Getting your name out is the key to finding new client work and growing a following. But the first hurdle to climb over is figuring out how.
Where do you start? Do you need to spend money?
Although there are no “quick-tips” or set paths to getting your name out there, it’s not impossible. In this post I want to share with you the easiest, free way you can self-promote your freelance graphic design career and how to get your name out there.
It all starts with focus
To get your name out as a freelance graphic designer, you need to know two crucial things:
- What work do you want to be known for?
- Who do you want to do work for?
Knowing the “what” and “who” will make your life so much easier! I can’t stress how imperative this is.
Imagine trying to target every person in your country for every type of design service. You won’t know where to start and potential clients won’t know you exist.
Now imagine you want to design book covers for self-published authors. Those keywords alone give you a place to start. You can now look into where you can find those exact clients, but more importantly, how you can appeal to them.
Right now, define the exact work you want to be known for. Even if you’re not 100% certain, having focus now will get you farther than if you continued down the path of uncertainty. The great thing is, you can always shift your focus as you continue to grow. But you’ll grow faster with this focus.
Getting your name out & attracting clients
With your focus, your next move is to put in the time and create work. This can be for paying clients, pro-bono work, or even self-made projects.
Create the work you want to be known for, and start putting it out into the world.
At the very least you’ll need to sign-up for a few social media sites. My go-to platforms as a graphic designer are Twitter, Instagram, Dribbble, and YouTube.
There are countless other social media accounts you could utilize that have their own unique advantages. For example:
- Illustrators and character designers can grow a large following on Tumblr.
- Crafters can generate some serious traffic from Pinterest.
- SnapChat is a great way to show behind the scenes.
- And if you have no time to build a blog – use Medium.
Utilizing other platforms for everything isn’t ideal. You should strive to build your own website and platform for people to visit – but they’re there to help you get your freelance business off the ground.
Let me give you an example of how I put my social media accounts to use: As a freelance graphic designer I specialize in t-shirt design, so I’ve focused my entire website around it. The first words you see when landing on my website, “T-Shirt Design…”
I talk about t-shirt design on my blog, I tweet about it, I produce videos around it, I make products for it, and I post my design work to Instagram and Dribbble.
With your focus, don’t just show, but tell.
When I upload new artwork to Instagram, I don’t simply press the share button to Twitter. I’ll take the photo itself, upload it natively to Twitter and add the Instagram link pointing back to it.
Same goes for my videos. I don’t simply click the “tweet” button on YouTube. When I share a new video I’ll upload the thumbnail image too – giving something visual to catch the eye in the noisy feed.
Sharing quality imagery and thoughtfully written captions with your posts to social media can go a long way.
I’ve gone all in one this one thing. My goal is when someone thinks, “I need a t-shirt designed”, they think, “Brent Galloway”. And the same applies to Google! I want Google to think of me for what I want to be known for. That’s the goal, right?!
This type of output mixed in with patience lands me work.
Then it becomes a cyclical process of creating and sharing. When I complete work, I share that work. I write case studies, I share the artwork on Instagram and Dribbble, I share those pieces of content on Twitter, and this self-promoting is what helps land even more work.
Create. Share. Repeat.
I know, all of this is easier said than done, but if it were easy, everyone would be doing it and succeeding.
The graphic design industry requires a lot of patience and your mindset should be on wanting to create more.
If it helps, take a look at those you look up to and see how they’re promoting themselves. What social accounts do they use? The more you observe, the more you can learn what to experiment with. And with time, you’ll figure out what works best for you.
How is this the easiest way to self-promote?
Let’s be real. There is no “easy” way to self-promote your freelance business. It’s going to be hard work – no doubt about that.
However, this cyclical process of creating and sharing does’t take anything but what you’ve already created (the work) and time.
You don’t need to invest in Facebook ads or search through those terrible job sites for work. Just create and put it out there. It’s the best way to make a name for yourself and like the title says, the easiest way to promote what you do.
How do you promote your work?
There are countless ways you can promote your freelance career and many platforms to help you do it.
Add to this post and share your favorite techniques. What platforms do you use and how do you use them?