any Freelancers here?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by jtt, Feb 28, 2006.

  1. jtt
    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    #1
    What are you all doing to to create new business these days?
    Are you seeing a lot of jobs going to competitors that are charging next-to-nothing and getting rewarded more and more gigs? $50 for a logo, $100 for a brochure, $300 for a ten minute video! This has been plaguing myself and most of the Creative Freelance industry where iAm and it is getting extremely frustrating.
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    rjphoto

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    #2
    I supplement my Freelance work with a full time corporate job.

    I'd rather be out shooting photos or video on a lovely day like today.

    I had a mentor tell me once that photographers were the worst when it came to getting new business. We "work" in the advertising business, but we fail to advertise our own services.

    My resume' includes newspaper photography and publication, corporate video production from big crew to one-man-band, publication layout (I DON"T DESIGN, the client does that, I just lay it out...), and now event photography and wedding video documentary (not the fancy 2 camera stuff with slow motion and split screen moves).

    I'm not going hungry but I drive a '97 Civic.

    My wife says I don't charge enough, but I'm not the guy getting rewarded with more and more gigs...
     
  3. macrumors member

    RideIt

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2006
    Location:
    FL
    #3
    I charge a flat rate of 50.00 an hour which is cheap, plus I have 14 years of printing experience. Depends on your area and what the going rates are..

    Do you know what people are chargingin your area?
     
  4. macrumors newbie

    the-hen

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Location:
    Cape Town, South Africa
    #4
    Too much FREE in frelancing...

    I'm a graphic designer in Cape Town, South Africa. Some of the issues seem to be the same globally I guess!! It's a lot easier designing for and marketing the client than marketing your own services, I find. There are flexibility benefits over being in a full time job.
     
  5. jtt
    thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    #5
    It seems to have gone to a per project bid and it's not even worth doing some of gigs available. I am going to a job for free next week just to take it away from the low-baller.
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    eclipse525

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Location:
    USA, New York
    #6
    I feel that it's always been about "who you know". I believe the best way to market yourself is to go out and socialize as much as you can. Hopefully you'll make many friends and/or acquaintances. Along the way, telling EVERYONE what you do, giving business cards and making sure you're website is up-to-date. IMO

    ~e
     
  7. macrumors 68000

    Josh

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    Location:
    State College, PA
    #7
    I used to do freelance web design nearly 50/50 with my full time job.

    But you are exactly right: there are people who have the time and budget to be able to do logos for $50, brochures for $100, and entire web sites for $75.

    Everybody and their brother can make a website these days. Not everyone can customize a CMS, produce accessible and compliant code, and use entirely CSS-based design; but these are all terms that fly over clients' heads and they don't care. They see cheap prices and go for it.

    $1000 for a professional site is on the cheap side of things. But for every person who builds a site worth the amount, there are at least 10 others who would make a lesser site for $75, and that is appealing to a lot of clients seeking freelance designers.

    I still do the occasional freelance job, but it's not a rewarding process, and I don't actively seek work anymore because it's a waste of my time.

    I focus strictly on my full-time job and school.
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    eclipse525

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Location:
    USA, New York
    #8
    I'd also like to add......

    ......kids in and right of school, don't know any better and will work for nothing, which intern cheapens the industry. They are thrilled to actually be getting paid for work but they don't realize they are hurting there future and industry as a whole. Of-course that is just one aspect. Another aspect is the respect they have for what we do. They truly believe that Design is trivial and more of an annoyance. Oh God, this can go on forever, I'll just stop now.

    ~e
     
  9. macrumors 68040

    dornoforpyros

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #9
    meh I freelance occasionally for $25 an hour. I make enough at work that I don't really need that money. But it also means I'm not gonna waste my free time being low balled on the work I do.
     
  10. jtt
    thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    #10
    Thanks everyone. iJust do not want to go back to a cubicle in an agency full time, but it looks like iMight have to.
     
  11. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2005
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #11
    where do you live/work?

    I did freelance sites and eLearning for 6 years, until my 2nd kiddo came along and I needed a guaranteed income so we could budget better. I miss the days of freelancing and running my own business, but you do what you gotta do. Now I do occasional sites and help out some old colleagues with eLearning and Flash work. It pays okay, and keeps my name fresh, and also keeps me on top of my game for the most part.

    Depending on the cities around you, there could definitely be untapped resources and potential clientele you just don't know about yet.
     
  12. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    #12
    freelancing

    I firmly believe that it's who you network with that will get you your clients.

    Gave up on guru.com, snaplance.com, et al. There are WAY too many lowballers out there.

