5 Mistakes Freelance Graphic Designers Make During Start-up

Avoid mistakes when becoming a freelance graphic designerEvan Fischer is a contributing writer for The Web Shoppe –Fargo Graphic Design, handling all of your website design, marketing, and content management needs.

The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of FreelanceCopywritersBlog.com. If you are interested in producing a Guest Post for this blog, please get in touch with your ideas.

If you haven’t worked in the freelance marketplace before, you are probably excited by the many benefits of leaving the office and the 9-5 behind.  No more morning commute, micro-managing supervisors looking over your shoulder, or noisy co-workers disrupting your workflow.  And you can decorate and paint your home office any color you like rather than spending all day staring at a mind-numbing sea of gray cubicles!

So far, so good.

But it’s not all wine and roses.  You are now managing your own business (by yourself), and that means you have to wear a lot of hats in order to keep the operation running smoothly.  The enterprise fails or succeeds solely because of you.  So here are just a few common mistakes that many in your position make and how you can avoid them.

1. Not treating it like a “real” job

As a freelancer you have the freedom to set your own hours, pick and choose the jobs you take, and virtually be your own boss.  But if you get in the habit of waking at the crack of noon, working a couple of hours, and then taking a siesta before showering up to go clubbing with your friends all night, well, you’re not really doing all you can to make your business venture a success.

So set work hours for yourself and stick to them!  And when you’re not working on a project, find ways to self-promote and bring in new clients.  There’s always work to be done when you’re self-employed.

2. Foregoing contracts

The other name for freelancer is contractor, which implies that you need a contract in order to do work and get paid for it.  Without this basic document trading services for payment, you have no legal leg to stand on should clients decide they simply don’t want to pay you (for whatever reason).  So draw up a basic contract (use templates online or seek legal services).  Even a comprehensive purchase order will do.  And consider demanding half of your payment up front; if clients make you chase them for the balance, at least you have a partial payment.

3. Overspending

It’s tempting to blow your start-up funds on the latest equipment and software, but it’s better to stick to what you know when you’re first starting out.  There will be plenty of time and money later on to expand your setup and your repertoire, but until you have steady work it pays to save every penny.

4. Ending education

Just because you have a couple of loyal patrons, that doesn’t mean you can afford to rest on your laurels.  You need to continue to offer current and prospective clients the best possible services if you want to remain competitive, and that means staying on top of industry trends by learning new programs and techniques.

5. Plagiarism

Most people never intend to plagiarize the work of others, but the internet seems to foster an environment of “borrowing” that really crosses the fine line between inspiration and outright stealing.  So just be cognizant of the fact that if something you create looks too similar to a popular design that’s already out there, you could end up with embarrassed clients, angry competitors, and even a lawsuit on your hands.

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1 comment so far ↓

#1 Alex on 06.18.14 at 10:35 am

I was looking for tips for freelance Makeup Artists and discovered your post. I realized pretty much everything (maybe not #5) you wrote is applicable for Makeup Artists as well. I think forgetting the contracts and ending education are the biggest points. Thanks for the post!

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