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Advice needed.

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by felicity, May 8, 2009.

  1. felicity

    felicity New Member


    I'm Felicity and have had a keen interest in Graphic Design for a few years however i didn't pursue my interest as i was busy with College. I've now left College and am currently on a Gap Year before i attend University.

    Now that i've got some spare time on my hands i'd like to start attracting clients and indulging in my passion!

    However i currently have a number of issues;

    1. I do not have a portfolio of my work, i assume prospective clients would like to look at my previous work, but as i haven't got any examples what should i do?

    2. How should i attract clients? Any useful networking sites out there? I've tried GumTree for offering my service of image retouching but that ended up in disaster as the client didn't get pay me!

    Any other advice for new starters would be very much appreciated.


  2. cenuij

    cenuij Junior Member

    Hi Felicity,

    I have always drawn since i was a wee boy but didn't start to try a career with it until the tender age of 28. No qualifications and no portfolio. The best advise i would give is get drawing, make up a mock client brief and do it. Then do that a few more times and bang you have a portfolio. Put that either on a website or send them out by email. Believe me, it will take a lot of contacting people and you will get more no replies than answers but keep going. I have found that having a web site is better. A basic site that can hold you work can be very cheep to do, no more than £30 to start and a few pounds to keep for a year. Well worth it.
    On payment. I have also had bad times with non payment. A games company still has not paid £4000 to date almost four years after delivering the work. A design company took over a year to pay. That's the thing, if you have produced the work, don't be afraid to keep asking for payment. You did your part.
    On the whole i have had great relationships with clients, so it is worth it.
  3. tim

    tim Senior Member

    I don't know how we all missed this thread, so sorry about that Felicity!

    I'm a student myself (don't ask how I have so much time, I don't know either), and I got noticed on a few forums by offering free work for a little while. Offers came pouring in despite the fact I didn't have a portfolio, and I got to build it up pretty quickly.

    Do some personal work for yourself too. Find a bit of inspiration and develop it into a few ideas, and then publish them on a site (if you don't have one you may like to consider a CMS like Wordpress- easy to use, easy to set up).

    Hey Paul, you may wanna PM blueocto - she has some killer links on how to get clients to pay quickly.

  4. twiggy8520

    twiggy8520 Senior Member

    I'd say that putting up some self initiated projects helps, if you have some projects from college put a few of your best bits in your portfolio. I have a piece from college in my portfolio and thats 5 years old now! A website is practically a must nowadays. Wordpress like tim said is a good CMS if your not sure about web design or tumblr is really good too.

    As for getting clients look at this thread ->
  5. Hiya there!
    A good way to build up a decent portfolio are competitions and tenders.
    You have a lot of pluses such us
    + Real projects for real clients
    + You might end up winning a new client
    + If it's a public submission, you get other people to see your work

    The only way to start doing business is actually starting.
    A good tip: do not undervaluate your work. You may want to do a project for free, but's don't charge a fraction of your fees. If you position yourself as a 'cheap' designer people will come to you with 'cheap' projects... and you don't want that!

    Hope it helps!
  6. welcomebrand

    welcomebrand Junior Member

    Good luck getting started, in any business getting clients is the hardest part!

    There's a definite need for a portfolio of work, even if it's only a few "selected" projects you've self initiated for businesses you've made up. Be careful about doing too many though as it's easy to fall into the trap of designing stuff that's just practical in the real world because clients often place a huge number of obsticles in the way when you're working and things rarely end up like they should but you need to be able to show you can adapt to meet the needs of real clients.

    If you don't use it, LinkedIn is a good means of making some useful contacts in agencies that you might not have otherwise had the opportunity of meeting and also its worth considering registering with a couple of local recruitment agencies who specialise in web/design/whatever you want to do.

    I've been working full time freelance for a couple of years now and split my time working for agencies as a contractor and working for people who find me directly and the bigger paydays are certainly working as a contractor for an agency and you don't have the hassle of client management etc that you would with a direct client.

    The biggest contracts I've had have actually come via recruitment consultants putting me in touch with an agency for a few days work here and there and then once I'm in the door, I often strike up an ongoing relationship with the agency and we deal directly the next time so they don't have to pay recruitment consultants fees!

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