In a world where everyone in your industry is competing for competition and work, it is very difficult to rack in business for yourself. When starting out, it is hard to convince people that they should pick you as their designer for the job at hand. Surely, one of the answers you get when the question “How do you get those clients?” is asked is that you have to stand out of the competition. The good news is you do not have to be as “super creative” as you think.
Specialize in a niche
Out of all the freelancers fighting for clients, very few are actually doing this. Many designers think that the more skills they have to service people, the more likely they are able to get these jobs. The truth is, if you specialize in a skill such as web design, or just video, or infographics, you are actually more likely to win the hearts of clients. Clients are generally looking for someone to do a particular task and are therefore looking for someone who specializes in achieving that task. Someone who is needing a motion graphics video is more likely going to hire a video only designer rather than hiring someone who has video skills along with ten other skills as advertised. Pick a particular skill, and blow it up as your main strength. You’d be surprised by how many emails you get from people needing that particular skill.
Declare your mission as a designer
What do you hope to achieve when you are helping people with their problem? Are you designing to help tell the story of the business you are helping? Do you love helping companies “refresh” their looks? Designers claim that they love what they do in terms of design, but that does not mean anything to other businesses if you do not have a goal in mind as a designer. Most designers design to make things look pretty. Stand out by stating your main goal as a designer. Why do you design for other people?
Connect with people personally and emotionally
Your best clients are going to be the ones that you deeply care about. Freelancers typically spam others business cards, and loves to talk to prospects about themselves and their arsenal of skills and being “sales-y”. There is nothing wrong with being a salesman, but keep in mind, you are not the first person to pitch your design services. Connect with business owners on a personal level, be nice to your local business owners, or talk about your similar interests. When they casually find out what you do, trust me, work will come.
Help fellow freelancers
Something that took me awhile to grasp when starting out, is helping out other freelancers who are either rising or experienced. New or struggling freelancers are too busy trying to get ahead of one another in getting their clients. Very few help others, whether it is referrals or giving simple business tips. You would be surprised by how many people will send work your way just because you helped them with social media or design.