Don't Be a Blogger. Be yourself. Are you feeling sometimes that you spend more time researching how to write posts instead of doing it good?
This is the continuation of series: Things I Learned as Junior Graphic Designer and 10 Things I learned as a Senior Graphic Designer. We learn all the time and it never stops. Being a Freelance Graphic Designer is an interesting journey of new relationships and gaining new skills.
I learned that no matter how many new skills I gained or how much I improved my website it will never be enough. The industry is changing very fast and you have to keep on going. I thought that once I become a freelancer, I will be able to relax a little and just keep taking more projects. But once I learned web design I had to learn WordPress. Once I learned WordPress I had to learn how to add custom coding to my website. It is never ending. But that is what make me love my job so much. I will never get bored and I will always stay busy.
Some projects seem challenging from the beginning. For example: the client is not happy to pay the 30% deposit, wants a 2-week job done in 2 days, doesn’t want to sign your contract or is negotiating the price with you for a month. To those, I kindly say I am sorry but I can’t do it for you right away.
It also happens sometimes that they don’t really know what they want or are not ready yet. For example, some people think they need a website but they have no idea what to put on it or do not have any text for it. I try to discuss then, other options, that are more simple for the client and will definitely be cheaper for them like a social media account that might be more than enough for a start!
There are some things I just learned to give up on. For example, I do my basic SEO for my website but I don’t want to spend too much time on it. It doesn’t make me happy and it will never be as good as if I gave it to a specialist.
I learned to keep the record of all projects like: invoices, proposals, contracts, work in progress files and of course the final designs. It helps me to be faster every time I start a journey of a design project.
I also learned to pay more attention to documenting my budget. I keep the record of all business expenses and income. When I started writing it all down I realised that I have a lot of unnecessary expenses that seem small as they are only a few bucks but when you add up everything it costs a lot! I could finally see clearly what my income actually is (don’t forget to add this coffee you drink every day!).
Once, I got my trading license and started working from home, all my colleagues, friends and family suddenly needed a logo or a website. On the beginning I was helping everyone but in short time I decided that I cannot do everything for free. It was taking too much of my time and I needed to pay my bills.
So I started to show them my proposals and added to it a discount. They were excited to see my process and were very often surprised how much time it takes.
Another idea, that I implemented, was that I did not take money but I happily accepted gifts for my future baby. Some people exchanged with me what their business is offering and that was super too. It made it much less awkward in the family and surprisingly everyone felt happy and more comfortable. Me, because I didn’t work for free and my close ones because now they were feeling like they really bought something.
I always used calendars and liked to stay organised. You can read here about few apps that help me with that and I can’t live without it! But now, I took it a step further and started to look in the future months as well. I make sure that my clients are well informed of my schedule and I try not to take more than 2 clients at the same time. I also try to book all projects in advance to keep a good cash flow.
It is not as much what I learned but what I decided from the beginning when I got the trading license. One advantage of being employed was that I could use all the software from the office. The first thing I did, when I started freelancing was buying the licensing for Adobe, Microsoft, Antivirus and much more. I did not even try installing stolen software as it would take too much of my time and efforts and I believe that it would make me look less credible.
It is so fk great to be your own boss. I cannot even explain all the difference in one post. The most important for me was that I did not have to do any more things that I didn’t feel comfortable with. I don’t have to do anything that is unethical or doesn’t seem right for some reason. I choose my projects to fit my passion and I work with people who share the same values. Even when someone is not nice from the beginning, I just simply refuse the project.
On the contrary, to the previous point you also need to have in mind that now you will be dealing with many new bosses. It will not be just one but your every single client. So I learned the most valuable lesson that sometimes it is just not worth the money. I try to work with people who love my work and I love the time spent with my clients. It is very important for me that every single one of my boss leaves with a smile.
As always, in every part of my career growth I learned again how much I love it. I love the freedom to be creative. I love to wake up every day with head full of ideas. I love the moment of thrill when I have to meet the deadline. I love the chills when I discover something new or something beautiful. I love that this job makes me feel smart because every day I learn so many things about design, brands, people and relationships.
What did you learn as a freelance designer? Maybe as a client, working with one?
Contact me if you have more questions or leave a comment down below if you loved it/hated it.
When starting a logo design, it is good to remember about few logo design files that your Graphic Designer should provide for you. Asking for some, might not seem useful at the beginning but trust me, you will need them later on. So what is important?
I would highly recommend every logo design to start from a very short written agreement that states full transfer of copyright and design ownership. Without it is like buying a house that on the paper still belongs to the previous owner. Not having the full copyright to your logo could mean that the designer can reuse it for another client or keep your symbol and use it in another work. You wouldn’t want that!
Your logo should be designed in a proper vector software like Adobe Illustrator and your designer will provide you with either AI (Encapsulated PostScript) or EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) files. Ideally, you should ask for EPS files as this file is possible to open in different software. Your logo for print should be also prepared in CMYK format.
Vector files are very important because they let your logo scale to any size that you might need in the future. Raster graphics like JPG or PNG will look good only if you scale them down but never up.
You will use it for everything that will be printed in high quality:
If you don’t want to always go back and forth with your designer it is good to ask ahead for basic logo variations. Besides the above printable versions you will need a file with a transparent background in full colour, black, white. This is important because you will need to use your long in various scenarios, sometimes on light and sometimes on dark backgrounds. Ideally, this files are smaller in size so that it is light for your website and it should be in RGB format that it is more suitable for screens.
