How to Find Work as a Freelance Graphic Designer (Quick Guide)

As a graphic designer, you have endless opportunities for businesses that you can work for and industries that you can work in. It can be tempting to escape the rat race and become your own boss as a freelancer.  However, you may be working “how can I find work as a freelance graphic designer?”

Success doesn’t happen overnight, but it is possible to find work as a freelance graphic designer.  The first step to finding graphic design work is building an awesome portfolio that shows potential clients the awesome work that you can do.  Once your portfolio is complete you can move on to networking both in-person and online and applying for jobs with potential clients on the freelance graphic design job boards. 

Read on to learn more about how to find work as a freelance graphic designer. 

How to Find Work as a Freelance Graphic Designer

How to find work as a freelance graphic designer by networking

Build Your Freelance Design Portfolio

One of the most important steps that you can take on your journey to becoming a freelance graphic designer is to build your portfolio.  A good portfolio can make or break your chances of getting a job and will often be the deciding factor on if a client will consider hiring you or not.  

A portfolio is your opportunity to showcase your best work.  It also allows you to showcase the range of work that you can offer.  For example, you can show images of logos you have designed or web pages that you have designed.  The sky is the limit.  You want clients to ideally be aware of who they are potentially hiring and all that you can offer them. 

If you are not satisfied with any of your past work, leave it out of your portfolio.  In graphic design, there are times where you have to do what the client wants and not what you think is best; however, you want your portfolio to show who you are as a designer and to showcase your own personal brand.  

In the past, many graphic designers created paper portfolios; however, it is much more prevalent now to create virtual portfolios.  These virtual portfolios are advantageous because you can add links to your resume and create forms for potential clients to contact you if they come across your work online. 

If you have the skills, you could create your portfolio website yourself or you could use a website service to showcase your work. 

Network as a Freelance Graphic Designer

Once you have your portfolio completed, it is well worth it to go out and network to find freelance graphic design jobs.  As a freelancer, you are not tied down to just one employer which can be both a positive and a negative.  Instead, you may be working with several different clients at once. 

The biggest disadvantage of freelancing is that you do always have to be on the lookout for new work.  One of the best ways to acquire new work is through networking.  

You can certainly start networking within your own network of people that you know both personally and professionally and see if anyone needs any graphic design work.  However, you will most likely need to eventually expand your network beyond people that you already know.  Good places to network as a freelancer in person include co-working spaces and industry events.  You can also find opportunities to network online through websites like Meetup or The Design Kids which organizes monthly meetups in some cities. 

However, you don’t have to restrict your networking to in-person events.  You can also network and market yourself virtually as a graphic designer through things like:

  • Starting your own blog-Starting your own blog allows you to build your brand awareness and trust among potential customers.  It also can allow other people to discover your work through organic SEO and potentially hire you if they are impressed. 
  • Social media networks-Social media networks like Facebook can also be useful marketing tools.  You can create your own page and promote your own brand as a graphic designer so that potential new customers can hire you.  
  • LinkedIn-LinkedIn is first and foremost a business network.  You can use it to showcase and share your work with a network of business professionals. 
  • Dribbble – Dribbble is an online creative community that is popular with designers.  You can discover the work of other designers and participate in workshops.

Peruse Freelance Graphic Design Job Sites

As a freelancer, your main avenue for finding jobs as a graphic designer beyond networking is going to be online job boards.  Luckily, there are several of these freelance job websites that you can use to find jobs as a freelance graphic designer.  

These websites where you can find graphic design freelance work online include:

  • Upwork -Upwork is a popular website that connects businesses with freelancers in a variety of industries.  You can use Upwork to apply for jobs or to post projects that potential clients can buy.  
  • Fiverr-Fiverr also allows you to create your own profile and to create “Gigs” that potential clients can buy.  Contrary to the website’s name, you can charge much more than $5 if your work is worth it.  You can also offer add-on services depending on what services you wish to offer potential clients.  
  • Dribbble-Dribbble is a website for creative professionals. There are job boards aimed at designers looking for permanent work as well as a job board exclusively for freelancers looking for freelance work (note: this does require you to sign up for a pro membership).  
  • The Design Kids-The Design Kids website has a job board as well as provides excellent opportunities for designers to network. 
  • Authentic Jobs-Authentic Jobs is also an online job board that lets you see job postings for freelance design online. 

Can you work from home as a freelance graphic designer?

One of the biggest perks of being a freelancer is that you can work where you want, how you want, and how much you want.  This is true for freelance graphic designers as well and is one of the biggest perks of the job.  

As a freelancer, you are responsible for managing your own schedule, communication, and productivity.  You will need to have the will as well as the means to do so from home, but it is certainly possible to work from home as a graphic designer if that is your goal. 

With that being said, it is certainly possible that some freelance jobs may require you to go on-site, but many will not.  Many graphic design freelancers will work on short-term or one-off projects which is an ideal fit for flexibility.  This also means that if you do happen to accept a job that requires you to be on-site temporarily, it will likely not be as long-term of a commitment as a more traditional job would be.  

The Bottom Line

If you are asking yourself “how can I find work as a freelance graphic designer,” the answer is that it takes time and effort.  However, it can be done with a good portfolio, networking, and applying for freelance jobs online.  In the end, the effort will be well worth it to be your own boss and be in control of your own schedule. 

Quick start guide to Freelance Graphic Design Do you want to be a freelance graphic designer? Freelance Graphic Design Quick Guide