Monthly Archives: May 2017

How to Guide How Freelancers Can Compete with Large Studio Designs

Let’s face it, being a freelancer is just plain tough. In what other arena is one person responsible for answering the phones, balancing the books, paying the bills, designing the website, creating the graphics, and working with the customers throughout the entire process? Yet, despite our amazing ability to juggle all of these duties, we still face one large barrier. We don’t have that glowing brick building that somehow screams, “We are a successful company!” As a result, it can be difficult to “capture” large clients.

We Have To Beat the Big Guys

Today, freelancers are becoming more and more prevalent. Why not? It is a fantastic job. We set our own hours, we take on only the jobs that we desire, we have artistic freedom, etc. But, the biggest gripe I hear repeated time and time again is the fact that the main client pool consists of people with tiny budgets. You also may want some tips on how to get your first job.

We’ve all done the local work for far less than we would normally charge. We’ve all received the email from the guy that needs an E-Commerce website for $200.” We’ve all had the regrettable experience of taking a job against our better judgment. When our stomachs are screaming, “Don’t accept this job!”, we ignore it and must ultimately deal with the repercussions: the man with the $150 budget for business cards that expects you to work around the clock; the person who promised he would pay you only to suddenly change his mind a week later. Do you know how much the average graphic designer earns?

Quite simply, the small jobs don’t pay the bills. In order to succeed, we have to beat the big guys. Who are the big guys, you ask? I’m talking about the established design firms in those “brick buildings” that do exquisite work. But, how do you stand out when you’re the shortest guy in the room?

What can we offer that they can not?

To truly be content and financially secure as a freelancer, we must be able to grab the large clients. But bottom line, why would a financially stable company go with a freelancer when they can easily choose a more reputable firm? To answer these questions we must look at our strengths.

What can we offer that they can’t? There are a few constants. First, we most likely won’t be able to out-perform a team of designers as far as “chops” are concerned. I believe we can equal that level of quality, but won’t be able to stand out in this respect. Second, we can out-price them, but cost typically isn’t as big an issue with large corporations. So, how do we beat the design firms?

Customer Service

Think to yourself: What is my main gripe, as a consumer, with large companies? My first thought goes to my bank. I called them recently to remove an erroneous error only to be put on hold for thirty minutes. When I finally did speak with a human being, he most likely lived in another country and had little, if any, interest in my situation. They, like many large companies, have terrible customer service! We can use this to our advantage.

Nine times out of ten, a prospective client doesn’t know exactly what he wants. He doesn’t know the jargon or even how to communicate a semblance of what his company desires. This is where we can rise above the larger design firms.

Act As a Guide

It may require a bit more work, but it ultimately gets us the contract. New clients are weary about the entire process. It is foreign to them. If we act as a guide, we can take their hand from beginning to end and provide them with the comfort of knowing that someone is looking out for them every step of the way.

If they have a question, they can directly call us – no receptionists, no programmer that doesn’t know the full details, just one person. In my experience, this has been vital to my success.

I’m a firm believer that customer service is what has gotten me every single big client that I have. There will always be an individual or company that can do the job better. As much as this agitates me, I accept it. To stand out, we must focus on our unique “freelancer” strengths.

Use Deadlines to Your Advantage

What you’ll find, if you haven’t already, is that deadlines are a very real issue with corporate clients. They must have a job completed by a certain date, no questions asked. The only problem is that they very rarely have all their ducks in a row.

They have sudden changes that come from corporate which require immediate revisions. Who is going to make these changes in the middle of the night in time for that presentation Monday morning? They know that the successful Firm X designers won’t be at work until Monday morning. But, Freelancer Y is a single ring away and will be happy to fix it at midnight. Yes, I’m talking about you, fellow freelancers!

How do I personally get big clients?

How do I personally “reel” in a big fish? First, I will work on weekends when the bigger firms are closed. Second, I will give a client my personal number and tell them to call me immediately if they think that they might have a question. Third, I’ll pick up the phone on the first ring – whether that is at two in the afternoon or four in the morning. When a client knows that he can rely on you no matter what, you begin to stand out in a big way! Editors note: First ring is pretty freaky!

I will close with a portion of an email that, just a few weeks ago, secured a very large client’s business.

“I truly hope you’ll consider me. If you have not already heard from other divisions in your organization, I will be personally available to you 24/7. If you need a quick change to the site at 10:00 at night, it’ll be taken care of. If you need me to communicate with your print designer in the very early morning, it will be taken care of. Relieving you of as much stress as possible is my goal – and I always achieve it.” Please don’t hesitate to call me personally if you have any questions. I’ll hope to work with you soon.

The client called me later (without ever being put on hold, I might add) that day and said, “Let’s do it!” Was it my “web chops” that got me the job? Nah, any developer can code a site. My “customer service chops” got me the job.

How Your Portfolio Works in These 5 Simple Steps

Recommended Materials & Equipment

1) Daylight Bulb

The main reason we use a daylight bulb is because it matches the colour temperature of ‘daylight’. This keeps the photo looking natural and balanced, which makes it pleasing to the eye.

2) Desk Lamp

A flexible lamp is needed to control where the light is facing. This allows us to control the types of shadows that we create in our photos.

