How to Successfully Launch a Freelance Career
Posted Monday, 5 February 2007 by Kirsty Pargeter in Design
Are you a 9-5 employee dreaming of branching out on your own? Or perhaps a student seeing the post-studies world looming on the horizon? Perhaps you are looking to initiate a creative career, but aren't sure where to start?
Get your tips for launching a successful solo career from Crestock's most productive and commercially successful contributor, who has done just that.
UK based Kirsty Pargeter
currently works full-time as a freelance illustrator; she gave up her day job in order to follow her dream and pursue a creative career. Kirsty has been among the first illustrators to take full advantage of the micro-stock boom, which allows her to effortlessly promote and sell her work to a global audience.
This proved to be a wise choice – her freelance career has been an incredible success story. Unquestionable talent combined with plenty of hard work has brought her to the top of her game in record time. And all that without having to drag a portfolio around, knocking on doors, or making endless calls to prospective clients – two activities that are often the time-consuming facts of life for the freelance up-start.
We asked Kirsty to put together a list of tips on how she managed to get to where she is today in such a short time. We're sure this will be pretty useful stuff not only to the micro-stockers among you, but to anyone contemplating a career as a freelance designer, illustrator or photographer:
Make sure you have a look at Kirsty's fantastic portfolio
- RESEARCH! The most important thing in the design business is to research lots! Like fashion, image styles change very regularly – it is very important to regularly research what style is “trendy”. The best place I find for this is to surf the internet, watch advertising on tv and to look at adverts in magazines.
- Develop a very thick skin – you will not survive in the design business if you take criticism personally. If you get an image rejected, the best thing to do is to learn from the reason you had the image rejected and to move on!
- Learn your software/camera inside out. If you know your tools well you will produce good results.
- Be individual! It’s always good if you develop your own unique style.
- Produce seasonal images well in advance – I always work about 3 to 4 months in advance so I start producing Christmas images in September!
- Be dedicated. It takes a lot of hard work, time and effort to be successful in the microstock industry. You have to regularly upload images to keep your images in “view”. Before I became self employed I used to work full time through the day and I dedicated my evenings and weekends to my design. Luckily now I dedicate all my time to design!
- Keep a scrapbook of images you see that you like as this helps with the creativity process. I am regularly tearing images from magazines or newspapers because I like the style, colours or just a certain part of the image. This means that when I get a design block I just pull out my scrapbook and the creative juices start flowing again!
- Be patient. Don’t rush to finish your design or don’t rush when taking photographs. Set up and preparation is a very important part of photography. Also, don’t just take a couple of photos – if you have taken the time to set a still life then it is always best to take lots of photos using different angles, different depth of fields, different apertures etc.. This ensures that you will have more chance of achieving the perfect photo.
- Quality not quantity. Although it is important to build a large portfolio – it’s better to have a smaller portfolio full of good quality images rather than a huge portfolio of mediocre images. Take time on each image and ensure it is as good as you can make it.
- Last but not least - enjoy your work! It is no good being in the design business if you don’t enjoy it – if you enjoy your work, this will be reflected in your images!
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