I have had the privilege and opportunity to work with some good design agencies over the past few months. I don’t want to come across as negative at all, but I know that I can help another designer avoid some of the mistakes that I have made in my freelancing business.
Here are some tips in no particular order.
- Always work on a project by project basis. This is what has seemed to work for me. I have been in scenarios where I would work on ‘x’ number of projects for ‘x’ number of dollars not knowing what or how or how often those projects would come along. I soon got buried and couldn’t see the light of day. It actually didn’t help my creativity that much either.
- If you are going to work by the hour, have an signed agreement up front. Never assume that you or the client will remember all the details of a pricing conversation. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt and create a document that both parties can read, understand, and sign. This actually help with the longevity of your relationship with those clients and agencies.
- Don’t get your feelings hurt if you design is not chosen. Often times what agencies will do is hire several graphic designers to develop a concept and then have the client pick which one they like the best. Call me ignorant, but I didn’t know this happened! The first time I heard my design was not chosen made me feel bad, but then the subsequent payment for the work done made me feel a little better.
- Ask questions. If you are ignorant like me, then you’ll need to ask questions. Some agencies don’t mind you putting their projects in your portfolio and others do not. Still others don’t want you to post work until a later date. Bottom line is this, you’ll never know until you ask. Never assume it will cause you to end up on the wrong side of preference for sure.
I love working for agencies. It’s another money stream for me and will ultimately gain me a steady income. For me the key is to keep those lines of communication open as often and as long as possible. Agencies have a better understanding about designers and their needs and therefore are better about resolving issues as they come up during the design process.