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How to Make a Living as a Freelance Graphic Designer


There are two paths to take when working as a freelance graphic designer. You can hold yourself out as a graphic design business or as a freelancer. The two approaches require different steps to get started and find work, but there are some areas where they overlap. Which path you choose if up to you and your personal circumstances. If you're an entrepreneur at heart, you'll want to launch your own business if possible.

Getting Clients

As a business owner, you can still search through freelance graphic designer jobs to find work. It's a valid way to land clients, because you can ask them for more business when the work is done. You can also fund your business with freelance jobs initially and then transition into running your business without them. While searching and applying for jobs, you should also contact small business owners and individuals about the services you offer. Cold-calling, emailing, sending postcards and other direct mail strategies will put you in front of potential customers who may be in need of your services. Before you contact anyone, make sure you have your portfolio ready to show.

Online Portfolio

Building an online portfolio is key to finding work as a freelance graphic designer. It's easy for employers and prospective clients to view your work online. You'll save a lot of money in printing and mailing costs as well. Your portfolio will help open doors, or shut them fast, so make sure to get it right. You should hire a professional web developer to help you, if you're unable to put your work online in a way that looks professional. Your work may be great, but if the technology is off on the website or blog, people may lose interest. Choose your best work to display, and write brief descriptions and any client testimonials related to the work. Include links to where your work is published online, to establish your credibility more.


Online marketing, including social media marketing, is the best way to market yourself as a freelance graphic designer for cheap. Ways in which you can market yourself online include:

  • Write articles on graphic design problems and solutions for small business owners and post them to your website
  • Offer webinars on graphic design basics and use the registration forms to build your email subscriber list
  • Teach online classes at established universities and correspondence courses to establish yourself as an industry leader
  • Use pay-per-click advertising on a limited basis
  • Advertise on blogs and websites that attract your target market
  • Upload free graphics for business owners and others to download, and use search engine optimization and social media marketing to draw a crowd to download them
  • Hire a freelancer to write an ebook, or write one yourself for your target market, and include some of your work

Your competitors are online, and you have to work hard to rank higher in search engine results. A successful freelance graphic designer makes a living by excelling at customer satisfaction. Re-do work if you have to until the customer is happy, unless they are being unreasonable about their requests. They'll do more business with you, and send others your way.

Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.

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