Your freelance graphic design career is going to take a pretty significant nose-dive if you don’t invest a bit of time and energy into getting found.

It’s fundamental to landing works, but it also remains an element of freelancing that lots of us have an ‘ick’ factor about. Self-promotion is embarrassing. Lame. It’s bragging. And so on.

But really, marketing yourself as a freelancer doesn’t need to be any of these things. And anyway, you need it. There’s more graphic designers out there than you can poke a stick at these days. And they’ve all got the same software, subscriptions and personal drive as you’ve got. So here’s how to stand out from the crowd.

Branding

If your branding is memorable and says something about what you do and what you stand for, you’re going to have a far better chance of being remembered. Take the time to get it right. And get cards printed.

Website

You of course need a website that rocks. Whatever creative path you take for your clients, you need to take for yourself. If yours isn’t live yet, or it’s in a major need of a revamp, block out some time in your diary for this month to show it some love, and you will be handsomely rewarded by new work opportunities.

LinkedIn

Of course, a decent profile is important. Make sure your profile mentions that you’re freelance, and available for hire. Use the summary section to talk about the sort of graphic designer you are, and what your specialist skills are. Some relevant posts can do wonders, too, so if you’ve blogged, sure these on LinkedIn.

Leverage your professional network

Take every single opportunity that comes along to promote yourself. Whether that’s a quick phone call to your old colleague that’s now the head of that hot new design agency, or a sending an email to a client you’ve heard is about to undertake a major rebrand, just do it. Regularly.

Increase your online visibility

Online communities like The Freelance Collective gives Australian creative freelancers a place to promote their skills, with an entire profile page including the ability to add samples of your work, and more importantly, your phone number and email address, enabling clients and other freelancers who want to collaborate with you to reach out to you direct.

There’s also a Facebook group, where freelancers of all creative genres share opportunities.

Blog

It’s not for everyone, but blogging is a great way to generate traffic to your site and showcase your specific writing style. But bear in mind that you’ve really got to feed the hungry beast on a regular basis, or it can appear that you’ve got commitment issues.

SEO

Some freelancers decide to commit some dollars to SEO to increase their chances of being found. Make some enquiries, but make sure you get an idea of cost up front.

Network

We can’t get along to every networking opportunity, so just pick a few key ones over the course of the year, and head along with a few cards and a smile.

Nina Hendy
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