Are you struggling to fill your design schedule and make ends meet? Don’t sit in your own filth and get down. You have many proactive ways to get graphic design work out of nowhere, if you just keep busy.
Ask for work nicely
Inquiring about possible work is not annoying if done properly. The key is to only ask when you absolutely need it. I don’t know how many times I’ve been running low and sent a friendly email to my past clients. Something as simple as:
“Hi XXX, Hope you are doing well (or long time no talk). I really enjoyed working together on your last project. I was wondering if you might need assistance with any projects coming up? I’m free this week and next. Thanks!”
Don’t pester your client list on the weekly. You know their personalities, so know the threshold. No mass emails. Make it personal.
Recommend improvement projects
Tell your clients how they could improve their business, but don’t be forceful. Respect a “NO,” and thank them for replying. Friendliness will get you the job later down the road.
“I noticed your website isn’t functioning properly. Would you be interested in opening a project to fix that problem?”
Flex your network
Get out and talk. Let people know what you’ve been up to at social gatherings. Check your local AIGA chapter or get together with friends from college. Perhaps you can have a conversation with a developer or entrepreneur. That conversation may end up getting you a recommendation.
Ask past clients or colleagues about learning resources. Recently, I asked a client to recommend an SEO book or resources to me. He replied kindly with a helping hand, but also asked me how my business was doing. He then offered new freelance work.
Blog like there’s no tomorrow
Blogging is my major outlet. It gives me a reason to learn, prove/share knowledge, and inspire others. I think of my design blog as a resume that mails itself. Keep a contact form button in plain view so curious business owners can send you project inquiries.
Don’t have one? Check out my hosting service.
Do projects for yourself
Make good art. Create things that are truly satisfactory whether you get paid or not. I built my new FreelanceFolio WordPress theme while I was in a drought. There was no official plan to sell it, but I’ve received inquiries from businesses wanting custom WP themes.
Keep yourself busy with self-projects and passive design work. Check out Neil Gaiman’s speech to pump yourself up.