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Opinions expressed by Contractor the contributors are theirs.
The following excerpt is from Shelby Larson’s book Moonlighting on the Internet. buy It Now Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
Shelby Larson presents the most reliable and proven ways to create an additional short-term paycheck and establish a continuous source of long-term income with your own website. In this edited excerpt, Larson discusses two key elements of starting an online graphic design business.
When you start working as a freelance graphic designer, you won’t have the precious resource of references. So let’s talk about how to get your foot in the door and start building a client base that can refer you to others.
There are many ways to boost online business, but here are a few that have proven to be effective over time.
Compete for construction sites
One of my favorites is 99designs. I had logos made for my two companies here. Here is a great article that 99designs wrote on how to find the right projects for you using their site, building relationships with customers and having fun.
The other sites that I have not used but that get good reviews are:
- crowSPRING. crowSPRING is a traditional crowdsource site for graphic design. It is similar to 99designs with a slightly different model.
- LogoGarden. The special feature of LogoGarden is that it is aimed exclusively at entrepreneurs. They provide standard graphic designs that aspiring entrepreneurs will need, such as logos and business cards.
- Design Observer. This website is mainly for graphic design, but other jobs are also in demand. One of the main advantages of this platform is that job vacancies are instantly listed on other popular graphic design websites.
- Coroflot. It is also strongly aimed at people looking for a more traditional job, as opposed to the self-employed. You can view and search over 2,000 creative company profiles and job listings.
- Behance. It is not exclusively graphic design work, but I have listed them here because that seems to be the main purpose.
While job competition sites are great resources for finding a job, especially when you’re just starting out, don’t underestimate your ability to market yourself and find work through networking. with other professionals. While this may be out of your comfort zone, there is no better way to make connections and gain leads than by attending functions. People like to know who they work with and to be able to put a face to the name. Going alone to these places will allow you to talk to others and meet new people. The next day, send a brief follow-up email saying it’s nice to meet them, but don’t solicit any companies. Make sure to add them to your LinkedIn profile. Graphic designers have an advantage in networking situations because most people understand what a graphic designer is. You don’t need to spend a lot of time explaining what you do as, say, virtual assistants do.
You can also sell your art online. Etsy, Squarespace and Pinterest are great for artists who sell their work. Create several pieces for sale to stretch your capacities and promote your services.
Determining how to create your pricing structure can be complicated and scary at first. You want to maintain a competitive price while making a profit. As a freelance writer, the sky is the limit on how you structure your business, but in general, there are only two different ways of structuring your fees: hourly billing or flat rates.
Hourly billing has the advantage of making you pay for the time you actually work. This works great for those who are not good at estimating the time it will take to complete a project and when unexpected problems arise. When you bill by the hour, you get paid for the exact time you work and you will need some sort of tracking system to determine billable hours.
When billing by the hour, you should always calculate in advance the hours the project will take and present them succinctly in a meaningful way for the client. If you are having problems and it is taking longer, you may need to be able to talk to your client or eat overtime. On the other hand, when you do the work under estimation, it’s always a nice horn to make for your customers.
When working on a fixed rate, you always base project costs on the hourly rate. Ultimately, you determine how much work the project is going to be and how much you want to be paid for it. Even when you charge a flat fee, customers want to know how you calculate the fee anyway. Instead of giving specific details line by line, here are a few things to help you justify your fixed price:
- Approximate time window (example: six to eight hours of work).
- How many sets of comments and revisions will be included?
The danger of a fixed rate is that if you run into a problem and the project goes way beyond what you expected, you could be eating a lot of spending on a project. However, you will get much better estimates as you go. Obviously, when work takes much less time, you can tell the difference.
Many designers use a hybrid pricing metric where they charge a flat fee for the initial part of the project, which could include consultation, research, pre-approvals, etc. Then they charge an hourly rate for the project from that point on. You also have the freedom to flow back and forth between the different pricing options depending on the project and the client. It’s common to charge a “high maintenance fee” for customers who, you know, are genuinely painful.
Establish your rates
It is not uncommon for designers to charge different rates for different types of work. For example, the consultation may charge $ 50 an hour while your conception rate may be $ 100 an hour; more sophisticated types of design like animation can be even higher. You are definitely going to want to do your own research and find out what are the competitive rates for the type of work you want to do in the area you want to do.
That said, I think a safe average of what I see is between $ 75 and $ 150 an hour. This probably means that there are a lot of jobs at $ 25 to $ 50 an hour, then some at $ 300 or more per hour. What is important is to determine what is competitive for you and to make sure that your policy is very clear from the start. Finally, always take a deposit in advance; a 50% deposit is very common.