“How do you find clients?”

This is the most common question I get asked all the time. I’ll try to answer that question here, and maybe even provide a small outline of the actions you’ll need to follow to get your freelance graphic design firm off the ground and moving in the correct path.

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.


Decision, Commitment and Planning

You must decide whether you want to freelance part-time or full-time and commit to it. To study the craft and be the finest service provider possible, you’ll need to put in a lot of time. This is not for you if you aren’t willing to put in a year or two to get your business off the ground!

Do you still think this is what you want? Good.

Take a few moments to write down your responses to the following questions. You’ll gain a better understanding of yourself and your freelance business if you answer all of the questions completely. Your responses will reassure you that this is the right path for you.

Answer the following questions in a notepad or in a text editor:

  • Are you capable of running your own company?
  • Do you have the self-discipline to work independently and teach yourself?
  • How much money will you need to make a life each month?
  • What kind of work will you be specialising in? (Logo design, Print Design, Photography, Web Design & Development, etc.)
  • What type of clients do you want to work with? (Startups, local businesses, organizations/non-profits, lawyers, realtors, or a variety of them, etc.)
  • Do you know how to communicate effectively?
  • Are you able to take criticism well? (You will get rejected!)
  • Will you be able to keep up with the rapid changes in your industry?
  • Do you have the ability to work under duress and pressure?
  • What do you want to be doing in five years?
  • Do you have a contingency plan in place?

You should now have a clearer idea of what you want to do after writing down your replies. When I originally started out, I made the error of not completely realising what my true freelance aspirations were. Because it is, you must treat your freelance career as a legitimate business. You can also utilise your responses to the following questions to create a personal business strategy.

Behind every successful person, there’s a lot of unsuccessful years.

Your Online Presence Is Vital

Now is the time to create your freelance website and online presence, keeping your speciality and target market in mind.

Treat yourself as if you were a client, and meticulously design the content of your website. Create a personal brand and stick to it across all of your internet identities. (Photos, colours, biographies, and so forth.)

Design is fun, but content is king!

Create a sitemap and a brief explanation for each page describing its purpose and the content it will include. A blog that attracts visitors, a welcoming about page, a straightforward means of contact, and your portfolio of work should all be present on your website. If you don’t have the time to create and construct your own website, a pre-built premium Wordpress theme is a great option – this will save you a lot of time and great for continuously updating your website with ease.

Push harder than yesterday if you want a different tomorrow.

Personalized Emails

Here is an example of the email I send. Always make sure that it is personalised, and not just a generic one. It makes a big difference.

Hi [Client’s Name],

I hope all is well. I’m Akshay Samarth, a freelance graphic designer based in London, UK. I specialise in logo & branding, websites, print design, social media creatives and much more.

I’m contacting you to see if you have any graphic design work that I can assist you with on a one-time or recurring basis.

You can view some of my recent design work here:

If you have any questions for me, please feel free to ask. I hope to hear back soon!

Thanks & Regards,
Akshay Samarth

Attending a networking event, if possible, is another excellent approach to meet new clients. Attend a job fair, even if there isn’t one in your city, and pass out some business cards.

When it comes to business cards, be sure to leave them behind when you’re out and about – or, better yet, create a one-of-a-kind leave-behind flyer and pin it to neighbourhood bulletin boards or simply leave it on a coffee shop counter. Attaching your business cards to a comment card is another unique way to use them. Leave some constructive feedback/critiques about their website or stationery in any comment or suggestion box you come across, then paper clip your business card to the comment sheet.

Same Passion Every Day

As I previously stated, if you are unwilling to commit and put in the years of labour, you should reconsider your decision to become a freelancer. It takes a lot of work to build your own success from the ground up, but once you do, it’s a sensation that can’t be described, but only experienced. Find your calling, stay positive, and put everything you’ve learned to good use. Times will be difficult, but if you stay active in interacting and sharing, you’ll build a following, which will lead to additional jobs. Keep your creativity flowing and your passion for what you do alive! Good luck!