The first foolproof way of getting clients is to post your work on Instagram. Marketers and advertising agencies post their ads in a place where people are looking, kind of like People will want to have adverts for you where you are. And it’s the same for us. If you’re a graphic designer and you’re wondering how I get my work and how other freelancers do it, it wasn’t overnight, but basically, we posted on Instagram and sites like that. If you post your work on Instagram every day curating what you put out there, putting your best work, the work that you want to work on and talking about it and having sort of a presence on Instagram, clients will look at that, because everyone is nearly on Instagram now. It’s the largest social media in the world. Everyone’s on there and the amount that you can do just to post your portfolio and get people to share your work is incredible. So try and post to Instagram every day, do that for a year and I guarantee you will gain clients.
The second foolproof way of gaining clients is by asking local businesses. If you’ve just started out in graphic design, whether that’s lettering, logo design or just any sort of branding sort of scheme, then you should ask your local businesses in your town or city. Doing this means that you are actually putting your name out there. When you actually allow them to hear you and what you do, maybe they won’t give you a job then, but they will come back to you for a job. And I have done this before locally as well. So whether it’s a coffee shop or whether it’s a big bank or whatever kind of thing in your local town or city, go for those places. Go for those places that are mid-tier, where they’re not too bureaucratic and there’s not a huge corporation side to it. You can literally just go to any sort of coffee shop and say, “Yo, I’m a designer. If you need any work like this on the wall or menu design, then just hit me up. I’ll give you my business card. Keep me in mind. Thank you.”
Doing that means that you’ve got your name on a list in their head. It is so vital to have our names in people’s heads for the specific job because when they say that they need a menu design, who are they going to think of? The guy who came in or the guy who emailed? So ask local businesses and see what they say. And I guarantee you over time you will gain clients. It may not be fast, but you will get them and a steady flow of them.
The third foolproof way of getting clients is by asking and emailing and messaging large businesses. Nowadays it’s so easy to message huge corporations and to get your name in there. All you really need is an email or an Instagram account. There are tons of Instagram accounts from companies such as Heinz or any sort of company really, like Starbucks. If you wanted to message them and if you wanted to work for them, put your name down and message them and offer a service to them in a nice way. I love Daniel Wellington and I wanted a watch from them and I also wanted to do some work with them, whether that was sponsored work or client work, because I do both because of the channel on my Instagram. So I direct messaged them on Instagram and said, “If you want any work done, let me know. I’d love to collaborate with you on something.” And sure enough, a few weeks later they emailed me and asked for it and they wanted me to collaborate with them.
I know that’s not a client, but it works in the same way. If you were to ask a large corporation in an email, then someone in customer service will remember your name and they will also probably transfer your name over to a designer’s list. So don’t be afraid to message big corporations. What’s the worst that could happen? They may say yes or no, or they may not even say anything at all. That’s the worst that could happen. The best thing is they say yes and they give you a good wage.
The fourth foolproof way of gaining clients is by teaching what you know. If you’ve noticed, my YouTube channel is a lot about teaching things and I gain clients a lot from YouTube, where companies see my channel whether they’re large, small or mid-tier, they see my channel and they assume that I’m pretty good at what I do. They can see my work, they can see my personality and how I work. By teaching what I do, that gives clients the ability to have an insight into my process and have an insight into who I am as a person and a designer.
If you don’t know what to teach and you’re just starting out, just teach what you know already. I guarantee you that it will be valuable for anyone else in the design scene who’s wanting to learn design, and over time you’ll establish yourself as a teacher in this sort of area. Whether you’re qualified or not, people will look to you in certain areas of this and you’ll gain respect and clients through that respect, and the numbers on your social media channel. So go ahead and make videos or just teach in blog posts what you do and how you do it. Give people value and they’ll come back to you and give you value.
And the fifth foolproof way of gaining clients is if you’re in a bit of trouble, ask your friends and family. Personally, I don’t really work for friends or family and that’s not because I don’t want to. That’s just because I have such a different view on client work and I charge quite a bit, and I don’t want to seem that I’m extorting my family or friends. Because of the process that I do, it takes a long time and a lot of them may not understand exactly how long it takes, hence why I don’t work with them. But if you’re a designer that’s just starting out and you want to charge a little less than your usual rate for large companies, start off with friends and family. Put it on your portfolio and do your best because the word of mouth from a successful client or a satisfied client is much better and more effective than a Facebook ad or just saying on Instagram that you’re available for your service.
Keep in mind when you’re working with friends or family, whether it’s paid or not paid, send them a contract and an invoice. Now you send an invoice when it is not paid because you want to show the value of your work. So if I do free work for someone, I still send them an invoice with the amount that it would have cost with all the lists and the itinerary of things like the items, 6,000 for instance. And then I’ll just literally put zero in the subtotal, and that shows the client how much his work was really worth.