, such as QuickBooks.

Step 3: Choose an Hourly Rate

Create an hourly rate for your services based on your skill level and experience. A graphic designer with just a few years of experience will charge between $30 and $50 an hour; as you get more experienced, you can charge more. Your rate should take into account your overheads and the wage you need to pay yourself.

Step 4: Create a Contract and Project Brief

Whether you are a business design professional or a freelancer, it is important to have a document that outlines the work that you will be doing for the client and the agreed-upon terms. Some project briefs double as a contract and list the prices for the services rendered. However, you can also create a separate invoice and deliver it to the client after the project has been completed. Just ensure your client is aware of your rates before the project begins.

Step 5: Choose Your Services

Select the type of services that you will focus on. Some freelancers and design companies focus on package design, while others focus on business cards, logos, stationary and specialized printing services. Choose the type of services that you will provide, and then market yourself accordingly.

Step 6: Get Set Up

Next, choose your work space. As a freelancer, you can work anywhere. Obviously, you will need access to a computer and the Adobe Suite, but you can work anywhere from your home to a coffee shop. Then, focus on getting clients. Some freelancers get their start from small businesses and online websites such as oDesk and Elance. Either way, carry your business cards with you everywhere and attend social networking events. Almost every city has social networking events for young professionals.

Step 7: Get Ready for the Ride

As a business owner or freelance graphic designer, your income will fluctuate. But, as you establish your business, you will start to gain some steady clients. You'll come to love living and working anywhere you want — and being your own boss!

Photo credit: Flickr

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