Every freelance graphic designer will have times between projects when they think they've nothing to do. In fact, when you're a freelancer, there is always something you can do to help improve your business and yourself as a designer.
Below are five suggestions of stuff to try when it's a bit quiet. None of them need take up that much time and may go towards helping you get new clients and projects.
1) WRITE A BLOG POST
That's exactly why I'm writing this now! I'm currently waiting for clients to send me content for two projects, so rather than sitting here watching random Youtube videos of dancing kittens, I thought I'd do a blog post.
Writing a blog is great for your website's SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) as it show Google and other search engines your site is being regularly updated which moves it further up the ranking in search results. It also give you a chance to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise to the world, which is always a good thing.
2) WORK ON A PERSONAL PROJECT
We all love doing stuff for our clients but every now and again it's just so nice to do a personal project for no other reason than the love of designing. Whether it be a typography poster, a photography project or designing some logos just for the fun of it, you can flex your creative muscle free of anyone's brand guidelines and briefs. It's a perfect way to show your skills and express yourself. Don't forget to then put it on your website to show potential clients what you can do.
3) LEARN SOMETHING NEW
If you've no projects pending then you can use the time to go online and read up on a new skill. It can be something as simple as following a few Photoshop tutorials online or buying a book on something more in depth like CSS. You have to be honest with yourself and admit the weak points in your skill set, then go about resolving this. There's nothing wrong with not knowing something and every new skill you learn makes you a more proficient designer and able to do something new.
4) GET SOME INSPIRATION
We can all easily get into a creative rut, I've been as guilty of it as anyone. When you've time to spare, go and find some inspiration for new ideas. It can be something as simple as browsing through sites like Pinterest or Inspiration Feed, or you can go one better by getting outside for a walk and taking some photos (it's always good to have a library of your own shots to use on projects). You need to expose yourself to new things to keep fresh so when the next design brief comes in, you will have lots of innovative ideas to bring to the graphic design table.
6) WORK ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES
Social media is a great tool for advertising your business and raising your profile in the industry but it does require a bit of regular effort and housekeeping to make it work for you. Take a little time to tweak your profiles, be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other and make them stand out so people can find you. Little things like ensuring you have a profile photo, whether it's your lovely mug or your logo, can help. Check the profile or about me text that describes you and your business is correct and keyword rich. Make a nice background or header (you are a designer after all) and demonstrate good brand consistency across them all. While you're there, check for any dodgy spam accounts to block and have a tidy up.
Malcolm Roberts is a Worcestershire based graphic designer, blogger and lover of all things creative.
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