Properly marketing myself as a freelance designer

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by y3k_designs, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. y3k_designs

    y3k_designs New Member

    Hey everyone,

    So please allow me a few minutes to explain a bit about myself and the internal war that I've been waging against myself now for about a year or so....

    Though I am an artist at heart and love what I do, I have been extremely interested and blinded by affiliate marketing and all the internet money-making opportunities out there today. I signed up to about 4 free sites in the last year that really in the end were a waste of time and wouldn't pay dividends unless I had a "downline" of like 2000 people! Problem with this is, I am really not passionate about selling other people's products and/or taking a year to build up an unstable business that statistically fails 95% of the time! I have come to terms that design is my passion and I want to make the absolute best of my skills.

    Time to get inspired about what I am truly passionate about, and move on....

    My freelance career began around college, as I began taking in odd jobs wherever I could find them! I began making a few independent movie posters, business cards, etc. After college I began to really get passionate about growing a legitimate business and molding my freelance into a profitable career. Problem was, the work was slow and payment was peanuts! I didn't know how to properly charge clients and sometimes got tangled up in 2-3 projects at once working for a lousy client who demanded countless revisions and paid poorly.

    Over the last 2-3 years this slowly began to change....

    I began to take my freelance more seriously and began to mold my skills into a more professional and organized business. I had a streak of jobs pour in last year for about 2-3 months and then it dried up almost overnight. I have since joined up a few freelance websites and entered design contests but began to get frustrated at my inability to take on steady jobs.

    Now, I am starting to re-assess my business model and start from scratch in a sense. I have fortunately built up a very nice array of clients and jobs which are showcased in my portfolio....and am now of the mind that I need a complete website makeover that is more professional and less "college'esque".

    I also am doing some market research into some popular and productive freelance sites and resources so that I can have a streamlined system of finding work. Right now I sort of just float around the same 2-3 websites bidding on jobs, but realize the importance of properly marketing myself into MANY different avenues to find work. I am beginning to develop my business mind instead of relying solely on my creativity! I want to be able to utilize both now and become the most successful freelancer I can be. Once I get established as a more professional freelancer I will go on the books hopefully this year and take advantage of the great tax benefits of operating a legit business from my home office. Right now, I am lucky if I pull $100/mo from freelancing.

    So, long story short, anyone have any ideas, suggestions or feedback on places to properly market myself as a freelance graphic designer?? I want to develop an organized, streamlined system moving forward to being in as many jobs as possible. Hell, I would actually like to build a small team to handle overflow and web jobs as soon as possible!

    Thanks in advance,
  2. Matt Zenittini

    Matt Zenittini Silver Member

    y3k_designs: So, long story short, anyone have any ideas, suggestions or feedback on places to properly market myself as a freelance graphic designer??
    You are using the best technique =]... Word of mouth.

    You could try to find a local or online web programming team to partner with.. You send them work.. They send you work.

    If you are really hurting and have extra time you could maybe take the initiative and go around to local professionals websites. (doctors, lawyers, accountants, insurance office) Then design them a really nice letterhead, business card, logo.. Some sort of identity package and print them on a paper. Then type up a letter telling them you would love their business and you custom design and can change to suit.

    Maybe not just like that but hopefully you might get a few ideas from this.

    Are you using as one of your three websites? - If you can design, this may be for you *free*

    y3k_designs: Hell, I would actually like to build a small team to handle overflow and web jobs as soon as possible!
    Talk to a college graphics teacher. Tell them you need some of their best students for real world experience and a chance to make some money on the side. [​IMG]. As well start building their resume.

    There is your GOOD inexpensive labor.. Of course pay them fair, but it is nice to have access to college kids that are learning and staying up to date on new trends and work hard to try to make a name for themselves.

    Good Luck,

    Matthew Zenittini
  3. Mark_Worthen

    Mark_Worthen New Member

    Great questions Gregg. Here are some suggestions, in addition to Matthew's great ideas:

    1) Continue to participate on this forum regularly. Make a better signature:

    a) Learn how to make your link "clickable" (explanation in your Profile where you set up your signature);

    b) Add some text that compels the reader to click, e.g., Need state-of-the-art design for your website or blog? I provide fast, secure, affordable design services. Special offer for Forum members!

    2) Visit other Internet marketing and home business forums and groups; network; give design advice--particularly in "review my website" sections of forums.

    3) Put a real contact page on your website, i.e., don't have it open your visitor's email client. Instead, make yourself more "real" by having an actual contact page with your photo, mailing address, phone number, Skype name, etc. You might even add a brief video introducing yourself and explaining why visitors might want to choose you for their design project.

