With sites like Canva gaining traction, graphic design can be a difficult skill set to get up and running for freelancers, but this just means you need to prove your worth in a very specific way. Some organizations prefer flexibility, while others like focus.
Different niches, especially industries, have standards for very specific styles and types of design, and focusing can help you plug into a channel where your work is needed. To get out of the race to the price bottom, keep your skills up, market yourself, and make a point of following the design styles the types of clients you’re looking to attract will appreciate. (Trade magazines and industry organizations will be useful here.)
Example Freelancer Sites
Primary Contacts (who you should be marketing to)
Content Marketing Manager/Director/VP
Digital Content Managers
Demand Generation titles
Founders, Entrepreneurs, CEOs
Creative Director (agencies)
Where to Find Work
Other Freelancers: Other freelancers (marketers, web designers and writers especially) have good connections with the exact people you want to work with. Make a point of connecting with other freelancers on sites like this one, Facebook, and other freelance communities so you can build a strong referral network.
Cold Contacting: This might be challenging for designers (so many businesses just don’t respect visuals until they absolutely have to), but you should still engage in active marketing to optimize your chances of finding strong clients. Focusing on a niche will help you use trends and competitor behavior as leverage when making contact.
Skill Development Resources
You’ll be at an advantage if you understand where your work intersects with other marketing elements, so take a little time to understand and keep up with content marketing trends in your niche. (HubSpot is a good, free place to start.)
How to Adapt Your Freelance Business to a Rapidly Shifting Marketplace: VERY interesting podcast episode from Smarter Freelancing that will be helpful to anyone, but since it features a freelance video editor and color grader, is especially useful to the more creative skillsets.
Check out this list of graphic design communities to better connect with others practicing your skillset.
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Design as a niche often comes down to the vertical or style you’re capable of. Some of the highest paying work is often easier than others, so don’t conflate difficulty with profitability.