What does it take to be an independent designer, and a successful one at that? Every single day across the world, creatives are literally crawling out of the woodwork. Taking the plunge into the world of independent design or freelancing (in a manner of speaking) is not something you just decide to do overnight. Of course, several reasons may abound that have made you to reach this decision. It could be that you are simply fed up with jumping from one studio to the other or you feel that working as an independent designer will give you more time to do other things that will add color and meaning to your life as a person.
Whatever your reasons may be, working from your bedroom, attic or the basement of your home sounds like fun. But it isn’t. You will need to put in a lot of hard work, determination and preparedness.
You can also take note of the following tips that will further entrench you in that world of independent design:
1. Branding thyself
You need to brand yourself as a person and a professional designer. Even large corporations will soon fade out of memories if they forget this very important aspect in the marketing campaigns. Yes, it is possible to get branded as an independent designer. It would take a lot of commitment on your part by ensuring that you become successful and memorable. Build your brand and maintain it.
2. Be professional about it
An independent designer must be bold and assertive when it comes to calling people, offering services, sending of emails, etc. You need to display the confidence in you that will reinforce the belief that people you come across on a daily basis will recognize the value of your skills and hire you to handle their design projects.
3. Online portfolio
One of the potent attributes that will guarantee your success as an independent designer has to do with your online presence. Without this, it is almost impossible to attain success. Most prospective clients would like to take a gander at your previous work. mostly by obtaining a URL from you, plugging it to their favorite browsers and clicking through to what they want to see.
Therefore, you must set some time apart which will enable you to create a credible online portfolio. Your prospective clients will be able to go through it and be convinced to hire you to solve design problems for them.
4. Be brave and bold
You have no reason to be afraid of anyone. You should be bold enough to walk up to anyone and offer your expertise or advice on issues that relate to design.
5. Handling small jobs at first
You can start down this path as an independent design by doing your best on small jobs that come your way. Doing this consistently will end up opening doors for bigger design projects that will make you more money in the long run. When your clients are impressed with the little job you did for them, they will approach you to inquire if you will handle bigger projects. This means you will be able to showcase more of your expertise in other areas such as creating or designing their business cards or stationery, etc.
6. Going the extra mile
As an independent designer, you need to be willing to go the extra mile on any design project assigned to you. Remember that there are lots of other independent designers out there. Therefore, you need to assert yourself in any job you are handling for your clients by doing slightly more than they paid for. That does not imply you should do something that will cost you time and therefore, money.
Encourage your client to refer you to their friends or relatives – when it comes to advertising, word-of-mouth is the most effective method to utilize. Rumors can hurt your business while compliments made by your erstwhile clients will send more design projects your way without having to resort to paid advertising.
Just like almost every other aspect in this millennium, design is never static but always changing. New styles and techniques are developed every day and to remain relevant in the industry, you need to always update yourself with the latest trends and technology in the design world.
Sign up on social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. and start networking with other designers and clients alike. Always practice your craft whenever you experience a lull in your day-to-day activities.
Taking everything into account, be as creative as possible by looking at the work of other professional designers. Before you know it, you will become a force to reckon with in the design industry.