Being an offsite freelance designer comes with many incentives and rewards. You get to manage your own schedule, select which clients you work with, decide where you work from, so on and so forth. Most experieced freelancers will also advise newbies that these perks can become a minefield if you go in blindly.
However, as you become more experienced freelancing, the next challenge is "How can you shine and stand out from other freelance designers?". Here are some guidelines you should be mindful of.
#1. Get Advanced with File Organization
As a graphic designer, you will possibly have to download hundreds of files for a project and thousands of files every single year. As you move from project to project, there will be files that are sensible to keep and others that can be deleted. The most important thing, so that you can scale, is knowing how to organize your files and folders so that as the number grows, you don't get lost in the sea of folders and files.
Complementing this with a naming system for your files (read more here), helps you quickly find what you are searching for. As long as you structure and name your project folders and sub-folders well, you should have no issues in this department.
#2. Structure More Productive Work Time
Everyone is different. Some people are more creative and intuitive first thing in the morning and others need a few coffees first. Figure out what daily rhythms work best for you. Don't just look at when you start and stop, but also factor in your breaks. For example, you might find it helps you stay creatively focused if you take a short break every 60, 90 or 120 minutes. Yet, the opposite could be true and you might want a bigger break after 3-4 hours instead.
Whatever it is, work out a routine for yourself.
#3. Keep Your Office Space Fresh
Going from clutter to clean can help you feel motivated in your home office. That fresh feeling is what keeps you from subconsciously feeling drained. Alternatively, you can achieve the same by regularly changing your work environment. Work at home one day, outside the next, head back inside and then maybe try a public work spot. You can also give shared desks a try; coworking space creates networking opportunities and keeps you work-focused. Here are some other benefits of coworking spaces for creatives.
#4. Make an Impactful Portfolio
Your versatility as an offsite freelance designer must be shown off through a portfolio that's easy to find. This is even more important for offsite freelancers. This is because you most likely, will not have the opportunity to dazzle your potential clients with your charm in person. Your best bet is to set up a freelancer website that showcases your work. Build your site with a portfolio theme that prominently shows off your best work right on the front page. Grand Portfolio is a good example of a quality portfolio theme.
#5. Promote Your Portfolio Site
Integrate your portfolio site URL into your business card, email footer and anywhere else that makes sense. Attend graphic design and entrepreneur events and pass out your business card to link any new connections to your Facebook or LinkedIn. You are afterall, boss, manager, business development and designer all rolled into one now.
You could go the extra mile too and collaborate with freelancers with complementary capabilities.
#6. Offer Free Work for Attributions
You can become an expert in your field if you are able to collaborate with recognizable brands. The marketing department and creative agencies are more often than not pressed for extra hands. Consider cold calling brands in your preferred niches. Offer to do some work for them on conidition that the work will be attributed to you and that you can use it in your own portfolio.
#7. Become an Industry Specialist
Another tip is to focus on specific industries first. Your portfolio will speak louder to prospective clients in that field. Combined with the tip above, this increases the potential to grow your reputation faster.
I hope you find these tips useful. You can check out some the the great brands we work on the ReFUEL4 Designer Platform and work on those briefs too.