New Year, New Side Hustle. Simple Steps to Start a Side Hustle as a Freelance Graphic Designer
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Alright, you have been thinking about starting to freelance but you never got the courage to quit your boring or stressful job. This article is for you, especially if you have some experience as a graphic designer, illustrator or an artist. 

I think you should start by doing this in your free time and later you can figure out if you want to go full time. 

Here are some of the steps you can take right now.  

Step 1- specialize in something

When I say specialize I mean, find something that you enjoy creating. You might be doing a little bit of everything at your current job but trust me, the real world is looking up for experts in their field. Another reason to specialize is because professionals who are specialized are paid more than a jack of all trades.

For instance I really enjoyed working with data so I decided to specialize in infographic design and data visualization.

This year I am changing up my gear a tiny bit. I decide to design assets for bloggers because I am already running my own blog, so it only comes in handy. Don’t worry, you will find many infographics on my blog. I only offered infographic design and I focused on learning everything it is to know about infographics and data visualization.

Here are a few ideas for what you can choose to specialize in: social media designer, branding designer, web designer, wedding designer, editorial designer, annual report designer, presentation designer.

step 2-brand yourself  

You have no idea how important is for a graphic designer to have a clear brand. We all know that we always put clients first and ignore how we actually present to the world.  

So, my advice to you is to take the time and find a colour scheme that represent you, create a professional logo, present your work in a very visual way and spend time creating your website. 

Your branding is a clear example of your level of professionalism and style. This is how my official portfolio looks like- www.cotici.com. I would love your feedback.

step 3- think about creating a passive income

I wish I thought about how to create a stream of passive income 5 years ago...

Good news. It is never too late!

The best way to find the passive income that works for you is finding what you are passionate about.

If you create amazing illustrations then put them on a t-shirt, if you are a pattern designer sell the patterns on creative market, you do social media design, sell templates…

The reason I am suggesting this is because as a freelancer, you will have feast and famine periods and you need to supplement the famine periods somehow.

Step 4- start a blog

It might sound silly but start a blog now…

Even when you have very little experience and everything seems like a failure, you can learn from it and share your insights on how you fixed it. 

Write about your experience. I have a theory and I think it is true. If you have a problem, google it! Someone, somewhere had the same issue and they most likely found a solution.  

Write articles about things you learn, things you already know and things you would like to know.

Step 5- learn by watching tutorials

I used to really like Lynda.com but now I prefer Skillshare or Udemy, or even learning directly from someone’s blog. The reason for that is simply because after a while, I ended up watching all the videos related to Infographics and I didn’t find any more value.

I’m sorry to tell you, but you never stop learning in the graphic design business.

I am gonna tell you why..

  • because design trends are changing

  • because there is always a new tool or technology- see Artificial Intelligence

  • because the colour of the year in graphic design is different every year

  • or maybe simply because you decide to change your design style

Before you jump into a full time freelancing career I suggest you do a few things to prepare for it.

Graphic design is not easy and it is not for everyone. There is also so much competition that it might scare you into jumping into it.

BUT…it is also an amazing career that allows you to be creative and solve problems visually…

Do you want more tips about how to communicate with your clients online, especially if you are on Upwork, check out my e-book on this matter.