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Becoming A Successful Design Freelancer

Lesson 3 of 15

Get Clear on What You Offer as a Freelancer


Becoming A Successful Design Freelancer

Lesson 3 of 15

Get Clear on What You Offer as a Freelancer


Lesson Info

Get Clear on What You Offer as a Freelancer

So what do you d'oh uh it's that question I just asked you guys both that question and it's like awful I don't like answering that question actually like it now but but I did not like it before it made me massively uncomfortable and I felt like I had like a mouthful of rocks so I'm going to tell you guys what I d'oh so I'm area in orland I run my own design consulting business where I work with fortune five hundred companies and start ups on brand building and experienced design I believe that design is an act of courage and I'm committed to creating experiences that enhance people's lives okay you guys are going to write one of these for yourselves yes we're going to do this we're going to do this are you ready? Cool so let's break it down who you are easy who you are is easy, right? Kate one is done okay to how I'm employed so we're going to talk about the different ways to describe how you're employed I've chosen design consulting business um types of clients so we talked about bein...

g able to decide what kind of work are you going to take on you know do you want to work for start ups? Do you want to work for non profits right where you're going to focus your efforts? What I dio right? So these are the areas that I specialize in these air I do a lot of things right as a small business owner we all have to do a lot of things I do my own production I do my own you know all of these things but but what I want people to know me for is this um and then what you believe so this is kind of an optional thing that could go into an about statement or um an elevator pitch but I don't consider it optional I consider it like the best and coolest part of doing it on and I'll tell you that's why so how you're employed let's look at the lingo okay this class is how to be a freelancer freelancer is widely accepted it it's it is an absolutely acceptable term and one that I used interchangeably um and we're going to go a little deeper on these but there's freelancer consultant self employed and soul oprah nure yeah say that and like stayed out with confidence weird okay so freelancer let's look at that I want to look at the dictionary definitions because I really want you guys tio um uh pick within this spectrum or pick something else if you think I'm totally wrong that that works for you so so a freelancer is a person who works as a writer designer performer or the like we have a couple or the likes in this room right now selling work or services by the hour day job etcetera rather than working on a regular salary basis for one employer right so that's one definition another is a person who contends in a cause or in succession of various causes as he or she chooses without personal attachment or allegiance. So um although freelancers widely accepted and I would call myself that I do think that there's a potential ah negative connotation of freelance or that happens sometimes in the workplace, right? So especially if you're at a company and they have a lot going on and there's a lot of stuff that nobody wants to do and then they say, well, higher freelancer right? Then all of a sudden you're the person who comes in and is doing the stuff that nobody wants to dio right or this stuff that's um not a school or less than, you know, and I'm not saying that that everybody has this perception, but it is definitely a perception out there or that you can't stick tio a job, right? Um, you know that that person's freelance and there's just there's a slight negative connotation to that and I just I want you guys to be aware of that I don't think it's an issue, I think if you feel good about calling yourself a freelancer it's totally fine um uh but yeah um and I used to call myself a freelancer and sometimes I still d'oh but I moved into this consultant idea because I like it better like let's read what it consultant is a person who gives professional advice or services to companies for a fee cool I do that a consultant is an experienced individual that is trained to analyze and advice a client in order to help the client make the best possible choices yes I do that I do that for you right I'm not the person who comes in and and you say you need a logo and I'm like great I'm your partner I'm the person who comes in and tells you you know you do need a logo but you're just starting your business have you thought through the other types of collateral that you're going to need have you thought through the other touchpoints have you you know, considered this have you considered that like I'm an expert and I want people to know that and I feel that that freelance doesn't always can note expert it can you know it can easily be like you know you're you're working somewhere and and maybe it's a company that has a product like they sell ties or something like that and it's they don't have a photographer and so they would say something like hey let's get a freelancer and her to shoot you know to shoot the peril or whatever that is that's totally cool right? That's that's absolutely fine so um um uh I think it kind of depends, but I started saying consultant because someone who you guys were going to meet later my friend sharing she started calling herself a consultant and I like that you know, so another one is self employed so self employed is earning income directly from one's own business, trade or profession rather than as a specified salary or wages from an employer that's true but not a sizzle you know like ok, yes that's accurate um in the last missile oprah nure so solo preneurs is a new word which means an entrepreneur who works alone solo running their business singlehandedly they might have contractors for higher yet have full responsibility for the running of their business also true kind of cool and interesting could be super off putting depending on the clients that that you're pursuing right if you're in tech and you know you want more startup clients and you want to use lingo that everybody's using or that some people are using solar pretty cool makes people think right, but if you're working you know, with a more established company or a company or a client that you feel is more traditional, it might not sound that good. Um so you know, consider what's right for yourself um and if you want to describe how you work another way that's fine, but in your about statement you're going to describe how you work um types of clients so I want you guys to think about these different types of clients right? These are not the only types of clients there's lots of other types of clients but who are you going to sell your services to what kind of work do you want to dio you know, startups are great they're lots of fun but they changed their minds a lot so that can be frustrating as a designer you know, you think you're doing one thing and all of a sudden in the middle there doing something else right small businesses also absolutely wonderful but you know, if you want your work to have scale and impact you know you might not get there with a small business um you know, fortune five hundred companies totally cool and and another way that you know that another source of potential clients but you know might be more traditional oh are those kinds of things yes so I'm thinking about this a lot for myself because to me it goes back to marketing and sales so who do I naturally connect with? Right? And you are the people that without me even talking about making money like hanging out with yeah yeah they're going