Advice on getting started in Freelance?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by bluetooth, May 4, 2007.

  1. bluetooth macrumors 6502a

    bluetooth

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto
    #1
    Hi,

    I am very interested in starting some Freelance part-time and working it into a full-time career. I have done bits and pieces here and there for a few friends etc. over the past few years. I have 5 years design experience working for a well known retailer and am ready to venture out on my own.

    Has anyone signed up and had success with some of the Design Freelance websites out there? If so, any names?

    Any tips or advice would be appreciated.

    - Thanks
     
  2. RojoLeo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #2
    As with any business, referrals are the number one way to grow your client base.
     
  3. buymeaniphone macrumors 6502

    buymeaniphone

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
    #3
    Get some good examples of your work together to show potential clients and also get a portfolio website so people anywhere can see what you can do. I know the owner of this site is needing some graphic freelancers: www.netmusician.org
     
  4. jng macrumors 65816

    jng

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    #4
    And while you're building that portfolio, look for small jobs to fill it with if you're new to the industry. If you're still a student, that's a perfect fit. Don't do contract work forever though, just enough to build a decent portfolio.

    I recommend using Craig's List to find small projects.
     
  5. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #5
    Best way... get a job for a top agency with a client list to die for, then network your arse off at pitches, client meetings, design dinners and awards.

    Then with a couple of years under your belt, put together a blinding website and book (portfolios are something students have ahahahaha) quit your job and get in touch with your new found contacts touting your skills. ;)

    The worst way is to try and start from scratch with no contacts or clients, because you'll end up having to work from scratch and will have to endure the creatively numbing experience of doing work for nondescript companies, that have creatively challenged briefs and absolutely no idea about the importance of design.
     
  6. bluetooth thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bluetooth

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto
    #7
    Thanks for the responses. I'm no longer a student, I have been out of school for about 5 years now. I have spent the last 5 years working as an in-house designer for a large retailer. The job was great, but the only issue was that it was in-house and I was therefore unable to connect with a lot of clients.

    I am in the process of updating my portfolio and am looking into a website.

    Thanks again.
     
  7. mperkins37 macrumors 6502a

    mperkins37

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2007
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #8
    My 2 Cents

    Being a Freelancer for over 7 Years now, I would:
    Rotate as much student work out of your samples as possible, Keep it to 20-30 strong pieces, Get a web presence up. Do get a FREE Craig's list Account & Post daily. Get a Free Kudzu Account. Get A Free ProductionHub Account. Print up a professional looking business card.
    Hand out huge amounts of Business Cards. Tell satisfied customers that you would appreciate it if they let their friends & customers know that you are the best, & offer them discounts for any bird-dogging they do. Offer a discount to new customers (I give 10% off design to first time customers ).
    If you have a dissatisfied customer, do something to turn it around & make them at least ok with the deal (Even if you have to lose a little money). A good customer will sing your praises, but a dissatisfied customer will shout out @ the top of his lungs very negative things indeed.
    Make Cold Calls. Hang in there & Network, Network, Network.
    Take classes in programs that you have weakness in.
    Oh, and did I mention NETWORK?
    mperkins37:)
     
  8. fireball370 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    bay area, ca
    #9
  9. kitki83 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2004
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #10
    See this stuff I know how to do, since I have the similar situation as the original poster. My concern, how do I do the business side of things, like taxes, accounting and federal/state taxes. I mean the numbers side of freelancing is what I see not being addressed because I want to take advantage of business tax deductions and so on. Where can I get information about that?
     
  10. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #11
    You need an accountant. A good one. That's the best piece of advice I think I probably ever received with regards to going freelance.

    The second was find a bank with a good reputation for helping new businesses and ones with dedicated new business managers that will be assigned to your account so that you always deal with the same person.
     
  11. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    Location:
    A World of my Own; UK
    #12
    This is absolutely, 100% true - a good accountant will save you more money than you pay him or her.

    Cheers!

    Jim
     
  12. Simplesimon101 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    #13
    there's a really good book called 'how to be a graphic designer without losing your soul' by a guy called Adrian Shaughnessy.

    anyway this is a brilliant book written by someone who knows his stuff about setting up as a graphic designer (most of it's about becoming a freelance designer tho not all) it's also got some interviews with the likes of neville brody and Stefan Sagmeister.

    i'd buy this book if i where you...
     
  13. mperkins37 macrumors 6502a

    mperkins37

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2007
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #14
    Business side

    I have done this Part & Full time for 10+ years so:
    Business License: Freelancing in most states means sole propriotership & In most cases no business license is required.(Unless employees are hired)
    Taxes: Keep 1/4 aside in a business account & Get a good accounting program like Quicken. (Unless employees are hired).
    Keep all receipts for EVERYTHING!
    I work out of house so approx 1/5 of my bills & House payments , as well as interest, is deductible.
    Hard part is drumming up steady new clients & Keeping old ones in the loop.
     

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