How To Get Clients As A Freelance Illustrator [Complete Guide]

Knowing how to illustrate is one thing but getting clients is another. Striving to learn how to freelance better is your always task for succeeding

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When you are a freelancer, a recurring fear is not being able to generate constant income due to the lack of clients, since they are usually the main source of how you can generate profits. 

Without clients, you cannot grow as a freelancer. But that should not be a fear but a motivation, since it is possible to achieve getting clients using simple strategies such as creating a portfolio website or using online job platforms. 

The key is to be consistent, responsible, and work hard. Remember that although you are looking for clients, there is a very large market of clients looking for a freelancer with your skills.

1. Have A Portfolio Website

 

You live in a very competitive world, with a lot of offer but also demand, so you may have to compete with other professionals who also want to achieve the same projects as you. 

It is important to differentiate yourself from others and make a good presentation that defines your work. 

Your best cover letter will always be your previous projects, especially if they demonstrate your skills and versatility as an illustrator. If you want to learn about how to build a portfolio website, in this guide you will find everything you need to know.

There are many platforms where you can create your portfolio website, such as Wix, WordPress, Behance, or Dribbble. You just have to find the one that best suits your needs and see with which you can transmit who you are as a freelancer. 

It is recommended that you take your time and think very well about how you are going to design it and what information you want to offer. 

You should also bear in mind that your portfolio is a place to convert visitors into interested clients, so it is important to invest effort in its design, to attract the attention of clients. 

Also, choose carefully which projects you want to show, to demonstrate to potential clients your level of professionalism and experience.When choosing which works to display on your website, you must make sure that they represent you as an illustrator. 

Do not show anything that is not related to the area in which you really want to work. For example, if you want to specialize in children’s illustration, be sure to show works that are related to that, because if you show other things you will make clients believe that you also want or can do that type of work. 

The best thing you can do is being consistent with a single style and show work that you have developed using different techniques or software. That will show how skilled you are.

Source: The LA Johnson

2. Blog On Your Site

 

One of the online tools that day by day acquires vital importance is the presence of a blog integrated into your website since if you create one, there are many things you can do with it apart from showing your previous work. 

You can create a blogging section to talk about topics that would interest your potential clients or colleagues.

Having a blog incorporated into your website will not only help you to be closer to your audience and earn their trust, but it will also be a key piece on your way to positioning your brand. 

The purpose of this is to generate in people a genuine interest in your website and the content you create, not just to show them your illustrations. 

You can create posts about why they should hire an illustrator for certain tasks, what are the best software to use, or even tell personal experiences about the projects you have done.

Generating content of interest is key to attracting customers. You can even optimize your articles using SEO, that way your posts will rank better in Google searches and have a better chance of being seen by potential customers. 

This will also help you expand your online presence, which means that more people will be able to find you on the web, see what you do, and hire your services.

Blogging about relevant topics in a professional way will position yourself as an expert in the field and this will make you gain a favorable and positive opinion from your public. 

If users trust your knowledge, the information you provide, the answers you give them, or in short, if they trust your work as an illustrator, they are more likely to end up becoming your clients. 

Also, doing this will put you ahead of those other competing websites that do not have a blog built into their website.

Source: Express Writers

3. Promote Yourself on Social Media

 

In recent years, social networks have gone from being a good idea to share day-to-day moments, to be a mandatory tool to promote your brand or work. Of all the communication platforms, the social ones stand out the most. 

Customers and businesses can easily interact on social media, whether it is to ask questions, repost content or work on creating strong relationships they all seem to benefit any business.

Choose the Correct Platforms

 

There is no type of social platform that lacks space to share content because every day they grow more and more. This makes sharing your content on the right platforms crucial to your success. 

Once you determine which channels to use, you should consider your customers and your business. It is important that you create accounts on platforms that your target audience uses, as it is easier for them to connect with you this way. 

Spend a little time researching which platforms your audience uses the most, and use them too. Some of the platforms you can use are Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. There is a large community of illustrators on Twitter. 

It will not only serve you to show your work but to connect with other illustrator colleagues and increase the chances of being recommended to a client. 

Here illustrators usually support each other by sharing the work of other colleagues, which makes your creations reach a much wider audience.

Instagram is also a platform widely used by illustrators and graphic artists in general. It lends itself a lot to collaborate and interact with followers. 

You can even carry out activities to reach a higher audience, such as giveaways. Both on Twitter and Instagram you can use hashtags like #illustrationartist or #illustrationcommunity and this will help you to tag your posts so that the public who is interested in that content can find it easily.

On Facebook there is the possibility of belonging to groups specially created for illustrators, there you can meet other illustrators and also find out about events, news, and even job offers. 

In these groups, you will surely also find people interested in hiring your services as its a place for clients to look for professionals too. Facebook groups are a great place to publicize your work and build connections with colleagues that can empower you.

4. Increase Your Exposure on Design Platforms

 

For people to notice you, you need to let them know that you are available. In fact, you should also belong to different design platforms where you will find a community of illustrators with whom you can grow. 

The objective of these platforms is that you can show your creations and receive feedback from other illustrators and also make yourself noticed in the community. 

Some of the platforms you can use are DeviantArt, Behance, Dribble, and Coroflot. 

