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Starting Freelance

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by Dan_masoomi, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. Dan_masoomi

    Dan_masoomi Member

    hey im a recent graduate and i am new to getting myself out there in the industry

    i am looking for a permanent junior role in a company i can grow with and build my career

    untill i find this job i have been doing some work for myself,

    i just wonderd if anyone could answer a few questions for me

    im not sure how much i should charge? should it be hourly rate? or per product i design?

    how can i make sure i get my money after doing the work?

    what is the best way to get myself out there?

    i am a graphic designer, so in my spare time i can design logos, flyers business cards, posters etc

    genral promo work and branding.

    thanks in advance

  2. BenJonesDesign

    BenJonesDesign Active Member

    Hi Danny. Firstly some great work done there, like the illustration work. to answer your questions.

    When it comes to charging for work, clients can differ in how they want to pay. Some ask for a flat rate fee straight away where as if others ask for just a quote it would be best to charge by hour. The best way to quote really would be to work out how long it would take you on an average but go slightly over the top in case. In terms of how much really depends on your experience and how good your portfolio is. Think about how much you would like to be earning per year then work our your hourly rate from that, think realistically though.

    When it comes to asking for the money most designers tend to ask for 50% upfront to cover costs, others may ask for the whole lot up front, but it's up to you with what you feel most comfortable. If for some reason you do allow them to pay after the job is done then keep a tab on them, put a payment due by date on the job and make it clear in the invoice. If the due date comes and they still haven't paid then follow up with a reminder email.

    The best way to get yourself out there is to check out sites such as behance which I see you have already done, and others like carbonmade and even deviantART as you work with illustration. You can find work through many freelance websites, one of the best ones being peopleperhour. Try to market yourself online and offline, e.g. get some business cards sorted out, brand yourself, get online and network, get yourself a personal portfolio website and perhaps invest in a bit of SEO, or learn it yourself as many others do.

    Designing in your spare time is great, practice makes perfect as they say and use this to build up your portfolio. When it comes to your portfolio it's not the quantity that matters, it's the quality. Try and have 10-15 solid pieces of work in there and regularly update it and after a while get rid of any work that doesn't seem to hit the grade like the others. Lastly make sure your work is consistent, don't put very different styles in one portfolio, if you are quite versatile, which is very good as many of us are, try and divide your portfolio into clear categories, for an online version you can do this with separate pages. When you come to meet with a client, sort your portfolio into what is relevant to them, don't take anything that won't mean anything.

    Other than all that your work seems to be on the right path, but what I will say more than anything is be prepared for every situation, you will learn more in the next year than you will have learned throughout uni.

    Good Luck
  3. Thewholehogg

    Thewholehogg Active Member

    Some good work there, best of luck.
  4. Craig.5br

    Craig.5br Member

    im not sure how much i should charge? should it be hourly rate? or per product i design?

    You charge what you feel comfortable asking for taking in account of your experience etc - personally if I think the company is well established or has used a ageny in the past I wouldn't shy of asking for a little bit more.

    how can i make sure i get my money after doing the work?

    This is the biggest problem for a lot of people I have been hit by a couple of jobs that I haven't been paid for! not a nice feeling. The tips that I have learnt is either take 50% deposit or full payment up front for new clients. If their not comfortable doing this there is a chance they might be trying to pull the wool over your eyes because you are new to the industry

    what is the best way to get myself out there?

    Marketing yourself is key, I noticed from your behance you are from Liverpool so there will be a lot of competition make sure you keep your site up to date. Maybe start a blog to show clients your always busy - start sending email campaigns when you build up a good rep and you never know someone might need a designer the day that your email lands in their inbox. Also get some leaflets and letters printed send them to some businesses around your area to let them know you are there then ring them up asking if they received it and if you can be of any assistance.

    Hope this helps and good luck

  5. Dan_masoomi

    Dan_masoomi Member

    wow thank you all for you quick replies. and kind comments really apprciate it.

    i will take all on board i am in need of updating my portfolio as all of it is just university briefs.

    ben jones thanks for such an indetail reply, some really helpful points you have made there. i really think designing in my own time and keeping in with a simlar style is really good advice. you think like i do, making it easy to identify different areas of styles on my portfolio will also be a great idea.
    i will also check out those other websites you have mentioned. are you all profetional freelancers?

    also craig thank you for you feedback. i was also thinking of creating a small sample pack of my work ( cost effective ) with all of mmy own branding on and giving these out to local busniess around my area. i am working on my own site at the minute on wix. i have no skills in website building so this is the only way i can get around it. i will update this and show you when i have finished if possible. i think your idea of phoning and email flyers sounds like a great idea.