    4) Add testimonials to the home page of your website. Make it a habit to obtain written, audio, or video testimonials from all of your satisfied clients.

    5) Under Portfolio on your website, consider changing "Digital" to "Websites" as that would be a more accurate description of your work ("digital" sounds like some techy thing).

    6) Make links to your clients' websites clickable (but open in a new window). Make it easy to show off your work!

    I wish you all the best!

  4. y3k_designs

    y3k_designs New Member

    WOW some dynamite feedback, thanks guys!! This is already shaping up to become a better marketing weapon!

    I am in the mock-up stage with my website re-design as we speak so this kinda feedback is invaluable [​IMG]
  5. y3k_designs

    y3k_designs New Member

    Why wont the freggin words italicize in my signature?? The code seems correct....

  6. Matt Zenittini

    Matt Zenittini Silver Member

    Another idea is to take some time to write down EVERYONE that could benefit from your services.

    -Network Marketers
    -Small Business Owners
    -Affiliate Marketers
    -Overloaded Minisite Companies
    -Any Business you run across that LOOKS like it needs you.

    My list isn't good at all. Really put some time and thought into this.

    This is your target market.

    Now ONE by one go over them

    Network Marketers:
    -Ask youyself: How will they benefit from my service?

    -Maybe they are trying to brand themselves and they need blog/twitter/myspace design.
    -Maybe they need super cool fliers or business cards.
    -Maybe they have a product they want to sell as a funded proposal and are making a landing page.
    -Maybe they need a great website bundle with an opt in page that has a great flash presentation then a landing page to explain their business.

    Take some time building that list as well.

    Starting from the top ask yourself:
    -Where do I find a Network Marketer looking to brand themselves?

    Then make a list.
    -search network marketers twitters.. find ones with poor designs
    -maybe promote a system like the7figurenetworker so you can generate leads that are learning self branding techniques and make commission on the side.
    -Look for companies that target these people to offer your services to. For example: Partner up with the7figurenetworker and give them a cut for all of the business they send you.

    Your website is good.. But it doesn't tell me how it is going to benefit me at all. People are not always very good at seeing and realizing what they need. Create a separate website... Your own landing page offering free designs for Network Marketers. Make some Twitter, Myspace, Blog designs, and give them away for their name and email address.

    When they opt in email them the designs and redirect them to a sales page offering your custom design services and explain what they get and how it will benefit them and have an order button for your different packages.

    Over time send them emails asking how their free designs are working and offer a way for them to truly brand themselves as a leader and get their own custom made design.

    Not only that.. Do you know how valuable a list of network marketers is?


    This is just ONE marketing angle... You can literally have hundreds.. So many people need your services.

    I'm sure I missed a few steps in my ranting.. But hopefully you get something out of this! =].

    Matthew Zenittini

    P.S. PPC is a great way to drive targeted leads to any landing page if you set one up =]. You should also get a book on it if you are not too familiar with it.
  7. gowriter

    gowriter Member

    I like the idea of the testimonials from your clients. Add that your website.

    Speaking of signatures, it wouldn't hurt to put a link to your website in your regular email signature either so people are reminded of the service you offer and can pass on the information to others.

    Get a Twitter account with your full name, a link to your website and a mini bio that says what you do. Follow people who might be interested in your business.

    Another option is to post on free classified ads. Do a bit of article marketing and talk about how a graphic designer is essential for a professional-looking website.

    Be sure to pinpoint the type of clientele you're trying to attract. That makes the marketing part easier for you. Are they work at home moms with a blog? Are you attracting ecommerce type people, i.e. people with their own webstore who want it spruced up.

    Also check out the internet marketing forums like Warrior Forum or Digital Point. You can post your services there. Sometimes someone will want a sales page done or will need a logo. Determine what type of services you're willing to do. Will you also do the copywriting for it or not?

    The more specific you are about your services and your targeted audience, the easier it will be to for you determine the best mode of promotion. Cast your net too wide and you'll go stir crazy trying to market yourself.

    You may also want to consider the option of selling a website template at discount price on eBay. Check out what the other designers are doing there. Don't get discouraged or feel like they're competing with you. Just see what people are doing to attract clients.
  8. fpullman

    fpullman New Member


    You could also write short articles on topics related to your field of expertise and submit them to relevant forums, blogs and article directories.

    Pretty soon people reading your interesting and helpful articles will check out your links and some will like yor services.

    Good luck with all the information - there sure is a lot of meat here.

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