How to succeed as a freelance graphic designer or communication agency?
You are certainly asking yourself this question, you are right. In our communication agency, entrepreneurship has become customary, and that's normal. The feeling of freedom that this provides, the feeling of accomplishing something are undoubtedly the key words of this entrepreneurial adventure. There is something for all vocations, from individual micro-enterprises, to start-ups (which are on the rise) or agencies, there are many alternatives to salaried workers & this opens up the field of possibilities. Yes, but it's complicated to start as a freelance agency or graphic designer. The fear of not seeing the business work is very present. The risk of not being able to sell, find customers, and especially of bankruptcy. So, how do you do well as a freelance graphic designer? Or as a communications agency?
The business plan, the first element not to be overlookedIndeed, this step is essential to properly prepare your business creation. Even as a freelance. Not going through this step is like putting a bullet in the foot, since all the parameters upstream of the creation of structure are found in this "book". Funding, prospecting target, market research etc. You can make a business plan from models, such as those offered by the CCI. Or possibly, use the models offered online, which will guide you, and made by people who have started before you. I'll drop you some links here. An example of a business plan for a communication agency ( Business plan ), and an example for micro-entrepreneurs ( Business plan micro-enterprise )
Website creation, social media presence & SEOOne of the most important steps when creating a structure is certainly the creation of a website. Functional, intuitive & allowing the user to become a customer. If your site is poorly done, especially as an agency, you can be sure people will walk away from your product or service. Also take care of your presence on social networks. A pledge of trust, a developing relationship, an opportunity to be able to transform users into customers, are the keys to this virtuous use of the Internet. Finally, a small blog powered by you, or by an editor, will allow you to be well referenced & to be able to turn your visitors into informed consumers. This, in short, is a guarantee of quality on your part.
Targeting and prospectingThe essential step comes when you get started. Prospecting and targeting. If you have defined your target upstream, then your job will be essentially to find customers who are interested in your products or services & will be able to buy them. Why not take a business provider who perfectly masters the rules of negotiation and sales techniques? If your target is defined, you will help him greatly, and he, for his part, can possibly call on his client portfolio. I agree, business introducers are rare & hard to find. You can also try the Wabiness site which and an online business development network? Or, why not do some targeting with online ads? (facebook, AdWords…) This is generally less expensive & will generate visits to your site and therefore contribute to your notoriety. & don't forget these few essential points! Obviously, to break into as a freelance agency or graphic designer, you should not hesitate to call on your network built upstream. However, if you find it too limited, you can turn to networking groups such as CCI, BNI, or entrepreneurs' clubs. Also, there is the option of targeted e-mailing, with Mail Chimp software, for example. Be original, make a difference! But the most effective method is certainly physical canvassing, where you can show your determination, your skill, and your motivation. There is also the possibility of telephone canvassing, less effective of course, but which allows you to take the temperature about your target. If you have the means, you can use a direct sales company. If you are worried about losing your money using this method, try negotiating for commission. This allows the company to prove its professionalism to you and you, to be reassured. All beneficial! Once your first customers have been found, let word of mouth run rampant! Never forget this golden rule: a satisfied customer means 8 future potential customers who will turn to you. But, conversely, if the customer is unhappy, word of mouth is rife in reverse, and there, about fifty people will avoid you. Always easier to denigrate, as in all areas ...
Justifying your expertise, the key to successThe most important point here: make a difference! You must imperatively justify a solid background, and customer references, or personal creations that have been successful. In the case of graphics, you can participate in some contests. This will allow your customers to see your successes and to project themselves visually. You will identify and understand customer expectations & what they like. Of course, justify your diplomas or your self-taught training. The most important thing in all of this is to prove your expertise, especially in areas with high competition. The graphics, in particular. Read the interview with our agency's graphic designer. And, last point, surround yourself with people in related professions. This will allow you to offer a range of skills and sell more complete services (example: a website, a custom logo design & a blog). This will bring you contacts, which themselves will have contacts, etc. Above all, do not neglect the collaborative aspect, because the disease of the independent, in other words isolation, is raging in the 21st century.