A while back I wrote Tips for Graphic Designers Starting Out in Indianapolis, but recently I ran across an article by Meg Robichaud entitled, Everything I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Freelancing that I think does a much better job of explaining exactly what to do when starting out freelancing as a graphic designer.
Admittedly, I winced a little bit when she wrote, “Let’s be clear. I have to laugh when every blog about freelancing starts off with ‘I quit my job so I could work for myself, and be my own boss.'”, considering that’s kind of what I did here and here, but I didn’t know what I didn’t know – and now I know – and can agree with what Meg is trying to say. Here’s what she says:
“Be awesome. Tell everyone.” – Make something good and let the world know (specifically your future clients and/or employers know) via Twitter, by blogging, on Forrst.com, Scoutzie.com, and Dribbble.com.
“Stop waiting for them to come to you, just go to them.” – If you want to get new clients or land a new job, go to the company you’re want to work for and ask to work for them. Show them your work and how you can help them out. Make it about them, not you.
There’s other stuff about time tracking and time management, but it really boils down to those these two points: 1) Do something. 2) Ask people if they want it. If you repeat that all day long, you’re going to be a success. The hard part for some people is:
a) Not being able to span the gap of time between needing to be financially successful and not being financially stable. You might have to do some things you don’t love to survive.
b) Not knowing what to produce to show people. Because you can make anything for anyone, you have no constraints, which makes it hard to choose something. Choose something and go.
c) Asking people for things when there is a possibility of the answer being no is hard. Fear of rejection is even harder for some people. Put yourself in a position where they need you.
In closing, nothing worth doing is going to be easy and there is no one out there who is going to do this for you. This isn’t a video game where you click on a business and wait for a status bar to fill up your bank account. Life is messy. And fun. Do your best and you’ll get the most out of it.