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How do you get work?


#1
Hi all, I have been doing some research about going freelance, and I wanted to open the question: how do you find your work? Do you get most of it online, word of mouth, networking? Any advice or links here would be appreciated!

I am trying to do as much research as possible before taking the leap from my full time studio job! And this could possibly be a transition period of having a couple of clients before leaving.

Thanks!
 

scotty

Well-Known Member
#2
I think it's best to overlap the leap to freelance.
Get some clients as well as doing the day job to start.
This is the really hard work bit as you'll be working every waking hour at some point.
That's around the time to go for it.

Where people get their work is as individual as the person as a lot depends on what you do.
Most of mine have come through seeing my work online.
Others have come through recommendation and word of mouth.

Happy clients bring new clients so look after the good ones.
 

Paul Murray

Moderator
Staff member
#4
I think it's best to overlap the leap to freelance.
Definitely do this. A mate of mine started doing freelance work in the evenings and has now been working for himself for a year or so after his freelance workload grew and grew. You don't want to make the leap with no income or you'll quickly regret making the leap at all.

Most of my work is from the same clients, new clients are often contacts of those clients. It's not always the most exciting of work (powerpoint presentations and investment pitch documents are often on my to-do list) but even big studios rely on one or two clients keeping them afloat as I'm sure you're aware.

Occasionally I get work via my site, but often it's just a single job and I never hear from the client again. One of my friends owns a hair salon and I'm doing some price-lists and stuff for her. Just today my landlord asked about getting his website redesigned out of the blue. Just being known as a designer will probably lead to work.

Don't discredit working in studios on a freelance capacity either as this can be a nice little income boost when you need it. I've been lucky-enough to be working in-house since the start of the year and don't need to worry about my income for the next few months. That probably wouldn't be the case if I was having to market myself!
 

@GCarlD

Well-Known Member
#5
Did your same clients come from the studio(s) you worked at? Or by other means? I always wonder how designers gain clients from studios without the boss finding out, as I doubt he/she would be too happy about losing work to a freelance employee. I never had the balls to try.
 

Paul Murray

Moderator
Staff member
#6
Did your same clients come from the studio(s) you worked at? Or by other means? I always wonder how designers gain clients from studios without the boss finding out, as I doubt he/she would be too happy about losing work to a freelance employee. I never had the balls to try.
I've never actually worked full-time at a studio, only in a freelance capacity. Ironically working freelance in studios has reassured me I wouldn't thrive in full-time employment :)

A couple of clients have come via a freelance studio position though. One approached me as they just need a designer once in a while, and didn't want to have to pay a full studio day rate every time they need something quick producing. I discussed this with the studio's creative director first (who's also a partner) and he said it was fine as they only ever had one job for this client over two years and it wasn't really the sort of work they focus on anyway (they do events).

Another of my client is actually a former employee of the client I just mentioned who went off to grow his own business. He knew I'd designed the website for them and so he came to me when he needed his own doing. Now I handle documents and financial reports for them as they're t the stage where they need a full-service web agency to handle their site.

My friend I mentioned previously actually 'took' (for lack of a better word) one of his previous employers main clients with him. He didn't plan to, but his contact at the company was disappointed that the studio hadn't even bothered to even let her know he had left so she gave him a call one day and asked if he'd be willing to handle the work. After discussing it with his previous employer it was agreed that he would handle the stuff he used to do for the client on a regular basis that was actually a drain on studio resources (email newsletters, web banners, etc) and the studio would continue to handle the large event and conference work for the client.

Not that the studio had any say in it anyway, ultimately the client can work with whomever they wish. As a rule of thumb I'd never try and poach a client from an employer (current or former) as you don't want to burn bridges or get a reputation, but sometimes it just can't be helped.
 

bigdave

Moderator
Staff member
#7
Not that the studio had any say in it anyway, ultimately the client can work with whomever they wish. As a rule of thumb I'd never try and poach a client from an employer (current or former) as you don't want to burn bridges or get a reputation, but sometimes it just can't be helped.
You may also find in some contracts of employment that you're forbidden to work with the company's clients for a set period after you leave employment.

When I started freelancing I told my employer what I was doing and they said it was fine so long as I didnt do any work for any of their clients. That was a pretty big problem as their client list covered about 50,000 'local' businesses making it nigh on impossible for me to work.
 

scotty

Well-Known Member
#8
You may also find in some contracts of employment that you're forbidden to work with the company's clients for a set period after you leave employment.

When I started freelancing I told my employer what I was doing and they said it was fine so long as I didnt do any work for any of their clients. That was a pretty big problem as their client list covered about 50,000 'local' businesses making it nigh on impossible for me to work.
Yep! Check your contract!

I kind of fell out with an old employer as they wanted me to sign a revised contract signing my life away.
They put in a "Designs and Inventions" clause that meant they's own everything I did. In and outside of the company.

F@ck that!
 
#9
I focus on both offline and online channels to get work. In today's highly technical world where everybody is online, the importance of being active online has increased. As you're working solo I would recommend that you at least sign up on freelance websites like <<removed>, <removed> etc. Moreover, you should consider starting your own website. You could start with a simple landing page where people can fill in their details to get a quote for the work they require. Also, you could use social media to promote your services.

When it comes to offline channels, you could canvas local businesses that need your services. For example there could be a restaurant with an outdated menu. You could visit the restaurant and suggest that you do a menu redesign for the restaurant. But you don't only have to visit businesses in person, you could also call them and tell about the services you can offer. Worth to mention here is that you will have best success if you select businesses that lack something which you can provide. Reaching out to
all businesses in the local area will not be beneficial because you will spend a lot of time marketing to businesses that don't need the services you can provide.
 
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#11
Links to crowdsourcing sites removed - please do not post these - we do not encourage at all.
I don't agree with you when you state that there were links to the sites. I only mentioned some freelancing sites by their name (no links) and it feels a bit like censorship to not be able to even mention freelancing sites. It would be interesting to know the reason to why it's not possible to mention these sites by their name. Is it a new decision?

Did a search on this forum, just the name "<<removed>>" appears in many places. Will these threads and posts mentioning <<removed>> also be removed?

<<crowdsourcing name removed>>
 
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hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
#12
Regardless of your feelings, it's become policy. Please take your concerns up with @Stationery Direct

We do not encourage anything to do with crowdsourcing.

I periodically remove any reference to crowdsourcing sites, and if needs be I'll go through all posts - however, it's not really any of your concern.

Thanks
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
#14
Freelancing sites are welcome - and if you want to post them then that's fine.

Any links to sites that exploit designers in anyway, like crowdsourcing sites will be removed. It's that simple.

The removal is for the good of the community, and if you don't agree with that then that's fine - but ultimately it's not up to you.
 

scotty

Well-Known Member
#15
I feel that crowdsourcing sites are exploitative and devalue the design industry as a whole.
They also encourage bad practice.

We've seen examples on here where people have used them in good faith to get a logo and ended up with a raster image that were useless apart from screen use.

I agree with the GDF policy of removing these and appreciate the Mod's time and effort to do so.
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
#16
Anyone else feels differently, there's plenty of other sites out there that you can use. We are a strong community and promote best practice. If you want to pay £5 for something for your business, then you must only value your business at £5 or less.

If you value what you do and require expert work then be expected to pay for said experts.