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3 things I wish I knew when I started freelance designing

Jumping into the freelance design business is a big deal! I’ve been trying to find cheat codes and shortcuts. But you can’t skip steps as you build your freelancing business.

Alex Dovhyi
Alex Dovhyi
4 min read
3 things I wish I knew when I started freelance designing

Jumping into the freelance design business is a big deal! When I started my freelance journey, there was not much help from someone just a few steps ahead of me. Instead, I read, listened, and watched successful designers who were far ahead in the game.

I’ve been trying to find cheat codes and shortcuts. But you can’t skip steps as you build your freelancing business. That’s why I started Alex’s Camp – a place to share the knowledge for people who need advice from someone just a few steps ahead. Things like approaching clients, honing a freelance workflow, developing as a designer, and building your design career ladder.

Here’s an honest exploration of things I’d want to know in my early years as a freelance designer. I hope you can find it helpful.

Getting clients is a numbers game

Months after I started out and realized that a portfolio is not everything, I focused on getting clients. I started messaging people on my Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook. I applied for jobs on UpWork and other freelance websites. I even started doing cold email outreach. But the results don’t come quickly.

90% of the people I contacted didn’t respond or decline my offers. There was a lot of work to be done — emailing, discovering what they need from a designer, creating proposals, and finally getting the YES!

That one “yes!” Makes all the effort worth it. I discovered that cold emailing is largely a numbers game. Don't be disappointed if you only receive a few responses from potential clients. Dive deeper, send more, and you’ll find the work.

Starting conversation before you need projects was something I discovered along the way. Keep reaching out even when you’re working on the project. In a few months, those chats might organically evolve into client work.

How to write a cold email that wins freelance clients
Unless you’re a freelancer overflowing with referrals, sending cold emails will probably be an excellent addition to your client-finding process.
Like it or not, freelancing is a combination of creativity and logic. You can be a great designer, but you'll go broke if you don't know how to run your independent business.

Communication over beauty

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