Don’t Sell Yourself Short!

I recently started focusing more seriously on my freelance business. While researching the ins and outs of the industry and  trying to gather new clients, I quickly began to notice something that bothered me. If you’re a fellow freelancer, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Most clients don’t value the work of a designer.

There seems to be this mistaken impression that artists and designers simply push the ‘make great art’ button on the computer, and out pops fantastic graphic creations tailored to the needs of the client.
What bothered me more were the insulting advertisements online for designers.
Most used lines like:

‘I need a graphic design student to design my company logo’

or

‘I’m not offering money but this would be a great project for your portfolio’

or my personal favourite

‘Logo Competition!’
where the client expected students and professionals alike to climb over each other in a frenzy to get the job.

Now I know there are competitive design sites and for some people, that might work.
The problem I have is that this sort of attitude severely damages our industry and is (at least to me) extremely insulting. It cheapens the work we do and makes it harder for us to make a decent living.

It would be like me saying to a room of doctors who have spent many years of sacrifice and hard work to earn their doctorates, that to make a living they would have to compete with one another for patients and in the end would only get $50 because it would be great experience for them. It’s completely disrespectful to their skills and the work they do.

I’m not saying what we designers do is as stressful or intense as what doctors do, but it requires a great deal of talent, skill, education and experience like most other jobs and should be held in the same regard as any other skilled profession.

If you’re a designer, don’t waste time on cheap clients who don’t respect you or what you do. Instead use that time to find other clients willing to pay you correctly. It will lead to healthier relationships and better work overall.
Also remember to always remain polite and diplomatic even when turning work away, but be firm and resolved in where you draw the line.

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Categories: Journal

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2 replies »

  1. I totally agree with this I’ve just started freelancing fresh out of university.I advertise regularly online and I see this a lot of these post on sites like gumtree.com etc I even had somebody contact me with a internship request when I was asking for paid freelance work I simply commented saying that “internships do not fit my financial needs” at which point they were happy to pay me. it just frustrates me when companies take advantage of the term internship.

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  2. Yes it is a shame. Sadly since writing this post I’ve continued to experience the harsh reality of securing freelance work regularly. I still stick by what I said though. It does the industry a disservice to undercut fellow competitors in the way some people do, and even worse to accept work for no pay.
    In the words of the immortal Heath Ledger’s joker:
    “If you’re good at something, never do it for free”.

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