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What are the prospects for a freelance designer?

Discussion in 'Graphic Design Forum' started by SallySqueak, Jun 25, 2015.

  1. SallySqueak

    SallySqueak New Member

    Hi all

    I'm new here, so apologies if my question seems very basic.

    I've used Gimp frequently for designing bits and bobs for my affiliate website, but the site isn't bringing me anywhere near enough money in and I really need to start looking into doing something else.

    I do enjoy designing with Gimp, so I just wondered, and here comes the daft basic question...

    If I were to teach myself all the Adobe design programs, and become a freelance logo designer, would I be able to make a reasonable living, or would it be pretty difficult?

    I've no idea how much people pay for logo design, but I looked up standard graphic design jobs on the job centre search (UK) and wages don't seem overly great... £20-£25k a year-ish.

    Do freelancers earn about this much too? I have around 25 hours a week to dedicate to designing, and I can possibly add another 10 hours over the week if I work evenings too.

    What's all of your honest opinions? Am I barking up the wrong tree if I think I can make a decent living at this from home? I'm willing to put the work in to learn the programs, and happy to get a website built and offer a few freebies to build my portfolio, but I just really don't want it all to be for nothing. After 18 months working solid on my affiliate site I'm feeling sore!

    Thanks for your honest advice.

    statbd7 likes this.
  2. Opus

    Opus Member

    I suspect that some freelance designers will only be earning a few thousand pounds a year. Others will be earning far more than the amount you've researched - it depends how good they are, not only at design but also at all the other aspects of running a successful (design) business.

    Teaching yourself the software is the easy bit but software doesn't create the designs. It's the design skills that are harder to acquire - working the designs up in Adobe Illustrator or whatever is only a small part of it.

    Good luck if you decide to go for it. It's possible to be very successful but don't assume it's as simple as learning a couple of software packages.
    SallySqueak likes this.
  3. SallySqueak

    SallySqueak New Member

    Thanks for your reply Opus

    I understand, it's not going to be an overnight walk in the park road to riches type thing :) I don't mind working hard, I just want to focus on the right thing :)

    I've been learning all week and really enjoying it so far. I'm a long way off selling my services, but Youtube and following online vids is teaching me heaps so far, then like you say I just need to learn my own style and spend a lot of hours experimenting!

    Thanks again, I'm sure these forums will come in very useful along the way!
  4. SandraGenJobs

    SandraGenJobs New Member

    The important thing is not to pressure yourself. As long as you're enjoying what you're doing, you'll be fine. Of course, don't work for free and try to make a serious business out of freelancing but don't bother with number sand statistics.
  5. waynezart

    waynezart New Member

    Learning how to create professional looking logos is one thing, but marketing your work and your samples can take longer to get your head around, trust me I've been there. Whilst I don't design logos, I do try and market a specific type of illustration and this is done online and offline, it's hard, but the more you network and get yourself out there and I mean throwing yourself out there, be confident in your abilities and you'll do fine.

    Running a business requires more all round effort, but if you have a plan in place, then you are much better off than those whose planning and promotional strategy is lacking.

    Good luck!
  6. EternalOpium

    EternalOpium New Member

    I think its key that you really enjoy what you are doing and if you are doing it for that reason over making money, then the latter will come in time. It's true that if you have the quality, it will eventually fall into place.

    If you are starting out, have you considered joining a site like Fiverr or similar and listing your services? I have used them previously and what I got for my money wasn't really up to par, but if you are good at what you do, people will leave you good feedback, you get experience completing jobs and you get a little bit of cash?

    You can definitely do it though as a living, I don't see why not. Plenty of people do it, you do need a bit of luck, but you also need to be excellent at what you do. The more you do something, the better you get. And besided, if in a few years time you have really ploughed at it and have gotten good at graphic and design but the money isn't coming, you'll be a good position to get a full-time job doing design for a company if you can deliver. Those kind of industries where you can essentially teach yourself value experience just as much, if not more than an academic background. What is the point in having qualifications in graphic and design if someone who didn't study but taught themselves can produce better quality than you? The self-taught person will get hired!

    Best of luck anyway! It takes a lot of hardwork, but if you love doing what you do, I believe you can make it work :)
  7. Allie Mesh

    Allie Mesh New Member

    Hello! I agree with above comments that you can really decide how much you will make per year based on dedication and skills. However, have you also considered doing social media management and SEO strategy from home? This is a really hot field where the hourly rate is pretty high once you have a year or two under your belt... Just something to consider. :) Happy freelancing!
  8. BlackRevolver

    BlackRevolver New Member

    Hey Sally,
    Hope you don't mind me jumping in on your debate with my first post! but well done for using GIMP, I use that brilliant piece of software on my little chromebook running Linux and I'm in the process of setting up a web design business and I'm learning from research that personality (over ability) brings greater success, greater awards, or brilliant marketing.

    I'm not sure if the same applies to graphic design as a company can't get away with using a crap logo, but in the web design field I've spent the last hour looking at freelancers who have a stack of clients, charging around 2 grand (up wards) for very very basic looking websites designed using wordpress and they have somehow managed to put people under a spell and convince them they have amazing skills by dropping an image in a page and using a simple colour scheme!

    This is why after I compare my work to professional agencies (my work stacks up) so I have the talent to succeed, yet if I just create a website and wait for people to contact me, its all down to luck, hope, and I guess the same would apply to graphic design, as I'm sure there are many talented designers out there who make little money.

    My plan is to put together the final touches on my website, mock up designs and speak to people in person, knock on doors and speak to local businesses as I know my work is excellent.

    So if you know the quality of your work is excellent, then speak to local businesses and meet them face to face as these days its all about how you market yourself, as otherwise you will just get lost online, while people with less talent are making a small fortune because they know how to market themselves and find clients.

    Anyway, from one gimp to another lol good luck with your business!
  9. FrenchPress

    FrenchPress New Member

    This kind of all depends on you. This depends on how you develop and market your business and the time and energy that you have to invest in it. I am always for learning new skills and new software, and to be honest Adobe has so many more features and possibilities than Gimp.

    How are you currently getting your work? How are you marketing yourself and promoting your website and services? Where do you rank on the SERPs and where do you rank with your competition? If you don't have the answers to these questions, then you need to look into these matters first.

    I think that it is too general to say whether something can or cannot make someone a decent living. It's not always what you do, but how you do it and how good you are at doing it that matters. If you offer people something that others simply cannot, and you market your business and services incredibly well, there's no reason why you can't be successful with it.
    Pr0p4t3 likes this.
  10. Dougmorrison

    Dougmorrison Member


    I think that everyone has covered everything I would say and worded it better.

    But I think design is something that if you are very creative and can create some great looking designs then it might not matter (to a degree) in what program you use. But if you can not design or create something from a very brief from a client maybe even just one line the you are stuck.

    That is the trick, but good luck with it.
    Pr0p4t3 likes this.
  11. Mark Lyons

    Mark Lyons Member

    Once you're happy with your portfolio, the following step is to promote your work. Brush up on your marketing skills and get your name and freelance status out there with some effective social networking. Maintain a strategic distance from the hard sell - nobody preferences being spammed. Rather, attempt to frame organic online relationships with potential clients and organizations and participate with the join in with the design discussion to show your expertise in the business.
    Pr0p4t3 likes this.

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