So you’re a designer. You’re good with Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. Maybe you’ve even started your own freelance business or are thinking of doing so. But how do you find great design clients? It can be tough – especially when there are so many other designers out there competing for the same work. That’s why we’ve put together this video to help you find more graphic design clients and thrive in your freelance career!
Why Am I Teaching You to Find Great Design Clients?
Do you know why it bothers me that you may be struggling to find decent, well-paying clients? Well, it’s because I care. Seeing graphic designers be starving artists is one of the most frustrating things, and I know how frustrating it is because I lived it. I walked it out myself. I’m thankfully no longer having to do that because I’ve leveled up the people around me – I’ve been able to delegate to people.
These challenges in my business are something I’ve been able to solve by surrounding myself with great people and knowing where to hunt and where to farm. Finding work should not be something that’s that complicated for you; you just have to know where to hunt and where to farm. So, in this video article, I’m going to give you four resources.
Four Ways to Find Great Design Clients
There are four ways to bring in more graphic design work in 2022 than you’ve done previously. You may have used one of these in the past, but you haven’t probably used it effectively. So, I’m going to go through all four of these in depth. I want to give you a quick understanding of how to get the most out of these as possible.
Step One: Understanding Where Your Ideal Clients Are
so the first way to get more graphic design work web design work motion design work is understanding where your ideal clients are and where they are is probably on linkedin so number one is linkedin this is a social media platform for the business the business marketplace if you’re not actively messaging and building relationships on linkedin what is wrong with you like seriously you need to be on linkedin i don’t want to hear excuses about how linkedin’s boring or linkedin’s this or linkedin is that linkedin is your place if you’re a creative if you’re a designer that is where your clients are that is where the clients are going to pay you what you’re worth are that is where the relationships are going to be formed they can bring you other relationships that you didn’t even think were possible large companies large clients with large budgets and so the first place for you to start is on linkedin now if you’re going to use linkedin you need to understand what works and what doesn’t work i don’t have time to go in depth because i’ve done that on other videos but to keep it as simple as possible is you need to build real friendships just because it’s a business platform they’re still people this is one of the secret ingredients of why i do so well is because i love people doesn’t matter if they’re professional if they’re a non-profit person if they’re a nun or a or a pastor it doesn’t matter i love to get to know people i want to understand them i want to help them i want to know where their challenges are i want to know what they’re they’re great at what makes them up in the morning these are all important questions that i ask them and i like to ask myself and this is something that you can do on LinkedIn
How to Target People on LinkedIn
First, you’ll want to connect with people. Step one is connecting with people. Go check out their profile and look for people that fit your same core values or have the same kind of background. You can also target people on LinkedIn by looking for those who work at a company you’re passionate about.
There’s a really nice little search feature that you can use right at the top under people. You can filter it down and find people in your area. Maybe it’s just people in your community that you want to connect with on LinkedIn. This is a really good way, and the people that are active on LinkedIn are going to understand what you understand after watching this video. LinkedIn is a powerful revenue-generating and lead-generating tool for you.
How to Use Linkedin the Right Way
The second piece to this is, once you’ve actually connected with them, do not pitch them. Do not send them a four-paragraph message. All you need to do is introduce yourself. Say “Hey, thanks so much for connecting. I’m really grateful to meet you.” And then ask them a question. Every good relationship that I’ve ever been in, whether it’s somebody on my team or somebody out in the day-to-day life of what I’m doing in my personal life, always starts with some sort of question. “Hey, how’s it going? I’m Adrian.” Anything but “What do you do for a living?” Obviously, on LinkedIn, you’re going to be able to know that already. So, you’re going to need to do that due diligence.
But find something that is something that you love about them and point that out. “Hey, I really admired what you said to this person on this comment.” Or, “Hey, I really love this post that you put out.” Or, “Hey, I really love that video that you shared.” Anything to show them that you actually care because you genuinely need to care. If you’re just doing this for the money, you’re not going to get much value out of my content. But if you actually care about people, you want to help the world become a better place with your skills and talents. LinkedIn is an amazing place to do that.
Building Strong Relationships
You’re going to have to go out there and build some real relationships once you’ve built that relationship equity and you’ve built that friendship with them. That is your opportunity to say, “Hey, I’d love to go deeper. Would you be interested in hopping on a call with me? I’d love to just see if there are any synergies here. I already see that we have some common interests. I’d love to get on a call with you and do a discovery call.”
Keep that discovery call short. Make sure you have an easy way for them to book at a convenient time for them. So what you can do is use something like Calendly. Send them a calendar link. Say, “Hey, I would just love to chat with you for 15 minutes. If there’s nothing for us, I’ll never bug you again. But I just want to get on the phone or Zoom with you to find out…I want to build on this friendship–to build on this relationship. Let me know if that would be something you’d be open to.” Usually, people will say yes.
Now you’re not going to get everybody to say yes, but a certain amount of people will say yes. Remember, it’s a numbers game, and if you give up after a week, after two weeks, or after a month, that’s on you. Why you’re in the position looking for more graphic design work is because you haven’t been taking action where you need to consistently. I’ve done this myself; I’m literally talking to myself here at the same time.
Step Two: Build a Funnel to Find Great Design Clients
Step two is building a funnel if you have never built a funnel before and you have no clue of what to do, that’s okay because there’s going to be a video coming for you on that. A funnel is a series and a journey that you take your potential prospect, somebody who doesn’t know who you are, all the way to a closed deal. What does that journey look like? Some of it uses email automation and nurturing sequences and things like that. The biggest piece of it is education.
