Dear MANMAN: How Do I Break into the Freelance Market?
February 17, 2017
I'm an experienced graphic designer, specializing in print production. How do I break into the freelance market? Is there a need for this specialty? How do I market myself?
Such a great question, thanks for writing in! And great news for you...we are currently in a freelance revolution. Did you know that 1 in 3 people in the U.S. freelance now? That's 55 million Americans, with Millennials and Gen-Z's being the biggest go-getters.
Many businesses have scaled back to focus on their core offerings, and farm out everything else to freelancers. "Collective studios" (small studios made up of a rotating group of freelancers) are also becoming more popular. So there are lots of freelance opportunities out there for you! If you have a passion or skill, you can likely make a living from it.
There are many ways to market yourself and break into the freelance market of course, and every freelancer has their own story. I'm happy to share what’s worked for me!
For creative freelancers, I recommend:
Working for a large corporation first for a few years to soak up knowledge and hone skills (I'll be posting more soon about why this step is so important).
Make friends/not enemies (go to that networking event, talk about your passion, bring your business cards everywhere).
Always ALWAYS do kickass work and go above and beyond every chance you get (even throwing in a little freebie once in awhile is not a bad thing)!
Say yes to the fun AND mundane (it might not be your dream project but it could lead to one).
Keep putting yourself out there (try sites like Upwork, Elance, Creative Circle). Try new things and be open with others that you are looking for work. People love to help others when they can!
Doing all of these things will lead to new projects, new clients and new opportunities. Now it's your responsibility to impress and delight...and ultimately, get them to become a repeat client!
Lmk how it goes!
P.S. If YOU have a question, send it my way! We keep all of our inquisitors "anonymous" just in case you're still at that full-time gig and haven't quite made the leap! :)