In general, on these websites you can create a portfolio, show what you do, and talk a little about yourself. These are profiles that you can also share with clients, so they can see who you are and what you do.

By being part of these platforms, of course, your chances of finding clients will also increase. 

For example, in Deviantart, you have the option to monetize your work through merchandise such as posters, cards, and anything that can be printed using your creations, so it is an excellent option to make yourself known and start making money. 

Being part of such an active community of creators gives you the power to connect with new contacts that could influence your career.

5. Send Cold Emails To Art Directors

 

To get clients, you have to keep an active search. Perhaps illustrators with more years of experience receive many proposals through their portfolio website or profiles on social networks, but when that is not the case, it will be you who should approach first. 

It depends on the type of illustration you do, you can approach certain niches and offer your services, but in general, a good option is to write to art directors. 

To find these professionals, just search within the platforms for graphic artists mentioned above, or on social networks. 

Write an email greeting them cordially, tell them why you contacted them, and give a brief explanation of who you are. You can attach some of your work or better yet, attach the link to your portfolio website. 

To obtain results, you must constantly carry out this task, write to different people, and strive to write quality emails. 

Don’t give up if you don’t get positive responses or even no responses at all at first, this is completely normal. The trick is to not get discouraged and keep in mind that there are hundreds of other potential clients that you can write to.

6. Join Freelance Job Platforms

 

64% of freelancers have found work online, this means that online job platforms are ideal for establishing contact with clients. 

This is an excellent idea especially if you are just starting to work as a freelancer and do not have much experience, since these platforms will help you access job offers that you would not find otherwise. 

In general, on these platforms you should create a profile very similar to what your resume is, explaining your skills and experiences in the niche. You can also upload some of your work  for clients evaluate and see if your style suits what they want. 

There are many online job platforms and some are Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer.com, PeoplePerHour, and FlexJobs

Each one offers different advantages and also varies in the way you apply for jobs or receive payments, so you should research them to define which one is best for you.

Source: Slideshare

7. Maintain Relationships With Your Clients

 

Being a freelance illustrator does not only require you to only be in charge of making your creations but of everything you need to run a business. 

This means that you must also learn how to promote your business and services and treat your customers. 

Many clients may be looking for you for a single specific project, but if you treat them well and give them a product that satisfies them, they will likely come to you again when they need another illustration. 

For that reason, you must take care of maintaining communication with your clients even after having worked for them. Keeping in touch will make them not forget you and keep you in mind for any need. 

One way to keep in touch with them is by sending them an email every so often, with some interesting content or promotions for having been your customers. That will keep them interested in your work.

One of the ways you can improve and maintain your business is by establishing and cultivating a good relationship with your customer. 

This will allow your business to grow and differentiate itself from the multitude of businesses that sell the same product or offer the same services as your business. 

No matter how good your job or service is, if you do not have a good relationship with your clients, then your freelance career can suffer. 

You can also consider that maintaining a good relationship with the customer is an investment in the future of your freelance business, since a good relationship with the customer can generate referrals and therefore, more customers for you.

Helpful Tips

 

Stay Patient

 

Patience is one of the most important virtues in life and also at work. In an environment so marked by the achievement of immediate objectives, competitiveness, and deadlines, patience becomes an ingredient of resilience that increases your level of happiness in the professional field. 

There will be times when you feel like you are trying too hard for the little you get in return, but these are normal times in all work. 

On those occasions, you must have the patience to continue working and hope to obtain results in the long term. Patience will help you not to give up and to continue working for what you want.

Work Hard

 

To get great results, you must work hard. Especially when you are starting, you may feel that being a freelancer is harder than you expected. Worst  case is that you don’t get clients or earn what you expected, but you must remember that the best freelancers were at some point in the same place as you. 

Hard work is what will lead you to advance professionally, but for this, you must be consistent. If you work hard for a week and then quit, you are ruining your own effort. Do not be discouraged at uncertain times and try to keep working to achieve the goals you want. With effort, you will be able to advance to the next level.

Also, you must know that hard work is not something you will only need at the beginning of your freelance career, but at times when you feel overwhelmed by work or when you feel stuck. With perseverance, you will stand out from the competition and grow professionally.

Be a Good Listener

 

Within the community of freelance illustrators, you will surely find some with a lot of experience and who have been working in the niche for several years. 

Take into account their advice and listen to their recommendations, since that way you can avoid making mistakes that they have made in the past. 

Listening carefully to recommendations from other freelancers or professional illustrators is something you should never stop doing, so you will save yourself trouble, and also this will make your freelance career grow. 

Some freelancers even decide to find a mentor who guides them, which is a great idea to find out how to advance in your freelance career.

It is All About Constancy and Hard Work

 

Like many other jobs, clients are indispensable to the success of freelance illustrators. Clients are the source of work and therefore, of income, so if you want to progress as a professional you should pay attention to them and give them importance. 

As you go you will learn and get better at finding clients, treating them and maintaining those relationships to ensure long term success. 

The internet is one of the best tools for any business, to make yourself known you will have to invest in expanding your online presence in order to reach many other potential clients and opportunities. 

You will achieve this through your portfolio website and being an active participant in online art and design communities. Sometimes all this may seem like a tedious task, but with perseverance hard work and remembering why you started you will be able to create a solid base of clients and people interested in your services.

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