    Fortunate that I have a source that I do a lot of print and web work with. He has been a major reason why my business has taken off. I have worked full time in prepress industry for over 20 years and run part time freelance for the past 10.

    Have lost jobs to lowballers, but a lot of time I end up getting their work due to poor quality/service.

    Struggled for years trying to get any work. After I got a few jobs here and there, my clients referred me to others and it has slowly, gradually grown.

    I do website development, print production consulting plus a few other odds and ends.
     
  13. macrumors regular

    waynesun

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    #13
    one right here<-
    i charge 20-50$ per site design for friends and former customers(pending on price range they would want it in + time and effort to make a site), otherwise 50-100 for new customers, logos are free, sometimes range from 5-10 dollars depending on effort put into it, brochures are 5 bucks
    i'm 14, dont need to be earning that much money :D
     
  14. ATD
    macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    #14
    You know there is no way around that type of positioning, if you compete with guys that do $50 logos you will end up doing $50 logos (or less). Try targeting clients that the agency you would be working for would go after, after all they are billing your work at 2.5x to 3.5x what they pay you. Or position yourself as a small design firm, a specialist or look for a partnership that works. Unfortunately these days anybody with a computer + CS can call themselves a designer. What I'm suggesting is not quick and easy but thats the beauty of it. ;)
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    i.Feature

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    #15
    Here's my two cents:

    I worked for 6 years as an art director and a graphic designer. Then decided to jump out on my own. I had always done small freelance projects that i found interesting. But this was the first time i was really going to depend on it. I decided on a very reasonable hourly rate($45/hr). It was low enough to look very attractive to people who couldn't afford "shops" and not too high that someone who normally got their cousins sons nephew to do something might consider highering a professional. I have found that to be successful and i mean really job replacing succesful you need to be a sales person/secretary at least 50% of the time. This means one of two things. You take on less work or work extra hours. Usually you have to do the second to stay afloat. I did this for just over a year. It was very draining. At times very rewarding. And I would have kept it up(possibly hiring someone to handle the sales in another year or two) but i got offered a sweetheart of a job that i just couldn't turn down. Not having to be a sales person is a big weight off my shoulders. Anyways here's a few tips:

    1. Don't over or under price yourself. Find out what going rates are in your area and try and land yourself somewhere in the middle.

    2. Don't price per job. You'll end up having to do every brochure or logo or whatever at that first quoted price. Clients don't really get the whole it take longer to do a 4 page brochure than a 2 page brochure. Seems obvious but to many a brochure is a brochure and they both should cost x amount.

    3. Don't be afraid to say no. If someone tells you "well my cousins sons nephew has a computer and will do it for $100". Politely decline their job and explain that while it may get done for that price they'll be missing out on your experience and expertise. Also tell them that if they aren't happy or need some advice they can always contact you. At your hourly rate.

    4. Save every single reciept. Everyone! You will be amazed what end up being write offs.

    5. Network and sell to everyone.

    6. If you feel you need to do free work to get experience. Do not do it for someone who "really" can pay. Do it for a charity or church or something along those lines. They may not be able to pay but they can often issue charitable reciepts for your donated time(money).

    I'll probably think of more but right now i'm enjoying not thinking about freelance.
     
  16. jtt
    thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    #16
    Well, the advice makes me feel more encouraged to journey on and try some different avenues for new clientele .

    I was also an art director in a decent size agency for over six years and absolutely loved the beginning of my freelancing stint with the freedom and all. I still love it and don't mind mind putting up ridiculous hours because this is what iLove and pretty much all iKnow.

    But people love prices like this guy (no offense):

    People's expectations on quality have really diminished along with realizing that you get what you pay for – Professionalism

    And I'm not the only creative in this local boat.
     
  17. macrumors 6502

    i.Feature

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    #17
    This is true which is why i say don't be afraid to say no. You really don't want clients like that. You'll end up working much harder than you have to and your time as you know is money.

    Alot of the time when you say sorry but i can't do it for that price people will ask why. That gives you a great opening to explain that you are a proffesional with x amount of experience and that people like "x big name" depend on and appriciate your experience and quality. Sometimes people jump when you mention a big boy. They all want to be big boys too. "The guy who's doing my ad, also does stuff for "insert big name here"
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

    rjphoto

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    #18
    Be carefull who you network with.

    I was "invited" to help start a group called AD2 which was to be a younger version of the local Ad Club.

    After a couple of years of being pimped out for the club and not getting work from ANY members I dropped out.

