The benefits of being a freelancer are tremendous. You get to be your own boss, you can choose between working from home or in-house, and you're freed from all the day-to-day stresses and office politicking of being a salaried employee.
The other side of the coin is that there's no safety net. You need to keep a tighter grip on your finances, which means keeping on top of tax and managing your cashflow, and of course you have to ensure that the work is coming in.
It's vital to get your name out there and ensure that people know who you are and what you can do; that way the work's more likely to come to you, rather than you having to spend all your time chasing it. With that in mind, here are six great ways to boost your profile.
01. Form a collective
Team up with other creatives to work on joint projects and exhibitions. It's potentially intriguing for everyone else, it can be a great way to network and it will give you some new people to bounce off creatively.
02. Start a blog
Describe the process behind your latest project, write opinion pieces on current issues (design-related or otherwise), review books or appraise projects your peers have completed.
03. Enter awards
From well-known big-hitters like D&AD and ADC Young Guns to smaller, more obscure competitions. Try entering some of your recent work – whether personal or commercial – and see what happens.
04. Open a shop
Create your own merchandise to sell in an online shop on Etsy or similar. Think T-shirts, tote bags, tea towels, stationery, and perhaps some limited-edition prints as well.
05. Teach design
Temporary, hourly-paid and guest lecturer spots aren't necessarily advertised on university jobs pages, so it's worth contacting institutions you think would suit and asking if they're looking for anyone.
06. Speak up
Want to get on the speaker circuit? Find some events that look like a good fit and contact the organisers to ask how you can apply next time around. Try looking for networking events and conferences.
Words: Anne Wollenberg Illustration: Emmanuel Pajon
This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 249.
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