Hi Stephanie. Many good tips here. Make sure you become a member of your local Chamber of Commerce, especially if you live in a smaller town. Be active, volunteer and join a committee. I have gained several clients that found me because they wanted to support local businesses. Key is meeting new people and getting your name out. Referrals are especially great, so ask current clients. Best of luck!
Networking (both offline and online). Linkedin.com and Meetup.com are 2 great online sites for networking. Check out speakers bureaus and chambers of commerce for offline networking opportunities
Share your work through social networks that you're already active, e.g. Facebook - expand on that by getting more active on visual sites like Pinterest.
Monetize with sites like Etsy or connect with folks who can use your designs for products, i.e. promo shop that makes mugs, pens, etc. for local businesses.
Key question - where are *your* ideal customers looking for you? (this implies getting clear on who the are and understanding what they want..)
Find out when your local Chamber of Commerce is holding exhibit shows and offer to give a free talk to participants on setting up a quality table. They'll likely need signs, brochures and the like.
Good Morning Stephanie
There is a company who let's you network through great deals in marketing and promotional work it is call Pungra. With Pungra you can add advertise for free, make deals, swap services and more.
I would check them out if I were you, I advertise on our Radio Network and have made deals and sales from this site. http://www.pungra.com/
Hi Stephanie, I love your site very creative. Gives me a good sense of who you are personally. People are more likely to hire someone they like. I have a quick suggestion. Position your client as a local celebrity, make your work with clients make them feel special thereby by default building yourself an incredible brand & reputation. Give your clients more than just graphics - give them an experience.
1. Create a "Rejuvenate Your Brand Summer Give-Away" - contact local business and media that you are running a local community contest and you are going to re-brand a company - you can choose a non-profit, a start-up, general business or even better select a niche (hair salons, restaurants, service providers etc)
Have all inquiries register on your email list. In the registration process have them answer a few demographics questions and why they got into business for example. Make your selection, do the work and have a "dramatic unveiling" in September. Perhaps a meet and greet at the local winner's business. All summer document the rebrand journey on all social media platforms and build the hype to the unveiling.
In the meantime, you also have a new database of prospects that you can contact with "Although you were not selected as a winner, I love your business so I would like to offer you the same experience at a "deep discounted rate"..." The businesses will feel like they still walk away as winners so they will hire you.
Be sure to get your local media involved! I would suggest selecting a company that has a great backstory - like a much deserving charitable organization. Please PM me if you would like to discuss further.
Wishing you an unlimited ideal buyers who are excited about working with you & willing to pay your fees.
I hope you are well.
I know that a freelance graphic design friend of mine has done very well from going to business networking meetings/groups. As long as you are chatty and prepared to put yourself out there, I'm sure you would get business from this.
You can find freelance writers in your area on LinkedIn and see if they will agree to refer you to their clients or work with you directly when there's a design element to their projects. I'm a freelance writer and can vouch for the fact that I've referred graphic designers who approached me that way.
Hope that helps, and good luck!
Advertise on elance.com, odesk.com or fiver.com
Ask current and past clients for referrals.
Join the mosaicHub Marketplace as someone else mentioned.
Attend networking events to help advertise your services.
Cold call local businesses.
Do free presentations of an hour for business clubs and show the members the advantages and the impact of your work. Make sure to get their emailaddresses.
I would suggest Elance and possibly Fiver. How about teaming up with web designers who may hire freelance graphic designers to complete parts of web design projects such as infographics and other elements as part of the overall marketing efforts for their clients. Other suggestions might be your local KKP franchise or other quick print franchises that may need freelancers to fill in for busy times. Another possibility is your local Small Business Enterprise center if they have an "ask a professional" service for small business, where you can be an 'expert' in graphic design for small business clients.
Charity always works, Stephanie. Showcase your talent by doing pro bono work for your favorite local non-profit work. Many of the area business owners sit on the boards of non-profits, so your work will get exposure for the pubic good as well as for your own good.
Micro-niche and market to the micro-niche. Become the solution provider in that space.
Think about who in your community would hire you as a freelancer, specifically by their job title (Marketing Managers, Directors of Marketing, Art Directors, etc). Find out where they go to network, both online and offline, and start introducing yourself. Targeting by job title is often overlooked. Good luck!
There is also a great network called flexjobs.com that connects freelancers in a lot of disciplines to organizations and businesses with need. It has a fee but is worth it for connecting businesses and talents together.
There are a lot of different ways to go about marketing your services and a lot of great options have already been listed, but I wanted to throw in one more! You should consider adding a deal to mosaicHUB's Marketplace- it's a great way to start generating new leads! If you have any questions on the program, feel free to private message me directly.
As a consumer I have used the DesignCrowd.co.uk twice to good effect. I am not sure what the experience is like for the designer, but I would certainly think of using it again as a consumer.
Do you have a digital portfolio? There are many levels of expertise when it comes to graphic design. What are you best in? What type do you prefer to do?
Graphic design needs are everywhere but you would probably be best off looking for jobs you would be really good at and get some pleasure from.
Working for free can get your foot in the door but can also be a trap as once you work for free, it can be hard for those clients to start paying you for the next job.
Looks of new on-line creative platforms - coCreation. It takes a special kind of person.
Can you send me a link to your portfolio or website?
I feel like in this day and age, a good mix of print and digital marketing will help out big time. I'd definitely try Thumbtack, as it's the only online service that's fairly ethical for both clients and contractors. I've been lucky to find some of bigger clients on there. Aside from that, mail out promotional material, attend meet-ups every now and then, and in the meantime just keep doing awesome work. That'll bring the repeat clients and more referrals. Best of luck!
Steohanie - My quick suggestions are (as I am doing the same):
1. Build your local network and do some work free/nominal price to build your portfolio. Do as varied portfolios as you can. Take diversity to your advantage.
2. Build network with local small and established business. Attend networking forums. Get yourself a nice business card and introduce yourself to the community
3. Get yourself a fab website. Update your portfolio, get into social media and share your work. Try behance.
4. Elance is a good place to seek work and get work. May not make you a millionaire but will give you some grounding.
5. Get a list of local and start-up companies and send your application and your offer. e.g. Startup business package covering all basic elements of design for a start-up company
6. When you have some free time (if any), build a concept portfolio.
Hope this helps. Wish you all the best. Sharad