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One of the many skills you’re learning in Pickens Technical College’s Graphic Design program is how to be a successful freelance graphic designer. Once you’ve learned the skills you’ll need to be a professional, you have the opportunity to build your own portfolio as a freelancer, learn how to find and maintain clients, and practice building your branding scheme.

But freelancing is changing all the time. With most employers finding plenty of graphic designers in today’s job market, but few that meet their qualifications or preferences, you have to stand out to land the client. With new technology requiring new skills and new ways to promote yourself as a freelancer, there are new challenges and opportunities for a graphic designer to make a living and even thrive freelancing. How do you get started in the real marketplace when you’ve graduated from Pickens’ Graphic Design program?

Before You Go Pro, Build Your Brand

This is something you can start to do now, while you’re still in Pickens’ Graphic Design program. Building your social media presence should be taken seriously and given some serious consideration and time. The first step is creating your own website where you can post your past work and make it easy for potential clients to find you. You’ll learn about how to do this in class.

Once you have your own link, you can start promoting it. For many freelancers in almost any creative market, inbound traffic clicks on your website from other sites is a major money-maker. Pay for social media ads to get your link in front of as many eyeballs as possible, even if you’re just starting out. Showcase your school projects to potential clients so you can hit the ground running.

Don’t Stop Learning

You probably already grasp the importance of being a continuous learner, but in the freelancing game, learning new skills adds value to your brand. As a graphic designer, having some writing chops could come in handy when designing advertisements for infographics. Knowing some programming skills might be useful if you’re working on a digital design project for a client.

It’s important to specialize, to find that niche that you can develop your skill in that will keep you paid, but if you focus on a few outlying skills that might help you in your day-to-day life, you’re adding value to your services.

Promote When You Can, Search When You Have To

It might not be clear to you yet, but a large part of your time as a graphic designer freelancer will be spent looking for clients and work. For most freelancers in the creative industry, this can be done in a couple of ways. First, make sure clients that need things done can find you at all is huge (see above). But, especially when you’re first starting out, you’ll need to actively search for clients. The key is knowing where to look. This can depend on where you live. Online classifieds like Craigslist can have a ton of contract-based, freelance opportunities. You can also look into websites that match freelancers with clients like UpWork.

Freelancing in 2019

Technology is marching forward. If you can take advantage of new marketing methods and platforms, you’ll be ahead of the game.