If you’re a freelance graphic designer you know what a circus act it can be to juggle your marketing, sales, accounting and other business operations – all the while finding the necessary time to actually design things for clients. It can be easy to get comfortable with just a handful of clients and to stop actively promoting your services, but to do so can be the death of your business. This is especially true if just two or three clients account for the majority of your income, as is the case with many freelance designers. If you want to grow your business but you just don’t seem to have the time to do it, try the following 10 tips for making more money as a freelance designer.
This oft-repeated advice is rarely heeded as soon as it should be. Freelancers fear they’ll price themselves out of the market. While this can happen, many experts suggest doubling your rates. You’ll land fewer clients, but better paying clients, which will free time to work on more projects for high-paying clients. Deliver on your promises, and you’ll make a name for yourself so you can charge what you’re worth – and that is priceless.
You don’t have to do everything yourself; in fact, trying to do everything yourself results in costly inefficiencies. Hire a virtual assistant, marketing guru, developer, bookkeeper or illustrator to help you grow your business. Today’s online marketplace allows you to employ other freelancers without the overhead of salaried employees.
Showcase Your Work
Many websites allow you to post your work for free, such as Behance.net and AdsoftheWorld.com. Doing so can get your work in front of potential clients. Social media is another great resource for posting your work. Finished projects should be posted on Facebook, Pinterest and other websites to help you gain mass exposure.
Offer Incentives For Referrals
Who better to promote your business than current customers, whose opinions are trusted by their colleagues? Offer an incentive for referrals, such as 10 percent off their next project when they refer a new paying client. You’ll get new business, and your original client will have reason to follow up with you for more work as well.
Graphic designers always deal with printing. Instead of sending print jobs (and profits) to a third party, act as a printing company in your own right by reselling printing. Online printing companies offer reseller programs that allow you to make money on each printing job.
Charge Support Fees
Many graphic designers today also help customers set up websites, but do not charge support fees. Thus, when customers have problems with their websites you’re spending time helping them but not getting paid. Even simple websites require updates and maintenance, so I advocate instituting a monthly support plan. Customers can pay you for support annually (for a discount) or monthly (at regular price). Those who do not select a support plan are charged a premium for support, and this is made clear at the time of sale. It’s a great way to generate monthly income, and if you’re code is good you’ll have minimal time investment relative to profit.
Advertise In Trade Magazines
Advertise in the trade magazines your target customer base reads. If you market to small businesses, you might want to consider advertising in the back of Entrepreneur Magazine, for example. Such publications boast outstanding circulation numbers, and the classified ads aren’t as expensive as you might believe.
Viral marketing strategies include videos and free web applications, to name two. Create something awesome and give it away online. You’ll get hundreds, thousands or even millions of shares; your brand name will become well-known, and your business will reap the rewards.
Guerilla marketing can be fun and cheap. Print posters, stickers, and flyers to place in interesting and unexpected areas, such as inside restroom stalls or on sidewalks. Take door hangers door-to-door or hand out flyers on the street. Stage a fun publicity stunt that attracts attention of local news. All of these are inexpensive ideas that can have a major and positive influence on your income.
Set Daily Goals
This is the most important tip here: Set daily goals. Determine how much you want to make in a year, then figure out how much you’ll have to make per day to make that happen. Track this number every day, and you’ll soon figure out ways to reach it more efficiently. Once you eclipse your number, set the bar higher!