You will use it mainly for web use:
This one is kind of a bonus. It might not seem needed at the beginning. But if you are getting your logo done without brand guidelines/manual it would be useful to know which colour codes and fonts your logo consists of.
For example, if you would like in the future your brand to have another speciality, you might want to add some text to your logo. Or if your brand goes global you might want to add locations below it for specific branches.
Colour codes will be super useful if you will be working on your simple Power Point presentations and you will be wondering what colour your header or footer should have.
It will be useful for:
Still not sure if you have everything? Feel free to contact me for a free advice.
There are 4 essential things to start a website that I always ask my clients for: the logo, company name, text and the website hosting. Can I start without it? Sure, I can but it will make the website building much slower = more expensive for you. Here is why.
The most important part is the logo. We will need a good logo because it is your brand image. It is the first thing that your clients will look at and it is the first thing from which any design starts whether it is a brochure or a website design.
If you have to save money on something, do not cut the logo cost. I would instead recommend having less fancy stuff on your site and start from a good logo. Website can be improved in time while logo should be the same, consistent and memorable from the beginning.
If you would design the website first, then you would have to redesign it again once the logo is done to match the typography style, shapes and colours. You can read more, why the logo is so important here.
Need a good logo design? Start now by filling this form.
The company name is essential in order to buy a domain name for your website (website address) so without it, we would not be able to start. If you need help finding the name please let me know, I am happy to throw in some ideas.
We could always use some dummy text for your website to start with and clients usually prefer it this way to visualise the page and decide what would fit there. But I will need something to understand how the layout will look as well. Usually, this takes a lot of time and it means that once I have the text I will probably have to redo the layout anyway. Every paragraph and image that will change, will influence the layout. That is why it is so important to have it as soon as possible.
This is the last and least important thing that I am happy to help you with. After you buy your domain name (a website address) the website also have to "live" somewhere. That space for your website is usually paid on a monthly or yearly basis and it is called a hosting plan.
Why do I ask my clients to take care of it? Hosting plan is something you will have to connect your credit card to for the payment. You will also want to have an easy access to it for kind of forever to keep your website live. If you are in a different country it might be also beneficial for you to choose a local plan that might be cheaper. There might be also a time when a local support could help you a lot when for example your website is down.
I am more than happy to take care of that for you as well but I usually just help my clients do it on their own.
Does it all make sense to you? Would you add anything else? Let me know!
Starting your own business? I have started this topic with creatives from various disciplines to see what is the most challenging for each of us. I believe that we all struggle with different things!
For me, THE ONE, the most difficult was the administrative work. I was very disappointed how much time it takes to set up your business, finances, invoicing systems, taxes. It took a lot of my energy. The biggest problem, it was not creative at all. I hate Excel and we had to become best friends. I also hated to see how many new expenses came in even though I started as such a small business.
What was your challenge? I asked for an answer people who's websites just scream out, how much hard work they put in their business. Let's see the responses these successful creatives.
The most difficult challenge in starting your own business is dealing with the unknown. Will your customers like your service/product? Will you be able to give yourself a steady pay? No question you come up with will have a solid or reliable answer.
Every reason that’s holding you back from starting your business can be boiled down to insecurity – something every person deals with. We all have our setbacks. Luckily, you can easily jump these hurdles if you apply yourself and take action rather than dwell on them.
Whenever you’re faced with a problem, your first job is to define what’s holding you back.
For me when I started my freelance career, my setback was the fear of inexperience. I was fresh out of college and knew nothing about how to operate as a self-employed freelance graphic designer, let alone how to find and work with paying clients. If I had let that fear hold me back, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to just start. Don’t worry about the legalities and paperwork of starting your business right out of the gate. You must validate your passion for the work you want to be doing. The business side of things will naturally present itself along the way.
As soon as you set your fears aside and just start, the sooner you’ll begin to figure things out for yourself. Any mistake made along wit way are only lessons learned.
Put all of your value into creating and taking action. Deal with what’s thrown at you as it comes, because you can never predict this stuff, so don’t let the unknown control you.
The most difficult challenge for me was marketing and getting myself out there to my target audience. I learnt it the hard way. But later I learnt that the more you blog, the more noticeable I got. I started building an email list from day one. I feel being consistent is really important as well, not only in your posting schedule but also in the way your brand looks through all platforms (website, social media and newsletter).
Starting by own freelance graphic design business was the most rewarding yet terrifying decision I've ever made. The glaring issue with freelancing is sustaining regular income. The most difficult challenge for me was getting a steady flow of customers.
As a graphic designer in a service based business I knew attracting the right target audience was going to be the key to my success. When starting my business I was aware it was going to take time before I got my business in front of the right customers.
I spent nearly a year building my brand, growing a following online, growing my email list and perfecting my client processes before I saw a steady income from clients. In the meantime to supplement my income I reached out to agencies and provided freelance services at an hourly or project based rate.
My advice to anyone considering going full time freelance is to have at least one client, whether it's an agency or long term project, before taking the leap. It will be a lot less stressful if you have some income stream rather than hoping month to month that you'll land clients.
Another piece of advice is to be patient and have the right motivation. Staying positive will get you through the tough slow period when starting off. Having the motivation to push forward and always find solutions to make owning your own business a reality makes all the difference.
I am still getting more and more responses from many amazing people, so stay tuned, more is about to come! Feel free to also drop some stories below!
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