As of February 2014, I decided to leave my job and take on full time freelance. As graphic designer for the past 8 years, working for various companies while doing freelance on the side, I felt this was the perfect time to branch out on my own and follow my dream of working for myself. When faced with the opportunity I knew this would be the best way to learn a whole lot more about the process of design, business, and really embrace my passion. Not to leave out that I have heard freelance is probably one of the most gratifying career moves, and having thick skin is an asset. So first things first, I had to define myself, oh no!
Before I go out into the big scary world I had to figure out a pitch, even just a minute spiel on what I do. It was a lot harder than I thought, because in my mind I do everything design, really. But I had to focus on separating myself form everyone and define what I really do to a ‘T’. So below are three simple steps I took to getting an answer.
#1 Defining your Niche
Over the past year I have read plenty about ‘Niching’ if that’s a word, apposed to being a master of non. So I thought about it long and hard taking a few months to come to a final decision. At my last job I had created a lot of work with their restaurant and felt this was a great area, not to mention I have a love for the Food Network. So it was pretty obvious which area to go into. Food and Beverage. Taking on package design, restaurant design, startup products for grocery stores, I am sure the list can go on — but I found a great passion for this sector.
In my opinion, defining your Niche is probably one of the most important starting points for freelance work. You want to know where you stand and what your future will be. Lets not forget its a great way to Market through Social media as well here is a great post I read on it by Garrett Moon on todaymade.com.
#2 What exactly do you do?:
First thing was first. I got passion, but what is next? I made a list (I have a thing for lists) I begin writing out all the services I can provide:
- Package Design Ready for Print
- New Business Design · For New Restaurants & Stores
- Advertising and Digital Content Marketing
- Menus, Labels, Signage
- Conducting Surveys and Audience Research
- Events and Product Launches
- Sourcing Food Photography
A great experience for me was going through the trials of planning a wedding. This was a great and fun experience while understanding the fundamentals in planning such an elaborate event – not to mention designing it and defining the experience through design. So I felt that I had a great start on related areas to the food and beverage sector.
#3 Start Targeting:
Next will be targeting certain companies and individuals. As a freelancer I have understood how important it is to target the right people and understand what they are looking for. Keeping the lines of communication open and look for events to meet people. Always know that networking is your greatest asset for marketing, second LinkedIn is a great place to find connections as well. Even if you just target your neighbourhood or international clients.
Now that you know your niche, you know what you do and know who to target, you should have a really great start to creating either your mission statement, elevator speech, and most importantly defining your company as a whole. If you want more information on this topic stay tuned — I will be posting on Writing a Business plan as a Freelance Graphic Designer.
Starting a business can be hard, but remember it is all about the baby steps and then when you look back you might be surprised and realize the greatness of what you have created. So just look forward, organize and do. Never give up on your dreams.
In the words of Julia Child:
Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.
What do you think? What first steps are involved in defining your business? I would love for you to share, so please write a comment below. — Like what you read? Sign up for the Avid Creative Newsletter here.