The next step in building my design business: what makes a great portfolio site?

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Designers often work so diligently for clients, we often forget to work for ourselves. Our own logos, collateral such as business cards and websites, and marketing campaigns suffer a bit of (okay, a fair amount of) neglect as we delegate all of our creative energies to our clients’ projects. What finally got me off my duff and devoting serious time and effort to my portfolio website was finishing the design of my business card. I’ve been asked for business cards

Should designers charge to “resend” files after the project is long finished?

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Every once and a while I hang out in freelancing forums and read what other freelancers are struggling with. Yesterday, I read a really interesting question that went something like this: “Should I charge old clients for re-sending old files?” I thought it was an excellent question! (Let me know your answer by leaving a comment.) We’ve all had it happen before: A client hires you to design a logo (or whatever you specialize in), you send the final files,

A freelance designer’s target audience: how do you find it?

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“Who’s your target audience?” Lately, I’ve been asking a lot of designers that question because I’ve been offering 5 business critiques per month lately and that means digging deep into how designers build and market their businesses. But I’m worried. Because the most common answer I get is something like: “Anyone who needs logo design, I guess.” And I have bad news for anyone who gives that sort of answer: You’re going about it all wrong! See, it’s your job as

Freelancing is tough. Are you ready for it?

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One of the most important, overlooked aspects of owning your own design business is preparation for the inevitable rainy day. What would you do if something happened and you needed to take some time off? If you can’t pay your upcoming mortgage? If you realize you aren’t able to survive solely as a freelance designer? Today I’ve got three solid tips for ensuring you can survive those lean months, unplanned expenditures, or unexpected life events. Save. Save. Save. When business

How designers can charge more without having an awkward client conversation

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You all know April, right? If you don’t yet, I would recommend you read through some of her posts here at GDB. She’s quickly becoming a seriously great author on this blog. Not only does she write about some awesome stuff (as evidenced by the number of comments, tweets, and shares that her posts get), but she’s also a great business person. (At least I think so, after you read this post, let me know if you agree or if

My design client “hates” my first proof. Now what?

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True story: I was on the phone going over some proofs with a new client just last week and he starts the conversation by saying, “I hate it.” Those are pretty harsh words to swallow for any designer, especially coming from a client I don’t know very well. Part of me appreciated his honesty (so we could go about making something he does like), and part of me was, well, a little crushed…and scared I’d just lost a client. My

Do freelancers really need accountants?

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Tax season is upon us in the United States; and it’s never fun. (Hey GDB readers from around the world, help me out here: when is tax season – if any – in your country? Leave a comment!) But today, I wanted to answer a question I hear all the time from freelance designers: “Do I really need an accountant?” Can’t a competent freelance designer just do their own taxes? Today, I’d like to take a stab at answering that

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