Now is the perfect time to think about what you want to accomplish and set specific goals for the coming year. If you’re a freelancer or independent designer, there are many different ways you could grow your business and reach your goals.
Of course, as a small business owner, you’re incredibly busy, so you don’t have unlimited hours and energy to focus on growth. Thankfully, there are some simple things you can implement quickly that will have a significant impact on the potential of your business.
Check out these tips you can start working on right away to land more clients or make more money.
Related: How to Land Your First Freelance Design Gig
1. Offer Add-On Services
Making more money from existing clients is easier than finding new clients. The best way to do this is to offer additional services. Expand on your core services and find other related services that would benefit your clients.
There are many other services you can offer that go along with what you already do. Graphic designers usually offer services for designing logos, websites, brochures, flyers, business cards, product packaging, product labels, social media images, and more. Additionally, based on your skillset and experience, you may want to expand to offer services like video production, photography, social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), website maintenance, email marketing, and copywriting.
It’s possible that you already offer some of these services, but your clients may not know about everything you can do for them. Be sure that your website has a complete list of the specific services you offer. Other marketing materials like brochures should also be as comprehensive as possible.
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As you’re talking to potential clients and working to secure a contract, you may also have success by suggesting add-on services or packages of multiple services that you think would be a good fit for the client.
You can also occasionally check in with past clients to remind them about the range of services you offer and see if they have any need for your assistance.
2. Level Up Your Tools
Efficiency is critical for success as a freelancer or independent designer. Having access to the right tools can make a huge difference in what you’re able to accomplish with the time you have available.
Here at Vecteezy, we’re committed to helping designers and creative professionals by providing high-quality resources like stock photos, stock videos, and vectors. With a Vecteezy Pro subscription, you’ll get unlimited downloads of creative assets that can be used in your client projects. Whether you need icons, patterns, illustrations, social media templates, photos, or video footage (and much more), you’re sure to save countless hours while producing beautiful designs for your clients.
3. Focus on Ongoing Services
If you’re an independent designer or freelancer, you can grow your business by offering more ongoing services (or converting your existing services into ongoing packages). There are many benefits to providing services that clients regularly pay for, including a steady income and less time spent marketing your business.
One example of an ongoing service is creating new designs regularly. If your client needs new social media graphics each week, you could offer a package that will provide a certain number of images or a specific number of hours worked each week/month. This type of service can be a win-win for you and the client. The client has a constant need for high-quality images and you’ll benefit from a more stable and predictable income.
Other services like website maintenance, web hosting, and designing marketing materials could be a good fit for an ongoing plan or package.
You won’t need to constantly find new clients if you have ongoing work. As a result, you’ll be able to spend more time doing the work that actually brings in the money, and less time looking for work.
Related: How to Scale Your Graphic Design Business
4. Build Your Network
Word of mouth is the best way to land new clients, so your professional network is critical to your success. Set aside time for networking, both online and in-person. Focus on the quality of your connections more than the quantity.
People within your network will be more likely to hire you if they need design services. Additionally, they’ll be more likely to refer others to you. It can be helpful to partner with other designers who offer complementary services. You can refer clients to each other based on your own strengths and areas of expertise.
Build relationships, both inside and outside your company’s industry. Networking with small business owners and other professionals is just as important as connecting with others in the design industry.
To build your network, you could join a local organization like a Chamber of Commerce or attend local events. In-person networking is often overlooked in favor of online networking, but face-to-face meetings and connections are extremely valuable. Many local networking events cost nothing, aside from your time, and they provide outstanding opportunities to grow your network.
5. Improve Your Portfolio
Your portfolio is one of the most powerful tools when looking for more clients and opportunities. Hopefully, you already have a portfolio website. But most designers rarely take the time to update their portfolio.
Your portfolio should be your best representation of your work. If it’s not up to date, you could be missing out on opportunities and losing potential clients. Take the time to update your portfolio with any projects completed over the last year and add anything that will stand out or show off a skill you want to highlight.
Improving your portfolio may also involve removing old work samples that no longer represent the best you’re able to do. If a project in your portfolio is outdated or simply not up to your current standards, remove it.
6. Add Case Studies to Your Website
Potential clients like to see your work, but they love to see the real-world results you’ve produced. Add case studies to your website to show the results you’ve accomplished, and use numbers and stats whenever possible.
Case studies make it easier for potential clients to see how you can solve their problems. They also focus on the impact of your work, rather than just focusing on the work itself.
Once published, share the case studies throughout your network and social media profiles. This makes it easier to generate new leads and find new clients who may need design services in the future.
Summarize your case studies in a visually engaging format like an infographic for the best results. These are easier to share on social media and they’re effective at grabbing attention.
7. Master a Social Media Platform
Social media is ideal for getting exposure, but you won’t have the time to be active on every social network. Choose one platform and devote your energy and efforts toward mastering that platform.
The platform you choose should be the one that your target audience is most active on. For instance, if you’re targeting small business owners or entrepreneurs, LinkedIn could be a good option for you.
Once you’ve chosen your platform, make sure to share relevant content daily. It doesn’t necessarily need to be only links to your own work. Sharing tips and tricks based on your professional experience can be just as valuable. Look for opportunities to collaborate by sharing other people’s content, commenting on posts, or posting your own updates with links back to helpful resources or blog posts you’ve written.
Some social platforms, especially Facebook and LinkedIn, offer powerful opportunities through groups. Search for groups related to your industry and join in the conversation.
Final Thoughts on Growing Your Design Business
There are many different ways to build and grow your business, but not all of them will produce the same results, and some will require more of your time than others. We’ve created this list of tips with practicality in mind. All of these things can be implemented without dedicating countless hours, and they all give you the potential to get outstanding returns for your effort. Take a look at your current situation and see which tips may help you the most. With the right approach, you’ll see your design business reach new heights by the end of the year.