Tips for Breaking in as a Freelancer


Do you have some experience with design but are looking to gain more experience and improve your skills? If you’re not ready to jump into the full-time design job but want to use your skills to earn income, then freelancing part-time is a great opportunity to consider. So get a pen and paper!

Here are some tips to think about before breaking in as a freelancer:

1. Keep Your Full-Time Job

Freelancing is a great way to start working in the design field and many people love to be able to set their own hours and work from home. But it is hard to make a living on and there is often more risk involved with depending only on a freelance income.  

Without a full-time job there will be much more pressure to make money immediately, and pressure is no fun.

2. Set Up a Portfolio Site

Having a site to showcase your work is one of the best things you can do for attracting clients.

That is if you have some work to include in the portfolio. If you’re just getting started as a designer and don’t have many samples, then you may need to work on some projects specifically for your portfolio.

3. Experience > Income

As you decide on projects to pursue, place more emphasis on learning and developing your skills as opposed to just taking jobs that will pay you the most.

4. Establish a Work Schedule

Working a full-time job and freelancing on the side will require you to manage your time efficiently. Balance a work schedule that will allow you to stay focused on your full-time job but still give you time to balance your freelance work and your life in general.

5. Open a Separate Bank Account

For people that don’t manage their books very well, keeping track of income and expenses can be a challenge.

The easiest way to keep things separate is to set up an account strictly devoted to your freelancing income.

6. Talk Talk Talk

One of the best sources of business for freelancers (full-time or part-time) is word-of-mouth advertising.

7. Your Rates

Pricing your work can be a very difficult thing for new freelancers. In fact, even designers who have been at it for a while often struggle with determining how much to charge.

The most important thing to consider in pricing your work at this time is to charge a rate that you are comfortable with.

8. Don’t Take Too Much Work

One of the mistakes that some new freelancers make is taking every possible project that comes their way. Especially when you are getting started, you will want to be able to take all the time that you need to learn from the projects that you are working on and to produce the best work that you are capable of.

9. Network

Successful freelancers have an established network of contacts that they have established over a period of time. This may be other designers that you can learn from, designers that you can share referrals with, other professionals in related fields, or any other type of professional.



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