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Newbie...Advice please

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by Laurajanedesigns, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. Hello

    My name is Laura. Im just starting out as a freelance graphic designer. I have a degree in Illustration and a degree in digital media design. So far i have done work for family and friends, some paid, some unpaid.
    Does anyone have any advice for me on how to really get my feet off the ground?

    Thankyou for your time

  2. Corrosive

    Corrosive Moderator Staff Member

    Get sales skills. They are so valuable when dealing with prospects and clients. I don't mean 'double glazing' type sales skills but a good grasp of what business owners are expecting when you rock up to sell your services.

    Talk Features, Advantages and Benefits. Also Return on Investment and explain how using you will maximise sales enquiries.

    Also be confident in what you do and preserve self respect. If someone insists you do a logo for £20 then walk away. They are probably going to be a nightmare client anyway!
  3. Thank you for the advice.

    How much should i charge as im just starting out? I charged my friends and family £20 an hour!

  4. Corrosive

    Corrosive Moderator Staff Member

    £20 - 25 per hour is pretty good although some here will charge a little more and some a little less. We try and aim for £25 per hour for web work.

    Just don't get sucked into clients telling you how long a job should take. If you aim for £20 per hour and a client says 'you are a talented designer a logo should only take an hour' then they need a reality check and you will be left working for hours for £20.

    Have a good idea in mind of how long a job will take and then charge accordingly for your time. It's not always easy mind you!

    Don't be afraid to negotiate but have a bottom limit you where you will walk away.

    Also beware the 'if you do this cheap now then I'll get you more work in the future' crowd. They won't. They will take your hard work and disappear.
  5. printbar

    printbar Active Member

    Wise this advice is.

    Very wise this advice is.

    Super wise this advice is.

    Yet more wise this advice is.

    Corrosive is bang on throughout. Esp on the last couple of points.

    I'd also add a couple of recommendations:

    1. Playing on psychology is really important. As an average human, if you tell me that something should cost X my natural response is to barter you down to X - 10%. As a client, I want to think that my wonderful negotiating skills have led to me getting a better deal out of you than I would have done otherwise. As a supplier, you don't want to work for X - 10%. Solution? Quote me X + 10% for the job.

    It sounds ridiculous, I know, but this works so often that there has to be something to it!

    2. Rate yourself honestly. I started out as a designer and was making an ok living out of it. After about 6 months I realised 2 things:

    a) I was competent, but I wasn't GREAT. At best, I can honestly say that I'm good on a good day at design. I'm nowhere near as good as 90% of the good folks on GDF.

    b) I was better at negotiation and admin. My skill set was better suited to running a reseller (which I had been dabbling in).

    If you can step back, take stock, and rate your strengths and weaknesses impartially then you'll be able to focus on the type of work that keeps a roof over your head. You might end up having to scale back on stuff that you really enjoy in order to churn out things that you can command a better fee for. You may be lucky, and be blessed with immeasurable talent (in which case I am super envious, but good for you). In either case, remember that you work to live, not the other way about.

    3. Seriously consider reselling print (Boss Hog's reseller scheme is a great place to start). Design takes time, upselling the printing on top doesn't. If you don't get greedy then you can start adding little bits of extra cash to your work simply for sending an email or two. It really is a no-brainer.

    4. For God's sake, stay on top of your invoicing and other accounts. Get at least a 40% deposit on all work before you even consider opening up Photoshop/Illustrator/Indesign. On the accounts side: do a little, do it often.

    5. Stick around on GDF. I've been lurking here for a good three years. It's a constant source of advice, support and fun. Life in both the design and print industries can be tedious at times, dispiriting at others (as well as awesome occasionally). Being part of a community that understands how these things go, that can sympathise when you get a mental client, and that can be happy for you when you pull off a great deal is worth a hell of a lot!

    Good luck - and look forward to hearing from you again soon!


  6. dedwardp

    dedwardp Member

    Both great posts and I can only echo the sentiments of both.
  7. PB

    could you please explain nuimber 3 about reselling of print? Im not sure i totally understand

  8. printbar

    printbar Active Member


    If you check out my posts you'll see one on advice for resellers. That's a good place to start.

    I'm not at a computer right now, so I'll post some more info when I don't have to type it on a phone!

  9. dedwardp

    dedwardp Member

    Print Reseller Scheme > Printing at trade prices

    This explains the notion behind a reseller scheme well.
  10. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    Essentially, all of us designers who arrange the print of a job are print resellers. Quite often it's a good way of giving the customer a bit extra as they'll struggle to match the print price themselves.

    eg: Printer gives 15% discount to reseller. Reseller adds 10-12% back on to make their profit but still keeping the cost below the standard rate to joe public.

    On small print runs this may only yield an extra £2-3 to the reseller but it's a very profitable when the print costs start to run into the thousands and the client still gets a slight discount over the standard price of print.

    N.B. That was just an example, don't expect all printers to give you the same level of discount.
  11. PrintingManchester

    PrintingManchester New Member

    Just to echo Corrisive's advice as its very apt; watch out for clients who try to barter you down on price constantly (unless you think they have good reason to), or give the oldest line in the book 'if you do it for this price now, there will be plenty more of where that came from' wink wink, offer to pay you in cash, or just generally come across as a bit of a wideboy/dodgy.

    I had an experience with a client once who fit all the above and he was such a nightmare to work with in the end I was glad to see shot of him. As you can imagine I only got about 1/3 of the money owed. On the positive side it happened when I was starting out and I learnt a lot from it.

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