Here are 10 very interesting and useful tips for freelance designers. They are somewhat harsh and provocative.
Many may seem too categorical. Therefore, I want to remind that this is just one opinion. You should not try on all the advice blindly. Look for in these tips what is suitable only for you. Personally for me, the most relevant and valuable advice is about the adequate market assessment of your own services and the need for specificity in communicating with the client. But, at the same time, the advice to always meet customer expectations still confuses me in some way. And the advice about the scheme 24/7 is in conflict with the irregularity of orders and freelance work in general. Nevertheless, the rationality of advice, all the same prevails. So read and digest.
1/ Do not attribute nonexistent virtues
At a time when you have the opportunity to get a prospective client, it’s very tempting to present yourself in a better light than it really is, and give themselves a couple of imaginary advantages. For example, adding a few years to your design experience or promising a cosmic turnaround time. In the end, your little lie will do you far more harm than good. So, be honest about what you really do well.
2/ Don’t underestimate or overestimate yourself
When pricing your services, you have to be very careful about your pricing. It’s a good idea to do some preliminary research. You can ask your friends or colleagues, and from potential customers, too, you can try to find out. Because if the price is overstated, they will choose your competitors, and if understated, it’s not profitable for you, and clients may feel that this is not quite professional.
3/ Do not think that you know best in design
Perhaps the most common mistake a freelance designer. Even if you have done a dozen large and really worthwhile projects – it’s still not a reason to get cocky and build a design guru. It’s important to keep your mind open. This means the ability to listen to constructive criticism, objectively assess yourself and your merits, and the ability to self-development.
4/ Avoid inaccuracies and lack of specificity
Many things can go wrong because they were not agreed on time with the client. You should always be clear about deadlines, your salary and what the customer wants from you. All important things should be agreed upon and negotiated with the customer. That said, it’s best to stay in constant communication with the customer during the process so that potential misunderstandings can be adjusted before, not after.
5/ Don’t deceive the client’s expectations
The biggest frustration for a designer is to make the client something that is completely inconsistent with their expectations and notions of what they wanted from you. If the client wanted a green horse, draw him a green horse. If it’s too bad, the client will agree to change the color himself. And to insure yourself against such excesses, follow the previous advice and check with the client more often.
6/ Do not frustrate the timing of orders
Violating a deadline does not necessarily mean the failure of the project. But it’s in your best interest to plan quite clearly. Also, you should not agree to too tight deadlines. Think twice before you set a date of delivery to the client. Plus it is desirable to add a day or two just in case. Also remember that the client will always prefer to wait a little time than to get an unfinished project. If you do it a little earlier than the deadline – let it be a surprise to the customer.
7/ Don’t work on a 24/7 scheme
Plan time for rest. A lot of novice designers dial a bunch of orders and then find themselves under the pressure of impossible commitments and excessive loads. After that, some are no longer able to work properly for a few days, and even weeks. Moreover, it is very important to pay attention to other aspects of your life besides work. In the end, proper rest always has a positive effect on the quality of work.
8/ Make no mistake about freelance work
Many people think that being a freelancer is something very easy and relaxing. That it doesn’t require much work at all, that you can work as much as you want and when you want. There is some truth to this. However, it is not a resort. In order to succeed, you have to work hard, be disciplined, and sometimes make sacrifices.
9/ Don’t be too hard on yourself
At the same time, don’t be too hard on yourself. Of course, sometimes you have to work more than you would like to, but you also have to make time for yourself and for your rest. It is also important to feel satisfaction from work and confidence in your own abilities, and then a good mood and good spirits will be the reward for a job well done.
10/ Do not confuse professional and friendly relations
This is a very delicate point. When entering into a new relationship with people, it is important to remain professional at all times. You shouldn’t talk to a client about another client, you shouldn’t mix work and relaxation. Otherwise, you might find yourself drawn into a very difficult relationship, which will eventually drag you down. It is important to very clearly distinguish the customer-consumer relationship from the friendly relationship. Although, it is quite possible that one of the clients will become your friend.