to the conversations that I like to have who are the people when that I'm naturally looking at their stuff online and following them because that will naturally if I if I kind of june myself in that direction, and then worked with glow from there, I totally agree. I totally agree. Yeah, and so so and so, from a fear based place, like sitting here with you and I watching yesterday, I was like, well, I guess it's got to be, like, small business says, and I could ask you, you going to be like, I'm thinking has to be someone that has a budget. Yeah, but actually, if I really look at myself and who I like, who not even who I like, but who I'm most comfortable with right now that I connect to it, that I find myself surrounded by, you know, it's, mostly individuals who are starting it's still a preneurs, yeah, it's we were starting their own thing, and whether it it's, whether it's an artist, or whether it's in a small entrepreneur, or whether it's, even in health and wellness, you know, people who are who are actually leaving their comfortable job, so to start their own thing. So I love this for you, like I look at it that you again, that you have that that real clarity for yourself by thinking about that a lot, yeah, to me that's like that so that's when it will start happening yeah, so the thing about working for yourself is there's only x amount of time in the day and there's only one of you write so that's why it is important to pick a little bit of a focus for yourself and that's what you know writing this one miner exercises about is helping to clarify for you what it is that you want to pursue but it's also for clients that they're going to hire you it is not cool to say that well, it is cool to say ok, if you want to say that you're a yoga instructor a baker, a web designer and you know, photographer that is totally amazing like I love that for you and about you and that you can do all those things, but if I'm a person who wants to hire you, I don't I don't totally know what what you're good at or like what I should be approaching you about um and you know again you could make that decision for yourself and you might say, look, I'm a jack of all trades and that's what I want people to know me for, um and I respect that, but but I think that focus helps everybody it helps you and it helps you potential clients find find a match and it seems to me it's a starting point because it would evolve over time yeah definitely so you see start where you're most comfortable where you actually can bring work in and have the communicator came in education you're talking about so that things can actually happen you can learn these I think yes I'm leeway yeah without costing anyone too much money totally and then as you grow and get more confident you can maybe moved to start ups it's totally and we're going to talk about later too right? Because those scylla preneurs may become startups right? All right, but we're going to talk a little bit later about whereto where to find work but I think what you're saying is whom I surrounded by now and where can I look that's most that flows most easily to me and is comfortable to me is exactly what you need to dio right? Because when you start to think we're going to get your first client it's that yeah yeah so what do you d'oh eso these air some things that people in the design world do and you know I know we have a couple of people and cinematography and film here on and probably people with lots of diverse skill sets in the freelance world online to um but you know what do you d'oh right? Are you an interaction designer to do branding do you writing due to creative direction are due to marketing on dh think about what those are for yourself and like I said, you might be a yoga instructor photographer baker and you know and photographer but but I want you guys to just pick one or two things uh, you know, if you wanna have like, in your bio on your website everything that you d'oh you could probably win me over to that a lot more easily than upon initially meeting you in a business context I don't want to know everything that you d'oh maybe in a party if you're like I'm a baker I'm a web designer it's so cool and I'm like oh my god, we have so much in common you know and I like I want to know this like divers aspect of I like that you have this diversity so we could like connect on lots of things but in a business context focus um what you believe ok, this is the part that I really like what do you believe in what do you believe in in your work what is important to you about the work that you d'oh you know, do you design with empathy? Do you believe in social activism you know, do care about white space and defending it? You know, is it about minimalism? Is it about authenticity? What is that for you and how are you going to say how are you going to convey that to people so laura is a good friend of mine and this is in her bio and she says lars committed to design education social activism and investigating change I want to meet this woman you know so in her bio talks about other things that she's done she's published a book which is very impressive she's an educator very impressive she's she's you know worked at lots of different design schools also very impressive but this is a part when it's like oh my god wow need right um and it is your opportunity to put forth what's important to you about your work you're not just you're not just a service it's not just your job tio tell people to do what what your clients tell you right? You have a point of view about your practice in your profession and you get to say that okay who's ready for their about state with this was part of your homework too, right? So let's go through through some of these things that we already let's do a recap so how you're employed right? Are you freelance consultant self employed so oprah nure types of clients you know do you do you want to work for startups nonprofits do you like to focus on retail? What is it that where's the work? What are the industries or the types of businesses that are attractive to you? What do you d'oh logo design illustration photography cinematography um ah, and then what do you believe in right to believe in designing for impact? Do you believe in making people happy? You know, if that's what you believe in as every clank and hire you that believes that you if you say I believe in may people happy and you put that in your bio is every gun crank and hire you because you said you believe in making people happy? No, but to the people who believe in, like, making people happy in their work are they gonna hire you? They still might not hurry, but they're going to want to talk to you because you're going to they're going to realize that that you have ah, like philosophical connection about how you, you know, show up in the world who is brave enough to talk about, you know, go don't we might have to call in somewhere this teo, would you mind coming right now? Is that your cooking? I'll see you. Yeah, I'm so excited. Okay, you ever hallmark, I'm not open to the homework page too, so make sure you know I could look up. All right, let's do this, okay? So I'm going to say your name monica monica um I'm a graphic designer cool. Um, I would say that I work with a start ups small businesses and nonprofits and the services I offer our illustration layout for photo editing, branding and marketing collateral um I believe in clean and simple designs that communicate well awesome you totally did that girl like wow, I think I'm really impressed yeah, I think the thing that I struggled with the most is what to call myself but I think the terminology especially in the design field has changed a lot and you almost feel like saying your graphic designers like old term you know, so