Reach Out To Friends
Let’s start off with the simple stuff. In order to find freelance work, you’re probably going to need to reach out into the world and make new connections… But before you do that, why not make use of the connections you already have?
One of the fantastic things about working as a designer is that it connects you with all sorts of companies. Every business – whether it be a software company or a greetings card retailer – is likely to need some form of design work done at some stage, whether it be a logo, website graphics or something else completely. Because of this, making use of your existing connections – whether it be friends, family or old colleagues – is a great way to source work.
Unless you have a strict ‘I only hang out with designers’ policy (which, if you do, is a tiny bit odd) you’re likely to have friends working in a bunch of different industries. Hit them up and find out if they or any of their friends and colleagues need any design work done. There’s no telling what it might lead to.
There are now more ways than ever to connect with people and get your name out there as a designer. From networking events to social media platforms, there have never been more ways to reach out to other designers and businesses seeking design work.
One networking method we’d like to highlight in particular is Meetup. As a website and an app, its popularity has exploded in recent years, being one of the go-to ways to connect with people who have similar interests. Of course, a lot of people use it simply to find book clubs or hiking buddies but it can also be an incredibly helpful way to make friends with other designers. Groups and meetups on the website are obviously location specific, so take a look and see if there’s anything going on near you (and if there isn’t, you can always start up your own group).
We’ve mentioned social media platforms as a form of promotion in the past, but we thought we’d touch on them briefly again. Instagram, in particular, is an incredibly helpful platform for up and coming designers, being a great way to get your work out there where potential employers can see it. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are also worth exploring as well; the more you get yourself out there, the opportunities for work you’re likely to receive.
But unpaid work can also be a tricky area… When agreeing to work for free, or for a low amount, you have to weigh up whether it’s worth your time. How valuable is a reference or a recommendation from this business likely to be? Is it likely to lead to paid work? Unpaid work is something you should only feel inclined towards doing early on in your career and once regular paid work starts coming in you should always insist on being paid. Just trust your instinct when it comes to free work – only do it if you think you’ll get something valuable out of it.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO NOW?