No one ever said freelancing is easy. Freelance designers enjoy an independent and fulfilling lifestyle that few people can imagine. However, all this freedom comes with a high level of responsibility and a daily barrage of challenges.
To deal with these challenges, it helps that a freelance designer has these six essential traits. Some might come naturally, while others can be learned over time, but all of them help you have a long and successful freelance-design career...
6 Traits for a Successful Freelance Designer
Discipline: It’s extremely difficult to maintain a productive and successful freelancing design career if you’re not disciplined. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to bet up at 4:30 every morning and maintain a rigid schedule, but it does mean you have to treat your career like a real business.
That means meeting all deadlines, communicating with clients, avoiding procrastination, and having the discipline to look for new work even when you’re busy.
Reliable: This really ties into the discipline trait, but clients want reliable designers. They want to know about the status of their project and the timeframe for completion. They want reassurance that the design is moving forward and the deadlines will be met. Most of all, they want the work actually delivered on time. Maintain reliability, and you are sure to have a productive, successful freelance design career.
Inquisitive: Great designers are inherently curious and inquisitive. You have to not only have a curiosity about art and design principles, but you need a curiosity for the latest trends in graphic design, software, style changes, and industry news. A curious, inquisitive designer will be more equipped to stay at the head of the industry.
Decisive: It’s hard to maintain consistent success if you’re not decisive. One of the hardest parts for a graphics designer is to know when the project is complete. A little touch here, maybe a slight revision there, widen this line, deepen this shade...you could go on for days and never actually finish the project.
You can’t second guess yourself too much. The faster you make decisions, the faster you’ll move through a project. This results in quicker money and the ability to take on more clients. Never neglect quality, but be decisive when the project is complete.
Persuasive: You may have entered professional design because you love art and software. But if you’re a freelancer, you’re also in the sales business.
Understand your strongest selling points and use these persuasively to win clients. It may be total years of experience, commitment to service, or inherent knack for design, but make sure you can be persuasive and don’t be afraid to sell yourself.
Resilient: You’ll be passed up for work. You’ll have times when, after days of brain-busting labor, the client rejects your design. You’ll come across weeks or even months when quality jobs seem as rare as doe doe birds.
If you’re going to make it as a freelance designer, you’ll need a resilient trait. You must work through these slow times, frustrations, and challenges and keep moving forward. After all, the next job may be a click away...
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Want to expand your design career? Join Designity and you’ll have the chance to connect with top-quality clients who need your expertise. Whether you are just starting a freelance designer career or have decades of experience, you’ll find engaging projects to keep you busy.