Marketing yourself plays a huge role in freelance design, that’s how you’re supposed to get clients, especially when you’re starting up. It’s interesting to see how the lessons and attitudes I’ve learned from DukeDEC can play into my design gig. Here are a few highlights:
1. If you can’t do it, learn how to.
I’ve always stuck by this rule. I love teaching myself how to learn new things, especially if I have a goal in mind. That was great for art and coding, there are plenty of tutorials online, but I didn’t have this mindset with business models nor with anything related to legal documents. I was handling my first client, it was a small financial advisory service called Davos Financial Group and they wanted brochures made for the real estate that they were trying to sell. This was a REAL client. Not that my other clients weren’t real, but they were clients in a university world where our design agency was the best option, and for a very good reason. Davos Financial Group was a client from the real world and I wanted to do things right. So what would a real graphic designer do?
They have invoices, proposals, terms of conditions…something like that. Okay. So I hired the best and cheapest lawyer I could find: myself. I created a proposal and drafted a terms of conditions sheet from as many samples I could find online and I adjusted them to match my own concerns: How was I going to get paid? What if they tell me to make something with an impossible deadline? What assures them that I won’t ditch the project in the middle of it? I decided to follow my intuition and figured out the most logical and reasonable set of working terms.
2. Take advantage of opportunities that appear out of nowhere. Anything can be an opportunity!
When I saw that one of my high school classmates was starting a facebook page and blog for fairy tales he was writing, I had an idea. It was perfect! I’ve always wanted to do illustrations! It’d be a great exercise for my digital painting skills and perfect marketing for the both of us. I quickly shot him a facebook message after I read his first chapter, feeling extremely inspired.
3. Use your time wisely!
Blogs blogs blogs! Read them all! Look at them all! Get inspired and create your own! There are way too many awesome articles, too many amazing webcomics, too many great artists, designers, storytellers to count. The major question is not where to find great content, but deciding what kind of content you need to tackle, read and learn from.