I don't know yeah communication designer my visual diner ariel on that you know, uh and I've been agonizing about that for a long time I think let me see I've at least six years ago I made a business card that said it had a blank and then designed because I didn't know what to call myself you know, I felt like you don't want it you don't want to self limit right? If you say you're an interaction designer and someone needs like a logo or identity, you might be very skilled at that and still want to do the project but but feel like, you know, you're kind of you're limiting their perspective of you on dh so I just started calling myself a designer yeah, you know, I think, uh, if you're calling yourself a designer and then you're talking about your areas of specialization, it should clarify great writes, we gotta clarifying at the next step of that. Yeah, but, yeah, I think a lot of struggle with that. Um uh, yeah, I'm just thinking about this creative morning's talk that that rina tom gave and, you know, she was just very candid. Like, I do not know what to call myself. And that is so awesome. I was so, um uh, comforted to know that we're all kind of struggling with this and the terminology and the language does change. It definitely changes. And I just it was like, you know what? I'm gonna signer that's it. Yeah. And, you know, if you want to talk to me because you see my work and you see other stuff, I'm gonna help you clarify. Can you read it again? Would you mind are married? It? Sure. Okay. So so I'm monica, I'm a graphic designer. I work with startups and small businesses. A start of small businesses and nonprofits. Um on illustration, layout, photo editing and branding and marketing collateral on dh. I believe in clean, simple design that communicates well, yeah, so I totally love this, I think, I think. Like you did a really good job how did it feel saying it by the way was pretty pretty good and it feels pretty natural good. Yeah, the only thing I would say is maybe in the services you offer it's not every service that you offer, right? You know, I don't think that you have that you need to say every service that you offer if you work with start ups and small businesses um and nonprofits um I would even say maybe that you worked with startups and nonprofits or start ups and small businesses but our small businesses and nonprofits and forget the startup thing um and kind of narrow that down a little bit and then in the services that you offer um you know, you're offering marketing collateral um branding, illustration, layout, photo editing I would give her the layout and I feel like like if you're doing with uncle yeah, yeah, I would cover the layout and then of the illustration and photo editing, branding and marketing collateral what? What do you do all those equally or maybe illustration more. Yeah. What do you want to do? More of, um probably illustration. Yeah, yeah. So so maybe you could say something like, you know, I I let's see, I work with small businesses and nonprofits on, uh, illustration um branding and marketing collateral even the photo editing, right, like it seems like a lot of the things get folded in so it's hard that yeah, how much stuff do I pick out to mention? Yeah. I mean, I think unless photo editing is something that you like totally love. Well, describe what photo editing is for you. Well, I used to work in editorial design, so for me, that involved finding photographers and giving our attraction ok, and then later on choosing photos. Yeah, so? So I don't know, I might get rid of the photo editing. I feel like if you're doing marketing collateral and branding for photo editing is part of that. Yes, you know? And you could maybe and say something like illustration, art direction and marketing clatter. Yeah. Okay, you know, something like that because it's like, you know, let's like, elevate? Yeah, I like that. That's. Awesome. Thank you. You're so welcome. Anybody else? Okay? You're really helping me, but, my god, if anybody wants to do this after two, we can we can do this after, um ok, ok. Ready? I'm ready. Still ready? Yeah. Okay, so I'm jen baxter, um, and I, uh I haven't decided so I guess I'm the solar producer really yeah cool I mean that's awesome good for you I was not expecting that and I just super into that love it I feel like it yes you are lingo but I actually think you don't it yeah thanks. Um oh wow help you're you're you're just going to have a soul a producer and I work with scylla preneurs and nonprofits on dh and I offer my fight, my photography and my writing my luck I offer my love of photography and writing because I believe everybody has a unique story to tell that can be expressed by letting their natural essence and personality shine through she's hired right yeah, we know who she is we know what she believes in, you know she's chosen scylla preneurs and she's chosen to seek out other sola preneurs like I'm one of you and I'm helping you in this process and like really sharing her authenticity which is so great um I have one so one thing I feel I left out because so I love your I believe because I'm all about that yeah you like that the most important thing that's how people connect so really I am about change yeah and I'm about helping people through that change if they're making in their lives to either go freelance or do something different or even health changes you know and so I want to kind of incorporate that india what I believe because I feel like those are also the people I want to attract yeah so I don't want to call to this people are meaningless changes yeah so I think you're you believe in shepherding change or navigating change it's great right? You believe in going on that journey with your clients um but I don't like going on under any with you I mean, I probably have said you need to take clients on a journey but I think that's weird if you say that directly to someone I think two important come on this journey with me you're like um it's good people here with something that really I think it's not a party and it's in the desert that's different but yeah, not not for this yeah so I don't know I like um uh shut branches you're navigating, navigating change I think laura says investigating change which I love that I know I was a spy but anyway let's read yours again do you mind okay that I believe I'm no over the whole thing, okay, so I'm jen baxter I'm a solo preneurs cool and I work with other solo preneurs and nonprofits andi I love to use my photography and writing skills because I believe everybody has a unique story to tell that can be expressed by letting their natural essence and personality shine through andi I enjoy helping people navigate change I love that I totally love it um I feel it could be a slightly more concise yeah, but I don't know how to get you there I know I have to run the writer e s o I think is anything just slightly more concise you wanted to be brief concise you want people to get to get what it is about you but you do I don't want it to be like overly um already or for both you and I think you're almost there but I think what's going to happen is you're gonna have to give something up okay um and and you can convey that through other thing you're not going to give anything up that you believe, so I'm not trying to give it to you that but but in this in this kind of concise pitch type of thing maybe give give something up on dh kind of elevate like we did like we did with the previous example, but yeah, maybe we'll work on it after I ask because I can't quickly think of like I would just change this to that and then you're done okay? But I love it and congratulations on being a solar preneurs thank you our first entrepreneur of the class will there be any others way don't know

