Independent professionals can use many effective strategies to find freelance design work. Numerous projects can be found by using several methods that offer contract jobs. By expanding your reach, it is possible to find work that can lead to lucrative referrals and repeat clients.
1. Use Social Networking
Social networking websites such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Xing and Twitter can be great resources for finding freelance design opportunities. These free sites are used by countless professionals to connect with people who have common interests and goals. By joining pertinent groups associated with the top social networking sites, you can often receive business referrals and initiate inquiries about your new business contact's professional needs. You can also explore online blogs, communities, forums and message boards for freelance design work. The more active you become in the design community, the better your chances at finding new and lasting contracts.
2. Visit Top Freelance Design Websites
There are many websites that offer listings to bid on contracts for freelance design work. Some of the top websites include:
- Guru.com, with over 400,000 registered users, that has short term offsite and onsite work
- elance.com for small to large projects
- ComputerJobs.com for longer term contracts with some of the larger corporations
Create profiles on the top websites for the best visibility. Many websites are set up so that you may also be approached by potential clients in need of your services.
3. Join Professional Associations
Professional associations can be one of the best career development tools available, because these are organizations covering virtually every field imaginable in every industry. Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce also, which offers many resources for small business professionals of all types. Your local Chamber will offer many opportunities to network where you may find valuable information that is applicable to any business professional. Your local librarian usually has local resource and contact information for the business community in your region.
4. Network in Your Region
Attend local business events in your region. It doesn't matter which business, since every opportunity to network is a chance to distribute printed materials advertising your services. Use printed business cards, flyers and brochures and keep them ready at all times to give out at appropriate events. Leave materials at places that may need a designer for your particular niche market.
5. Follow-Up on Leads
When you attend events, obtain and exchange as many business cards as possible. Discuss with people you meet how your work may enhance theirs. Leave printed materials wherever it may be appropriate. After each event, go over the cards for the people that you encountered. Categorize them according to the business they represent for future reference. Make a list to keep updated so that when you have a mailing ready, you can easily send out your materials. Follow-up with each person you meet with a short email. When you find out about other events that may be of interest to them, send them emails notifying them. By offering valuable information to people, you will be remembered as a good resource. This can also lead to more lucrative work in the future.