    i think it would also be a good idea to get contacts in the printing idustry for when i get orders in i cannot mass print on my own?
  6. Dan_masoomi

    Dan_masoomi Member

    and craig yeah competition is tough in liverpool but i like that it pushes me to design better. there are actually no jobs in the north west for a junior design role. the nearest is portfolio doesnt have any of my actuall graphics and promo stuff on there that i have done for some companies. i willl get it on my new site and show you if your interested,
  7. BenJonesDesign

    BenJonesDesign Active Member

    no problem Danny. We all come from various background, graphic designers, illustrators web designer, the majority of us do work freelance but others work for companies and possibly the odd side job.

    Sourcing printers for pretty much any printing you do would be a good idea. I have a printers who are pretty cost effective and they print anything from 50 - 50,000 above. Best thing to do is look for printers who offer a discount for designers or resellers as many put it.
  8. davewill

    davewill Senior Member

    Hi Danny, Im a graphic designer who works in a studio in Liverpool City Centre. Competition is tough, but its not impossible, I wouldnt necessarily agree that there are no jobs at all in the North West, you just need to keep looking. I worked for free for 6 months to get enough experience before I got my first break. Call up studios and offer to go in for 2 weeks to do a placement, fill your spare time doing that, working on your portfolio, building up a good presence on the web (blogging,website,facebook,behance,twitter,5oup etc) and just dont give up. Ive written 2 articles on my blog last year that may be of interest to you.

    dave will design - a freelance graphic designer based in Liverpool: Tuesday Top 7 Tips: How to become a graphic designer

    dave will design - a freelance graphic designer based in Liverpool: Tuesday's Top 7 Tips: Showcasing your portfolio
  9. Dan_masoomi

    Dan_masoomi Member

    thanks Dave! i would offer my services for free if it meant that one day it would help me progress in my career. plus the experience of working in a real studio and enviroment would be immense.

    i would also like to work under senior and mid weight designers to learn more. i will keep my eye out for opportunitys. i must be looking on the wrong job websites.

    do you think offering myself as work experience only would open more doors in liverpool studios?
  10. Chris Lord

    Chris Lord Senior Member

    Yes to the last question. If you are willing to work for free and can financially support yourself, then go for it (that's if there aren't any jobs)
  11. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    Shame to see universitie courses STILL aren't including this stuff. Some nice work there, good luck.
  12. davewill

    davewill Senior Member

    Offering to work for free will definitely open more doors. You will build contacts, gain valuable experience and meet loads of new people. Plus it looks great on your CV. As Chris said, its important that you can financially support yourself but if you can then go for it.

    Have a look through the Liverpool Design Initiative directory to get contact details for Merseyside based studios so you can get in touch and ask about work placements.

    Also, sign up to the KIN2KIN network. Its a free site for merseyside based creatives to network. I got my current job through seeing it on the kin website.
  13. Dan_masoomi

    Dan_masoomi Member

    thanks everyone, n thanks dave apprciate your help alot, i really need to get my foot in the door. i think your advice is vital i will check out those websites and get sending my cv and ask for any work experience

    good man :)
  14. davewill

    davewill Senior Member

  15. Chris Lord

    Chris Lord Senior Member

    I know someone that worked at a design agency for free for a whole year after Uni. They helped pay to get his professional portfolio done (which in my opinion is pretty poor for a years remuneration) and with his expereince he got a 'real' job!!
  16. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    Would you expect an education or law or medical graduate to do that? It's disgraceful how creative graduates can just be taken advantage of due to the competition and nature of the work. At least he got a paying job eventually.
  17. Chris Lord

    Chris Lord Senior Member

    I would never suggest someone to do it for a year. But I guess these things are done for personal gain and if you personally think it's worth it, then go for it. 1 year is a relatively short time in your career.
  18. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    As my dad would say, a sprat to catch a mackerel.
  19. GraphicDesignBoss

    GraphicDesignBoss Junior Member


    Nice work!

    I blog to help young designers who are just starting out thrive in business. check out my blog and you'll find how I find my clients. There are some easy ways to do it without spending lots of money.

    bottom line really is to actually put yourself into places with the right kind of people. Don't get sucked into the mindset of "if I have my folio on the web" they will come!

    You've got to get out and meet and greet people. Keep persisting! It was a year and a half before I got my first job (1991) and I have never looked back!

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