A Simple Way to Get More Design Clients

When people find out I’m a freelance graphic designer, I usually get one of two responses. The first (and most common) is a sarcastic scoff/laugh/eye roll and “Oh, ok.” The second is one of interest. After discussing the ins and outs of what my niche is, it usually ends with them asking “Oh…so where do you get your clients?” That’s a relevant question!

As the market gets more and more saturated and the economy more challenging to compete in, it can be hard finding the kinds of people/companies you want to work with, that are willing to pay for quality! Hitting that plateau is no fun. Here are simple things I’ve done to expand my ideal clientele.

You Have The Right To Choose Your Clients

The first and most important thing is to establish your standards for what you want in a client. (Yes, that’s right.) Look at it on the terms of a job interview. If you had to hire someone, you likely would have skill qualifications and required experience outlined. You can do the same when making an ideal client profile!

Start by thinking of the times where you worked with a client, and everything worked out smoothly. What kind of client were they? How old is the client (whether a person or company)? What income bracket would you put the client in? Did they pay you on time? Analyze what the “perfect” qualifications would be for a client…then follow them!

If any red flags come up initially, you have the right to say no. You can say things like, “Hmm, it looks like we may not be a good fit for each other.” or “My services may not be for you.” You may be hesitant to turn away business, but it will save you SO much time and aggravation in the long run. You’ll be able to make more money in less time as well.

Just Ask!

Being naturally shy, I had trouble speaking up and asking for things. For example: When I was about 9, I went to my aunt’s home daycare after school. One day, I really wanted a grilled cheese sandwich for a snack. But I was too scared to ask my aunt to make me one, because she seemed occupied. So I attempted to make the sandwich myself, never having done so before (let’s just say..that sandwich was rather crisp and I got a nasty burn on my finger). My aunt’s reply: “All you had to do was ASK!” That kind of stuck with me.

When you have a good experience with one client, it doesn’t have to end there. Likely, they have friends or colleagues with similar interests and needs as well. So what can you do? ASK them who those people are!

You can do this by simply asking at the end of a project: “It’s my goal to work with more amazing people/companies like yourself. Who do you know that could benefit from my services?” After asking, don’t interrupt them or feel compelled to say another word. Let them tell you! If you interrupt them, you’ll miss out on a valuable networking opportunity.

It’s a very simple approach, but you’d be surprised at how valuable word-of-mouth networking is and how quickly your business can grow from it.

So that’s it! What have you found useful in expanding your design clientele? Feel free to comment below.

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