Freelance Like A Superhero – Wired Sussex Guest Post
Following on from my successful guest speaker slot here in Brighton at the Wired Sussex Breakfast Session, I was asked to write a guest blog post for Wired Sussex about being a freelance graphic designer, which includes top tips on working in this field.
The guest blog post can be found here http://www.wiredsussex.com/blog/wiredbrekkie-guest-blog-freelance-like-a-super-hero-and-get-super-clients/
You can also see the details below on being a freelance graphic designer in Brighton.
I hope it provides some inspiration to those who are currently freelancing in Brighton and beyond and also just starting out as a freelancer!
You can contact me now for a free consultation for you graphic design projects.
My name is Simon and I am a freelance graphic designer, illustrator and art director based in Brighton running my own business which operates under the name Sinage Design.
Following on from my successful guest speaker slot at the Wired Sussex Breakfast Session, I thought it would be great to share my top tips as a freelance graphic designer in Brighton. Here they are, in no particular order:
- Be approachable
Working as a freelance graphic designer based in Brighton, a lot of my clients like me for being easy to talk to and accommodating (as well as my graphic design and illustration skills). I would recommend that you use this approach as potential customers will look into your personality as much as they do in your work.
- Have a good work/life Structure
Be careful not to spend all your time in front of a screen! Knowing when to stop is very important and having regular mini breaks in between working is far more productive than sitting for 12 hours at a time. Remember the outside world is where your inspiration will most likely come from.
- Speculate to Accumulate
Working as a freelance graphic designer in Brighton, it’s very easy to panic when it is quiet. Just remember to build up the background tasks when you have some downtime as there is always something to do. For example, you could research the market, generate new marketing ideas and work on your website content, SEO, etc.
The cost of the accountant on paper is likely to put people off (a good accountant for sole traders costs around £400+ a year). But if you get a good accountant, you will make a lot of savings on the tax deductible parts of your business while gaining information on what you can and can’t submit to HMRC. Seeking one out could definitely benefit your business in the long run.
- Back up everything you do work-wise
I have heard some horror stories of laptops dying and people not having backups in place and losing a good few years of work. I currently use three different backup devices for my work and always ensure that I have all of these in place in case something bad happens to any of them.
- Time Management
Try to manage your time effectively and efficiently.
If you work from home as a freelance graphic designer, don’t be tempted to switch on the TV or Playstation and get sucked into this during the your working day. You have to try and keep a strict working schedule and stick to it where possible!
Having said that, I play some games for a while to wind down at the end of a big completed project. It’s all about scheduling it in.
- ALWAYS write everything down
Make lists of ideas and document these regularly. Here in Brighton, I often send emails to myself, which may sound slightly odd! It’s great to have lists with ideas that you can check over from time to time as it may help you either straight away or for future projects and tasks.
- Creating your top 100 list
Decide what you want to achieve, both short term and long term. Do you want to start out small to test the water before setting up your own agency? Do you want to work with clients in fashion or film?
Create a list of your top 100 contacts. This list can include family and friends, previous and current co-workers and clients that you would like to work for. Set up a spreadsheet with your contact information for each person and document your communications ensuring that you keep in regular contact, perhaps once a month is a good starting point.
Update the list when you get new clients or find you want to add or swap people. Remember freelance work comes from many different areas. It is a good way to keep on top of communications and ensure you are always in a person’s mind whether you know them personally or not should a great project come up.
- Personal Projects
Working on personal projects in between client work is very important. This could possibly be where you develop your skills the most.
I always like creating my own illustration or art projects. I designed a set of alternative movie posters recently and managed to gain exposure across social media and created a real buzz around them. They’ll be shortly available as prints online.
I also paint street art style canvasses. Last year, I ran a Halloween art exhibition with around 10 pieces and used Twitter to promote this, alongside flyers and posters which I distributed locally. This was a great experience and got me away from my computer screen for a period of time, which is also good.
If you’re l thinking about creating an app, writing a script or a book, or setting up a new website of some sort as a side project, definitely do it alongside your client work.
- Make sure you walk the walk
Talking the talk is a good start in order to get the projects that you would like to work on.
You must also walk the walk and this needs to show in the quality client work that you produce. Carefully considered design and ‘magic ingredients’ isn’t enough if the work you produce for clients has no soul.
If you are busy on various projects, ensure that you put 100% effort into each and be careful not to spread yourself too thin across clients.
- Treat your business like your best client
Imagine that your business was a separate person, perhaps your best friend or favourite client of all time. This needs to be nurtured and treated with constant attention to make sure that it is happy, healthy and running smoothly in all areas.
Focus on your own branding, marketing (online and offline), accounts and general admin that needs to be up to scratch.
Remember a happy business is a healthy one!
Below is an infographic I created which includes some of the points covered, feel free to share this across social media and pass on to anyone else who might need some inspiration in this area.