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The Do Nots Of Running Your Design Business

Don’t underestimate the Power of Your Portfolio

Let your portfolio speak for you when you can’t be there to show off your design business. Your portfolio is a place for you to present yourself and show off your design credibility to potential clients. Leading more eyes to your work will lead to people understanding “why” they should hire you.

  • Case studies are important – Make sure you show that you know how to do it, how you got there, and how you did the steps along the way. It also shows that you really know how to specialize in a certain area of design.
  • Your area of strength should be very obvious in your portfolio. Show off what you know.
  • Your portfolio should be a driver as to why you? Why your design business?
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Graphic Designer Illustrated Resume

Don’t Expect Your Design Business To Pop Off ASAP

Your success is not going to happen overnight. And guess what? That’s okay! Some of the biggest “overnight success” stories are deeply rooted in blood, sweat, and tears behind the scenes. As a freelancer, you need to prepare yourself for “dry seasons”. There will be weeks and possibly even months where work and revenue just aren’t coming in. Freelancing is not for the faint of heart or wallet, that’s for sure. But if you can make it past the 3-year mark — You’ll be killing it! It takes a long time for “the industry” to get to know you, trust you, and want to hire you.

Don’t Lose Yourself

What is your ultimate reason for wanting to run a freelance design business? Personally, mine is to be able to have a creative career that maintains a certain lifestyle. It’s not enough to just know the ins and outs of the creative industry and assume that you can kick ass at it. Why are you doing this? What about this lights your fire? Ask yourself these questions, answer them, and let your work be a reflection of it.

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I'll Sleep When I'm Rich Unisex T

Do Not Work For Exposure

Lorddddd, I wish someone would have told me this when I first started out freelancing! I so badly wanted to make a name for myself and have work to show, that I would take almost any gig – including ones that didn’t pay. If a large(ish) company or brand is approaching you, they more than likely have room in their budget to pay you. If you feel especially passionate about a project, and you believe that they don’t have the budget – that’s okay. The key to this is maintaining your passion while also maintaining your living expenses.

Don’t Accept Every Project That Comes Your Way

Listen, sometimes you have to. I’m not expecting you to starve. But it’s also more than okay to say no to a project that you especially feel dispassionate about or just straight up don’t like. It’s important to stay busy in a freelance design business, but try to keep in mind how accepting certain projects will affect your portfolio and your future clientele.

self love lettering

Ready to start your own Design Business?

Continue to keep advice and guidance from more seasoned graph designers in mind when venturing into this wild time! You can continue to refine, tweak and better the skills that you’ll need as a business owner. Remember that the importance of keeping your clients satisfied is not exclusive to any industry, and especially in design. You want people to be repeat clients, and pass you along to friends and colleagues for future projects. 

You can learn more about design skills on skillshare and learn more about interacting positively with clients at this article here.

Still need some help? Shoot me an email or a message on instagram!

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