Class Description

You need more than technical skills to make it as freelance designer. You have to know how to land projects and keep jobs over the long haul. Becoming a Successful Freelancer with Arianna Orland is your guide to managing the logistics of freelance life.

Arianna is a freelancer doing business in the saturated market of San Francisco and knows exactly what it takes to get and keep clients. In this class, she’ll cover the tips, tools, and strategies you need to have in place to be successful as a freelancer. 

This class covers:

  • Branding: Guidelines for creating a design language that’s right for you
  • Collateral: A roundup everything you need – website, business card, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Clients: Building your client list and keeping them happy
  • Finances: Keeping up on taxes and budgeting
  • Management: How to stay on top of your projects and time

Freelancing gives you the flexibility you won’t find in a 9-5, but it comes with a whole range of responsibilities. Find out how to prepare for those in Becoming a Successful Freelancer with Arianna Orland.


Will Vu

I watched the free live and can't help myself by purchasing this class. It's a valuable lesson from a humble and humorous Arianna. I love your presentation very much. Wish u the best. Thanks or bringing us this course, CreativeLive. !

Cherice Pope

Arianna gives real advice on deciding if the freelance lifestyle is right for you by describing what it's like, business skills you will need to learn, doing a gut check with yourself, how to get clients and promote yourself, and discussing a variety of experiences with other designers. She also goes in depth on differences between working at a company versus working with a company as a business. Her information is clear and wonderful. I greatly appreciate the time and effort put into making this valuable course.


Thank you Arianna for an informative course. Its heartening to know that there are other designers like me that don't come out of design school :) Your guests were a wealth of information as well, specially Peter's bulleted list.