I think we as designers have all experienced the famine or feast attribute that comes with the job. While the ups and downs of freelance designing are unavoidable, there are a number of things you can do to decrease the low times. One of the best ways is to use your low times to improve yourself and your business.
Using down time between jobs to market and improve your business can be a great way to bring in more clients and more jobs. Here are 10 things you can do to get more design work.
Pick Your Own Clients
I did a post a while back about picking your own clients, if you haven’t read it, I high suggest you do. The article basically says you should take a proactive approach at finding clients. Look for business you would like to worth with and then go talk them about doing design work from them. If you get the job, you will be much more happy working on a project that interests you versus some random job off craigslist.
Using keyword advertising tools like Google Adwords can be a good way to find niche work that interests you. If you like designing band websites or doing DVD covers, create a few keyword campaigns with Google Adwords. These terms will be much cheaper than words like â€œweb designâ€ or â€œgraphic designerâ€ and will hopefully bring in work you enjoy doing.
Make a Name for Yourself
Designers are a dime a dozen, so how do you make yourself stand out from the other guy? By building a name for yourself you can give yourself an edge over other designers. Something you can do to help gain name recognition include guest authoring on major blogs or magazines in your industry, showcasing your work on gallery sites, and getting customer testimonials from large clients.
Don’t be afraid to shamelessly promote these achievements on your site. They may very well be the deciding factor between you and another designer.
Update Your Portfolio
Your portfolio should have nothing but your best work in it. Keep an eye on your portfolio and regularly update it. Organize your portfolio into various types of work and showcase them professionally. Your portfolio page is your chance to shine and if you have a portfolio with little presentation and out dated samples, you definitely won’t be doing much shining.
You can also use your portfolio to help make a name for yourself. Submit your website to the many web design galleries. If you get accepted by them, post a seal or an â€œfeatured on…â€ link.
About Me Page
eBay and bloggers preach about having an â€œabout meâ€ page. These types of pages can help to build up trust between you and a client before you ever start working together. Avoid the temptation to use this page as resume page. List your skills, but don’t beafraid to list some perosnal information about yourself as well. A few tidbits about who you are, some pictures of your and your family, and links to random websites you like can go a long way to make you seem more personable.
You have probably seen all the posts somewhere along the way about why every designer should have a blog. If not, you should really read more. The purpose of a designer having a blog isn’t to attract a huge readership or make money from advertisers, but to help build your reputation as a designer. By having a blog about design, coding, etc; you are starting o brand yourself as an expert in the field.
It is easy to forget about your clients after the work is done. Odds are though that they will probably need your services again later on down the road. Go through your old projects and clients. Email them to see how business is going and see if they have any new projects the need help with. Every good business owner always has some idea brewing in the back of their mind, but doesn’t always have the time to get it started. By initiating contact with your old clients, you may help them get their ideas going.
Past clients can be a great way to get new clients, all you have to do is ask. If you talk to your old clients and they don’t have anything going on, ask them if they know any other business that might need help. Many business owners interact with other small business owners at networking events. More than likely they have exchanged conversations about designers or the need for one with others.
Meet Your Peers
Go out of your way to meet others in your related industry. If you are a graphic designer, try to meet web developers or vice versus. By meeting others in your related field who have skills you don’t posses, you open doors for possible work later on down the road. I know as a web designer I have pass work on to many PHP developers and even other graphic designers.
Whats your Advice?
We all have our own little secrets to help us find more work. What kind of tips do you have to help other designers get more work?