You don’t want to just say “Hey, I do XYZ Service for $150” (or $50, or $250) and be that guy that’s just blasting stuff all over everyone’s timeline. If you want to separate yourself from everybody else in the marketplace and you actually want to bring in real clients who respect your talent, your time, and your experience, then you’re going to want to go out and educate the marketplace. There is a lot of really bad information out there. That’s why I’m using YouTube to educate and help level up the marketplace. When I do that, in return I get subscribers, people in my community, and all kinds of benefits I can turn into revenue. So what I want you to do is use this funnel as an education-based lead magnet.
How to Create an Education-Based Lead Magnet
You have an area of expertise in something. I don’t know what that is, but it could be graphic design, logo design, web design, or motion design. It could also be funnel knowledge that you have. You need to take that knowledge and document it. Part of documenting it is putting it onto documentation and itemizing everything that you know about the topic. Then you need to go into a deep discovery on each of those topics and create a document that is visually appealing and can be used as an info product.
Info products are very powerful – it’s a way that you can build your email list. By giving out this info product, you spend 10, 20, 30, 50 hours on it, and in return, you get an email, and you get them to be part of your community or you get them to be part of your email list. Then, the more you stay in touch with them, the better information and the more value you deliver to them; eventually, when you put out an offer, they will buy from you at their time, not yours. So this is something to think about – you really need to build a funnel in 2022 if you haven’t done so already.
This is your opportunity to do that this year, and I can help you with the article I posted last week. If you need help one-on-one, all you have to do is reach out to me. So I’m curious: have you ever built a funnel, or not? Definitely reach out and let me know. Maybe you have a website but you don’t have a funnel and you don’t even know what kind of funnel you would build. What skill sets can you share? What knowledge can you share to actually create a funnel and actually make money? What’s the offer? Well, I’ll be helping you with all that. All you have to do is reach out and introduce yourself. We’re going to be doing some training videos in the Instagraphics Pro Network soon.
Step Three: Ask for Referrals
Number three is an easy one. Are you ready for this super easy ask for referrals? It’s so simple because all you have to do is post to ask your friends, your colleagues, your co-workers, people that you have in your community, people on Facebook. Say, “Hey look, I’m really trying to level up this year and I’m looking for five people to do this for. I’m willing to offer it at a discounted price just for them because they came from you or I’m willing to kick you back something.”
Incentivize them as well, by saying, “Hey, I’m looking for three referrals. If you hook me up with a referral, I’d be happy to do a free design for you.” Or, “Hey, if you get me three referrals, I’d be happy to print you a free set of business cards.” Or, “Hey, get me three referrals and I’ll make you a custom video intro right away.” Incentivize people to give you referrals and actually give them a system to do that, so you can create a Google form and ask to have three fields for them to fill out with the names of three friends that they think would be good to reach out to.
You can also utilize this on LinkedIn, so one of the things I did is I went to my LinkedIn profile and said, “Hey, Timothy. Can I reach out to all the people you’re connected to and see if they’re interested in any of my design work?” He said, “Yes.” I went to all of Timothy’s connections, the thousands of connections that Timothy had. I said “Hey man, Timothy recommended that you and I connect. I do graphics; I’m really highly specialized in brand identity and brand strategy. I looked at some of your stuff and I could see that you may need some help. I’d love to just help you for free if you’d be interested in that. Please reach out to me.”
I was able to reach dozens of people off of that, so this is just an example I wanted to give you of asking for referrals on LinkedIn over the phone or on social media face-to-face. If you don’t ask, you’ll never receive; so you need to go out there and ask for referrals. I usually ask anyone for people anywhere from three to seven referrals, just depending on the kind of person. But this is where I’ve been able to build the place that I have today and get over 5,000 clients because every client always sends me one or two people. That’s just part of my business model.
Step Four: Find Great Design Clients in Your Network
The last step is networking if you’re not out there networking, not just in Facebook groups but in face-to-face environments like chambers of commerce and conferences and webinars and meetup groups and anything that you can get into. If you’re not out there networking with people on a daily or weekly basis, then this is a problem. This is why your funnel and pipeline are empty – you need to go out and put yourself out there. Tell people about what you do, and why you do it. This is an important piece too – they don’t care just about what you do, they want to know why you’re doing it.
Explain how you worked for an agency that was ripping people off and doing really low-quality work with people overseas. “I just didn’t want to do that,” or “they outsourced my job,” or whatever the reason is, you need to have a strong “why”. If you don’t have a “why,” I will have a video for that as well. But it’s important for you to actually get face to face with people and build those relationships. Shake the hands and get to know people and share what you do. Mastermind groups and communities like we have with Instagraphics are so many ways to do this, but you need to go out there and take the action to make this happen.
Final Thoughts Finding Great Clients
So those are my four tips. I would love to know which one do you think was most impactful for you, because I will make a specific training and go super deep on just one of those for you if you’d like. So I’m going to be creating a lot of new content in 2022. I would love your feedback if you have any questions, or if you have a video that you would like me to make for you, please let me know as well.
I want to hear from you and I look forward to seeing you guys on the Instagraphics Pro Network on Facebook. If you’re not already there, make sure you join us! I would love to have you there. Fill out all the questions and we’ll let you in. We’re doing amazing things over here! We’ve got events all kinds of cool stuff coming up. I don’t have time to go into it today, but I’ll see you guys on the next video. I’m Adrian Boysel, and as always, keep looking up!