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Graphic Design Business 101: 5-Step System to Master your Freelance Skill Set

Branding & Marketing, Design Business 101, Mindset & Strategy | 0 comments

You’ve mastered your craft and converted your skills into a business. But, you have to push out work that’s unique and aesthetically appealing… all the time.

The pressure is on and you begin struggling to get things on track. Coming up with concepts is not all that easy any more and you lack the confidence of whether you’re able to provide your best work to your clients.

To get your head back in the game, you need to keep improving your skills. I’m talking about more than just your graphic design skills. This means your business and your mental skills too. A successful graphic designer knows that a business thrives on every function working well together.

And this means that you need to keep learning new things – every day – regardless of whether you’re an expert in your industry.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

~ Dr. Seuss.

This saying is as true today as it will always be. Mastering your graphic design is a never-ending task.

That’s why I’m sharing my 5-step system that will help you grow your skill-set. Some take more time than others. While some are easier to implement than the rest. Using all the steps is a recipe for success that you can’t ignore.

Let’s get to it.

Step 1: Podcasts (business, marketing, inspiration, tips)

Millions of people listen to podcasts every day to get inspiration, staying informed, and for personal and professional growth. But, listening to podcasts doesn’t have to infringe on your time with your clients or even your personal life.

This is a nifty aspect of your strategy as you can save time while learning. Download files to listen to industry experts on-the-go. Then, listen to graphic designers, branding and marketing experts while you’re driving or while working out at the gym.

In fact, improving your business and marketing skills are easier by getting industry tips from influential podcasters.

Step 2: Social Media (Facebook groups, Forums)

Facebook groups and forums are places where you can access numerous mentors & teachers without the formal setting of attending classes. Industry experts are always willing to answer your pressing questions.

So much so, that social media groups bring you useful, practical and relevant information – at your convenience.

Not only do you connect with industry experts on your topic but you build social credibility at the same time. Here’s a list of 12 Public Facebook groups for business advice that you can join to chip away at what’s lacking in your abilities.

By the way… don’t forget to check out my free Facebook Group for freelancers here.

The next steps are a little more time-consuming but are paramount to your success.

Step 3: YouTube (new skills, product reviews)

Youtube is the second largest search engine on the internet because there are millions of useful content on there. Watching tutorials helps you learn easier ways to get your work done from people who were in your shoes.

For example; You could be struggling with creating a 3D logo. Doing a search on YouTube lets you see how other experts get the job done. Choose a video that gives you a step-by-step breakdown of what you need to do. 

YouTube is not just a place for tutorials. Watch reviews on whether software that you had your eye on, would work for you.

Or, perhaps you’re thinking about upgrading equipment? See what others have to say about the upgrade before you buy it.

Having copious amounts of free information at your fingertips is why this step is my favorite.

Step 4: Blogs & Books (tips, trends, product reviews, best-of collections, creativity, marketing, business)

You must read every day to be successful at your craft and your business. Successful people dedicate a few hours every day to reading. Bill Gates reads about 1 book per week and Oprah Winfrey reads about 4 hours per day.

Read blogs to get graphic design, business and personal development tips from experts in your industry. Find product reviews on tools that you need for your business and know what is trending right now.

Inspire your creativity and focus on the business aspect of things to have a well-rounded approach to business development. 

Step 5: Learn new apps/skills with Lynda.com

The most time-consuming of my 5-step system is attending a course. Lynda.com with LinkedIn Learning is an online platform that publishes about 60 new courses weekly and has a portfolio of over 13000 courses. You have your pick from creative, business, and even technology topics.

Although this is a premium site, get free access to all the courses by signing up with your US public library card.

You need to stay ahead with trends to be successful. Spruce up your design skills with a “Photoshop” course. You have to learn more about what you already know to stay ahead of trends, you see.

You might have an important pitch that you need to present to a prospect; then an online course on “How to Present and Stay on Point” will help you land more clients.

Like any other business, your graphic design needs digital marketing. Enroll in a “Marketing on Twitter” or a “Creative Online Community” course to get your brand noticed. Implementing proven strategies in your marketing mix and other business functions speeds up your success journey.

Use my 5-step system to grow any skills and any area of your business (your personal life too). The key to it working for you is consistency. Set time aside each day so that you get the results that you want.

I’m not saying that you need to spend 8 hours a day doing these 5 -steps because when will you do your work, right? Start small and dedicate the time that you have available. Even if it’s just 1 hour a day. Get rid of mindset challenges, technique inadequacies, and poor business management by up-leveling your skills. Even if your life seems to be too busy or unexpected events happen; spend enough time honing your craft to get the best results.

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