How to Become a Successful Freelance Graphic Designer

In a world inundated with information, quality visual content is becoming more and more important in marketing. It’s the best way to prompt someone to open social media posts or ensure they spend time on website pages. And even in a digital world, quality printed media is still powerful! This calls for quality design work, or a business won’t impress as much as its competitors. This is good news for anyone considering becoming a freelance graphic designer, because many businesses can make use of your skill.

So, how do you get a foot in the door in this industry?

Know Your Skills and Pick a Niche

As mentioned above, the range of work options for an affordable freelance graphic designer is vast. This doesn’t mean you must be able to perform all these types of design.

It can actually hurt your business if you want to sell yourself as a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ because companies often prefer expertise to diversity. If you can prove your worth in a certain field, you may improve your chances of getting that contract!

So, research the market and find design types you’re really interested in. Also, improve your skills to suit that type of work. Apart from digital marketing, here are some interesting niches you may not have thought of:

  • Product packaging
  • Consulting on clients’ visual identity
  • Company clothing
  • Video editing

Of course, you’ll also need the relevant graphic design tools, such as hardware and software, to perform your tasks. This can be costly, but it’s the long-term investment that will secure your future.

Prepare for the Business Side of Freelancing

Being a freelancer sounds inviting, because you can determine your own schedule. But don’t be naïve about what it takes to manage this lifestyle. Sit down and consider the following so you manage your business effectively:

  • Do you have bookkeeping in place? Knowing your numbers is essential for any business owner.
  • Have you spoken to a professional about whether you need any type of insurance?
  • What pricing structure will make your business sustainable? The graphic design cost must be reasonable for clients, but not so cheap that they think you’ll deliver low quality work.
  • What policies will benefit you in the long term? For example, don’t ever start work unless a contract is in place and don’t perform work for free in the hopes of securing a long-term client. People easily take advantage of newbies.

Gather a Portfolio and First Clients

Your clients will want to see proof that you can deliver before they commit to employing you. Create a portfolio of work which you can easily share, whether it’s showcased on your freelance graphic design site, makes up part of your profile on a freelancer platform, or you have saved examples on the cloud.

To make contact with your first clients, use the helpful freelance platforms that many companies use to source service providers. You can also use your family and friends by asking them to refer you to anyone they know who needs a designer. Word of mouth is still an effective marketing method.

Once you get those first clients, over deliver, so their feedback will be the reviews that attract more work!


With visual impulses making more of an impact than written content, your skills as a graphic designer is valuable to your future clients. Make sure you stay on top of developments in the market, such as new software and tools to use, so you can deliver what will set your clients apart from the rest. Good luck!


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