Tips for Succeeding As A Remote Freelance Designer
Remote freelance design is traditionally labelled as private client work, and is the core of my business. Whether you work from home, a studio or co-working space, this advice will help your day-to-day business go smoother.
Stay in touch
If you’re working as part of a remote team, join in on Slack, email or any of their communication channels.
Manage your time well
You’ll have a responsibility to get work done at a fair clip. This means planning your project and understanding which elements are worth investing your time in.
If it doesn’t make you proud, don’t show it to the crowd
This is actually a phrase I picked up from an American diner. Whether it’s burgers and fries or branding and fonts, the same philosophy applies. The beauty of remote working is that you won’t have a manager peering over your shoulder. Don’t show your work until it’s ready.
Be super friendly via email!
This is a tip I learned from the Before Breakfast podcast. As your face-to-face time with your client is limited, ensure that you don’t accidentally come across as abrupt when writing emails. Use upbeat language and wish them well. It may be more familiar than you’re used to, however you’ll avoid using dry language and seeming distant.
Any number of things can prevent the progress of a project. There are even more liabilities during the Coronavirus pandemic. If you’ve realised the task isn’t living up to expectations, whether that’s extra time or cost, tell the client quickly and they will be more likely accommodate your needs.
Have a contract
Either the client or the designer should provide a contract to work from. In most cases, I issue an agreement. A contract shows you’re a professional and demonstrates penalties to the client if they take advantage of you. Contracts are sometimes written in ALL CAPS and are designed to make you not want to read them. Take it sentence by sentence and use Google to explain legal terminology. Finally, if you’re really unsure, hiring a solicitor to advise you can be money well spent. This will vary on location and firm, but I was once quoted £500 for this service. This may be a chunk out of your profits, however it could save you from greater costs if the project goes wrong and you have less protection than you thought.
Always refer to the brief
You cannot re-read a brief too many times. The biggest mistakes happen when details get lost in email chains, and what may be minor cases of negligence can upset a whole project. Briefs aren’t the most fun things to write, however when you know the scope of your work, then the rest of the project should fly.
Take time to correct amendments
The majority of mistakes are made during the corrections process. This always takes longer than you think. By this stage, a client may be pressuring you to deliver the finished work. Calm down and carefully correct any errors. Sending a brochure or magazine design to a proof-reader is always a good idea and is excellent value for money.
Regardless of which pricing structure you use, the payment for a project has to be worth it for you. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that. If you’re fresh out of university, a day rate could be £175-£200 per day. As you gain experience and skill, you’ll be able to increase that. Don’t try to second-guess a client’s budget. It’s impossible, just go with what works for you.
Use social media wisely
Your client base will determine which social media channels you use. As I work in a B2B capacity, I don’t use Facebook. Instagram is good for growing a general following, but I don’t gain work from there. Twitter is good for discovering people, and I have found work there, however I recently deleted my account as it wasn’t worth my time overall. LinkedIn suits me best. It isn’t as fun as the other social media sites, but it’s excellent for attracting new clients. The important thing is to ensure that whichever websites you use, they work for you. Personally, while I love Instagram, the metrics aren’t as important to me as the relationships fostered.
Abell Design is a brand and digital design studio in York. Creating beautiful brands for ambitious organisations. Say hello at firstname.lastname@example.org