    "Oh, we love the photos you did for the brochure..." then in the next breath, "We just don't have any projects that need photos right now..." Come to find out the owner of the "BIG" agnecy in town was farming out the photography work to her brother-in-law (who had retired from the local newspaper) at a PREMIUM price. The final kick in the #$%* was that he was my bosses husband. After he retired, seems the A/V department was no longer needed and the "Ad Agency" was doing all of the photography with ... guess who?


    Oh man. Sorry for the rant. I didn't realize I had suppressed that so deep for the last 12 years.

    All of a sudden I feel better.
     
  19. macrumors 65816

    D0ct0rteeth

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2002
    Location:
    Franklin, TN
    #19
    Ah freelancing. I love it.

    i.Feature gives a lot of great advice and I agree with much of what he has said. I have been a Freelancer, an Art Director and Creative Director myself, and in the late 90's I went out on my own and started up my own shop. Eventually I hired some staff and last year I sold my firm to another agency when I wanted to raise my rates and start performing a different caliber of work.

    Freelancing can be a great way to learn, and I unlike most Art/Creative Directors I have always been supportive of my team freelancing. Anytime they can learn something/take ownership/grow on their own time/dollar I'm a big fan.

    If you do good work, charge ethically, get things done on time, and treat your clients/team with respect you are already so much better than 90% of the people out there you will never have a problem being successful.

    Good luck!

    - Doc
     
  20. macrumors 65816

    chaos86

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2003
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #20
    i design websites and i hated it when other designers would undercut me. then i would email the client right after they got the design from the crap/cheap designer and send them my portfolio again and sometimes they hire me to fix the other persons design or start it over.

    the other change i made that seems to work is to self promote. it seems really cocky when you write it, but if you basically say "those cheap designers will sell you crap any you'll come running to me afterwards anyway" they'll often compare the portfolios and come straight to you instead, despite the price difference.

    the biggest thing is a professional looking portfolio with good stuff in it, because the clients, though perhaps subconsciously, do really pay attention to your book.
     
  21. macrumors 6502

    i.Feature

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    #21
    Very true... I learned more in my time freelancing than i did in my previous jobs. And like you said good jobs will be supportive of you freelancing as well. The job i took recently encourages me to do freelance. They know the work they give me isn't always the most glamorous, creative, or fun so they're very happy when i get something outside that lets me stretch my legs and make a bit on top.
     
  22. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #22
    I've been freelancing for three years now and don't find a great deal of undercutting going on. I think you need to market yourself at business that a) don't mind paying for good design b) who need to depend on you. The newbies can't be depended upon as they lack the experience, and they design in an adhoc fashion that generally reflects the last magazine they read rather than what the client needs.

    The first thing I learnt as I started to outsource some of my projects is that it is hard to find people that you can depend upon. Any person in business knows this. So let them get a $50 logo, and a late deadline or two, and once burnt they will be ready to pay.

    I have lost a few start up companies websites and the like but I know I can't do cheap design (quick and crap doesn't agree with me) so I don't mind too much.

    One piece of advice that I can pass on is to write in a discount on your quotes. Often times I have done this for start up businesses - just explain you know how hard it is starting a business and give them 25% off. Then even if they have a cheaper quote, if yours is close it will no doubt win as it is 'worth' more in the customers eyes.
     
  23. macrumors 6502

    e-clipse

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2006
    Location:
    Nashville,TN
    #23
    In the job field I am entering after college, I will be working as an audio engineer
    for a Nashville recording studio while maintaining a private studio. The art opportunities are vast. Many musicians need cd cover, inlay, and disc designers to give that polished professional look. I plan to offer my artistic abilities for a little spending cash.
     
  24. macrumors 6502a

    eclipse525

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Location:
    USA, New York
    #24
    That's cute. I give that positive attitude a year or so, then you'll understand but seems to me that you are not pursuing it seriously as a career or main source of income. You can understand how the people that do, will frown upon your attitude towards Design as just "Spending Cash." It's a shame.


    ~e
     
  25. macrumors 68000

    echeck

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2004
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho
    #25
    Not to undercut your abilities, I'm sure you're very talented, so no offense meant when I use you as an example. ;)

    The reason why we hear more and more kids talking about doing some quick design work for "spending cash" is because the software we have today makes it so easy for everyone. Ten years ago this wasn't as easy as it is today. Granted PhotoShop is a pretty intense program, but it can be easy to use for simple jobs as well. Due to this fact, a lot of smaller companies that at one time would have sought out a designer to create their logo or marketing materials are now having an employee's son or daughter create it for them.
     

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