3) Backdrop Paper

The color of the backdrop paper will dictate the mood and atmosphere of your portfolio piece. Be sure to use a smooth paper instead of textured.

4) DSLR or Point and Shoot Digital Camera

Both types of cameras are great, however a DSLR camera offers more flexibility and functions that will be discussed later. In this post, the camera that I’ll be using is the Canon 1100D. I highly recommend this camera for anyone who doesn’t have much experience in using DSLR cameras. It’s low cost, has tons of functions and as you’ll see later it takes great photos. You can see some some photos that I’ve taken with this camera here.

5) Tripod

A tripod is needed to ensure sharpness in the photo. In this case, I used a Gorillapod, which is highly flexible and easily allows you to take sharp photos while keeping your camera at a low distance.

Where to Sell Your Design Online & How

Art Web

The basic objective of Art Web is to sell art online throughout the world as it works as the central point for both buyers and sellers. In reality it is an ecommerce website that provides opportunity to creative artists and buyers so that they can interact with each other in the form of community. As a result, they can make money from this process.

Bouf

Bouf is an interesting and innovative platform where creative people sell their unique products and designs. This website is selective in a sense that you have to go through an application process and after that you will be able to sell quirky accessories or designs. The main focus of this site is to target the niche market who is interested in buying home and garden stuff.

Click for Art

This website specializes in promoting and selling different art work such as house wares, cushions, canvas prints and others. This platform is quite useful and helpful for those new designers who want to sell their designs for commercial purpose.

Gela Skins

This is a kind of platform that supports art designs suitable for iPods, iPhones, and tablets as well. This website actually helps the independent artists from all around the globe in selling their designs.

Unbound

This website is helpful for those designers who want to publish books about art or graphic design. This is the right platform where you can easily connect with people who will support your ideas and provide funds in order to accomplish your dreams.

Big Cartel

This is a different website as compared to other websites that provide opportunity to sell designs online. On this platform, a designer can build his or her own store and can customize or make changes according to his or her needs. This site also provides tools so that designers can enhance their social networks as well.

Threadless

On this platform, an art work is sold through the help of online voting. During this process, an art work or design is placed on the website and through voting and social networking.

Society 6

Society 6 is also a popular online website that sells art work provided by creative and imaginative people. This website focuses on the provision of cost effective art designs including iPhone cases and T-shirt prints. This site also charges a percentage of products or designs sold by designers but in return provide great value.

Etsy

Etsy is the website that offers it services to different buyers and sellers all over the world. This site actually focuses on the selling and buying of handmade stuff or products to a large extent. This platform also supports vintage products or crafts.

Zazzle

This platform provides the opportunity for creative people who come from different parts of the world. It supports the idea of selling different designs on various products such as T-Shirts, posters, business cards, mugs, and others. This is also helpful for designers as it helps in creating an online store for free.

PixApp

Sell your pics and designs to a global audience. What makes them different is that they distribute 90% of commissions to the sellers/designers, ship worldwide within 3-5 days (unlike any other!) and are completely mobile.

The Right Time To Design

8am – Face Your Fears Time

This is the quietest time for suicide so this is a good time to face your fears – Know that you have a deadline due at 1pm, know that you have 10 other projects to complete, know that your house needs cleaning, bills need paying and know that there is no end to it. Just make sure you know all this by 11 at night as this is suicide o clock.

9am to 10am – Work Time

Time to tackle your work here, these are the most productive hours (for the majority). Even Darren Rowse thinks so.

10am/11am – Chill Out Time

This is the time that most heart attacks occur so it would be good to chill out or have a break at this time. Coffee or morning tea break anyone?

12pm – Sex & Uncluttered Mind Time (If that can go together?)

If you fancy someone in your office or classroom, now is the time to go in for the kill. As James Sniechowski, author of the The New Intimacy explains: “People are more receptive to advances then, because their minds aren’t cluttered with what they have to do that day or what they have to do when they get home.”

Pretty much this is a great time to get your creative juices going as you have an uncluttered mind. You may also want to check out How To Boost Your Creativity.

1pm – Nap Time

The best time to have a power nap is at around 1pm when your body temperature naturally dips. An ideal power nap should last for 15 to 20 minutes.

2pm – No One Can Touch Me Time (FIG JAM)

This is the time that we have the highest pain threshold so it is a good time to ask for a promotion or get that dental filling you were meant to have last month but ‘accidentally’ missed.

3pm/4pm – Strength and Mood Time

Hand and eye coordination is at its peak and mood levels are high during this period so this would be a good time to have a break. Maybe go for a short jog or for the lazy… maybe some Photoshop Tennis.

This is also the time that people are most awake and alert so how about you do that one last proof now before sending your job to the printer. 4pm is also known to be the time in which you are least creative.

5pm – Happy Hour Time

We all know what 5pm means but did you know that your liver metabolises alcohol most efficiently at this time of the afternoon? After work drinks never sounded so good.

8.30pm – Sweet Sweet Food Time

Despite what many people think, eating late will not necessarily make you fat says Nigel Denby of the British Dietetic Association. “A calorie is a calorie whenever you eat it.” Dig in.

10.30pm – Sleep Time

A warm shower helps to make people fall asleep as body temperature needs to fall in order to help us sleep… I don’t think I have ever met a designer who does go to bed at 10.30… 10pm is also known to be the time in which you are most creative.