The Year 2020 has pushed a lot of us out of the offices, into the world of freelance. However easy it may seem to work from home, the lockdowns have shown that there need to be certain rules in order to make the most out of such a regime. Having quite an experience in freelance graphic design, we have something to help you! The Gingersauce team has gathered 10 commandments of freelance graphic designers that will help you be more efficient with your job.
P.S. If you’re not a freelance designer, but working from home – you might want to check our tips out as well.
Wondering how to become a freelance graphic designer? Here’s something to remember.
1. Yes, that 12 AM message from your client can wait.
The most common mistake freelance graphic designers make is overworking. Being a freelancer, you define your working hours and decide when you’re the most productive. Yet, just as it is easy to work less than expected, it is also very easy to go into the beast mode and work non-stop. You don’t have to feel guilty about going offline after you’ve done what you had to. The fact that you’re working from home doesn’t justify sudden edits that need to be made out of spite, and out of your working hours.
2. Money talks first, work second.
Before getting down to work on a task, discuss everything. We mean everything. The deadlines, the dates, the budget (!), payment details.
A little tip: Ask your clients if they are willing to offer any goodies for handing in the project early. Who knows, maybe they are? What is it if not a stimulus to stop procrastinating?
Also you can check our article about What Clients You Should Avoid
3. Working where you sleep summons the deadline nightmares.
If you’re working from home, make sure you dedicate some corner to working. Try not to work where you sleep: the research has shown that people who typically work on their beds have trouble falling asleep. The brain loses the distinction between work and rest and keeps you alert.
4. Keep yourself together, designer!
Remember, freelance is the absence of a higher-up that will be controlling your performance, and deadlines. You have to be one for yourself. If you typically don’t work well without guidance, think very well if you’ll be able to push yourself once you’re a freelancer.
5. Talks are half the job.
If you’re thinking about becoming a graphic design freelancer, keep in mind that half of your job will be communicating with your clients. Here are some of the tips we can offer you based on what we’ve learned ourselves:
- Stay connected. Try to answer the messages in the day-time, or at least do not leave your client on ’read’.
- Describe what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. If the client doesn’t understand the steps you make, it may lead to a severe case of micromanagement from their side.
- Communicate in the client’s language. Using graphic design jargon won’t make you look more professional. It will only lead to more confusion. We’ve read why misunderstanding is bad for you in the previous point.
6. You only have 2 hands.
Stay real with yourself, and don’t get too much on your plate. If you can clearly see that you do not have the time, or resources to take on a new project, then don’t take it. Even if it is a chance to earn a lot of money. If you take on the job you will fail to do later, your reputation will get damaged a lot more if you refuse the job.
☝🏻 Tip: Don’t forget that freelance designers mostly work on freelance hubs, where you get a review from clients on how well you perform. Always keep that in mind before getting to work.
7. A notice for designers: the week ends!
Working from home and regulating your own workload can result in overworking, as we mentioned previously. And overworking may lead to complete burnout. Don’t work on weekends, have a few days only to yourself. Do something you like, or don’t do anything at all. Put your mind to rest at least for a few days.
8. When was the last time you added something to your portfolio?
One of the most important things for all graphic designers, freelancers especially, is their portfolio. In order to stay relevant, you need to update it from time to time. For that, learn new techniques, stay on top of the latest trends. Graphic design is a job that requires constant learning and improvements.
9. Hand over every task you can, buddy.
Freelance graphic designers oftentimes are overloaded with tasks that have nothing to do with creativity. Our advice is to open your heart to online tools that are designed to help you make your workflow more efficient.
With Gingersauce, for instance, you can significantly reduce the time you spend on brand book creation. While you’re slaying that creative tasks, we can take on all the technical ones.
10. Raise your status.
How do you present your visuals – logo prototypes for instance? Freelance graphic designers sometimes have trouble appearing professional. We suggest you try creating a brand book for each of your logo design prototypes. This is where you can present a full brand identity to your clients, and show your dedication to the project, and professionalism in your practices.
This is one of the reasons why we created GIngersauce – to help more designers establish a professional image. With our tool for creating brand books, you can create an awesome-looking brand book a lot faster. You won’t need to start with a blank canvas, as we offer you market-standard templates, and some smart automatization to guide you through the process.
Your creativity, our automatization, a beautiful outcome.