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Welcome to Freelance hell!
I get most of my clients by word-of-mouth from client referrals, former clients who come back to me & social/community contacts.
Getting started and making a name for yourself is the biggest hurdle. Sometimes you have to physically go knocking on brick & mortar doors to get things rolling. Try reaching out to some non-profit charities, churches, hospitals, etc... They're usually happy to have skilled help -- providing you don't charge them a lot of money. But these small jobs can lead to bigger & better things later.
Don't get discouraged. We've all been there.
I am wondering if you found any tips and tricks to help launch your freelance career?! I am in that same boat.
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Treat it like a serious business.
1. Do a feasibility study.
2. If your freelance business passes that test, write up a business plan. This will help you think about almost all aspects of running your practice.
3. People do business with people. So engage
Know your audience in regard to your skills and ability and enthusiasm.
As other have mentioned - contacts- contacts- contacts. Word of mouth travels further than the wind.
Keep your portfolio up-to-date and only use what you feel best shows your ability. Keep up to date with what the design world is about. Eye on Design | AIGA Eye on Design is one good place.
Search the web for potential clients that are within your area that you wish to engage with. If you have a website and are looking to extend your area of engagement make sure that you are listed near the top of the search engine.
Be bold in your direction and design. And keep the faith- this is a rewarding but difficult road! All the best!
Thank you, I guess I should have been more specific. I am looking for what companies designers have used to create their website, what sites do you use to find work, and any other tips. I have worked my freelance company before but it was 10 years ago and things have changed quite a bit. I’m hoping there are some good new resources!
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On path of earlier replies, participate in forums, social media, whatever term you prefer...and show your expertise. Back in the day I got quite a few jobs by answering questions on Macromedia forums, then some folks would email me and ask if they could just hire me to help them. It was maybe 1 of 50 people, but it was something.
So not only real-world networking but raise your profile (your 'brand') with helpful contributions.
To your later question, you can design your own website pretty easily with sites like WordPress or Wix if you don't need fancy and don't mind site branding. If you want a truly custom site, I'm sure there are many here who could help. You don't need to hire a high-end firm. But really, you should give it a go yourself - it just adds to your skillset.
Upwork seems to be a popular freelance site these days, as well as Fiverr, but you're competing with a huge crowd and a lot of price pressure. Such sites are 'easy' but they're also probably pretty low on conversions...
Agreed with others - hit the bricks; talk to small businesses in you area, non-profits especially. Sites like VolunteerMatch.org may be a good resource to get more samples and references under your belt.
Thank you so much! I have thought about taking a couple of courses in web design to increase my possibilities. I recently did a logo and the company asked if I was able to create an animated logo... I missed out on that opportunity.
I really appreciate all of your advice!
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