Getting your First Clients as a Freelance Designer.

February 23, 2021

My personal experience of what worked and didn't work for me, whilst starting out as a freelancer.

When initially considering starting out as a freelance designer, I did quite a lot of research into current freelancers’ experiences of landing their initial clients. Thankfully there is a variety of blogs into this subject area, with a lot of them having their ‘5 Top Tips on Getting your first Clients as a Freelancer!!’, I thought it was worth sharing my experience into which ones have worked for me…

Tell your Friends and Family.

One of the most consistent pieces of advice throughout all my research was to tell your friends and family about your move to freelance, in the hope that one of your distant family friends, knows somebody who is just starting up a business and might need some of the services you are offering.

This worked well for me and I managed to acquire two clients who required some branding and logo design. From these initial clients I managed to gain some experience of what it was like to work with a commercial client, understand their expectations and requirements, the process of working as a freelancer and quite importantly understanding the value of my services to a business and how I can help.

Peakee Vintage wanted to re-brand their identity and incorporate their brand colours within a modern and dynamic logo, orientated around the typography.

@peakeevintage

Finally one of the most important factors from doing this was an opportunity to gain ‘real-world’ experience of freelancing and having the opportunity to use these projects to build up my portfolio and to acquire more clients.

People Buy from People.

With these new projects in my portfolio, I continued with another piece of advice from my research of ‘Use Social Media’. I predominantly use Instagram to share my design work and posted up the branding/logo design work I had completed and thankfully the clients I did the work for also shared the work on their stories.

This led me to my next two clients. One as a referral from one of my initial clients, when someone enquired about the design work they shared on their social media and the second from a friend/follower who saw the branding work I posted on my Instagram.

As a photographer Tom Hodgkiss wanted a visual identity to represent his brand that he could use across his social platforms.

@tomwhodgkiss

Local Businesses

Now I have gained some relevant experience with clients and have a portfolio of recent work, my plan is to continue with the ‘Local’ theme and start to research and approach local businesses and SMEs in my area.

My thinking behind this relates to an article I read during my research, talking about how often parents would trust the 15 year-old from the local village as a baby sitter who has little to no experience, over a baby sitter from a nearby city they have never met before but who has relative experience.

For this next stage I plan on attending local networking events, where I hope to talk to local businesses, with the aims of having a face-to-face conversation, and understand how I can best serve them and help their businesses create value through design.

Thanks

Barney