How fo you know when you’re ready to freelance, and how do you win over those initial clients?


  • Best tips:
    - be honest - you’re small but you have advantages others do not.
    - qW we
  • Hello Tahiera,

    Those are great questions.

    I’d say that there are two elements to know when you are ready for freelancing.
    1) Your level of self-confidence.
    2) Your level of competence which is your ability to get the job done successfully.

    The first one is subjective based on your beliefs and the second is objective based on your skills. When they combine for you then you are ready. Having said that there is never a perfect moment. You can start with small jobs to build your confidence up.

    Also there are quite a few factors apart from work that you will have to understand while freelancing. I’ll give a few here.

    • Getting written agreements in place (fees, timelines, revisions, etc.)
    • Communicating with clients regularly
    • Managing your time and deadlines
    • Multi-tasking various projects
    • Paying taxes and not spending all of your money
    • Agreeing payment terms to help your cashflow
    • Chasing clients for payment if they are late
    • Not giving away your intellectual property

    Winning over clients is easy when you have a great reputation in the market and you will know if that happens if clients are regularly coming to you and are willing to pay what you charge.

    Most designers are not in the that position so another way is to build your reputation and brand so that you get to the level where business comes to you.

    While you are building your reputation you should then need to reach out to companies/potential clients and I’ll give some tips for doing that here.

    • Initially you may need freelance design experience, so approach people in your immediate circle, friends, family, small local businesses to get some work for your portfolio. Play with your prices, offer discounts and bundles to get your foot in the door.

    • Look internally at what you could offer a company, are you especially strong with concepts? technical skills? communication skills? software knowledge? - make sure that you show your best qualities when approaching new companies.

    • Spend time to research the companies that you would like to work for, make a list and find a way to make a connection with each company. No company appreciates being ‘spammed’ by a person who has not taken the time to find out what the company does, find out the names and roles of key people, call, email, and go the extra mile, remember that winners will do things that failures do not like doing.

    • Create a killer portfolio and show only your best work, even if it means that you will only have a few great projects. That is better than having 30 mediocre projects.

    • Even if you do not have any much commercial experience, then you should at least have a couple of projects that look amazing for clients as (concept projects) that attempt to revisit or enhance the designs for some of your fave companies.

    • Ask yourself how can I add to what a company is already doing? a number of organisations want to tap into what young people are thinking on certain issues and if you can show something that others have overlooked then you can demonstrate value that way.

    • Utilise social media (Behance, Instagram, TikTok, Pintrest, LinkedIn, etc.) - upload projects and get feedback on them, and constantly improve and you will begin to get a feel for what is popular. Respond to positive comments because you never know who a potential client could be, even if you only have a small number of followers or connections.

    • Follow companies that you like on social media, interact with their posts and when they post opportunities you will already be known to them. Sometimes getting a job has more to do with being ‘liked’ by the company than being the best… maybe it shouldn’t be that way but that is how many companies work.

    • The truth is that if you want it enough then you will find ways to make it happen, and you will not be stopped.

    Good luck and if you need any more help then give me a shout.
  • Hello I’m Mehmet
    I am a freelance graphic designer and art director who has worked with global and regional brands for many years. Works with advertising agencies and individual brands in general. I have received awards from EDWARDS and AIGA competitions. Some brands i have worked with; with Adidas Originals Puma and Spotify. For more detailed information about me:

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