Posted by: Eric | Posted on: June 18th, 2012 | 0 Comments
As graphic designers, we all do freelancing at some point within our careers. For many designers just starting out, this is how we establish our reputations, build our portfolios, and grow familiar with the conventional ways of doing things in the industry.
We’ve all heard of the benefits of freelancing. You get to be your own boss, choose your own clients, control your work hours, and work from your own home or private office. But of course, starting your own business always comes with its own risks. You never know if the business will succeed, your yearly income will never be stable, and what will you do when work stops coming in?
I would like to address some of the most crucial mistakes made by freelance designers starting out. Unfortunately, since many designers start their practices without any business background knowledge, they lose out in making profit and effectively managing their own businesses. These tips are intended to guide designers that are treading new waters and help them gain insight in doing business with clients.
Here are the most common mistakes freelance designers make:
1) No Written Contract
It is absolutely crucial to form and sign a contract with a client in any given project. Without this written agreement, a designer has nothing backing him/her up should the client refuse to pay up for whatever reason. A contract will help establish the parameters of the job, deadlines, payment, means of communication and much more. This will prevent any problems that may arise if there wasn’t a contract in the first place.
2) Down Payment
Following up on the previous point, a contract must include an agreed down payment that the client pays the designer prior to starting any work on the job. Many new graphic designers neglect to do this and suffer the consequences of spending time working on a project and yet receiving nothing at the end when the client bails out. A down payment will ensure more security for the designer and is a much more fair way to do business.
It is very important to stay in contact with the client, whether it is by email or phone or even meeting up regularly to update them on the status of the project. This helps the client gain trust in you and you will be able to build a better business relationship with them.
Let’s face it. Many designers starting out are desperate for clients. In order to attract more clients, many turn to offering discounts on their work. What they don’t realize though, is that discounts decrease the value of their work and sets a precedent for clients. But more importantly, discounts will affect your profit and your income, especially for those just starting out and struggling to manage a new business. Instead, research on industry standards of how much freelancers charge for their work and go from there. As a designer, the last thing you should do is devalue your work, let alone doing something that will prevent your business from growing.