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Creative, Inc.

The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business

By Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho
  • Read in 18 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 11 key ideas
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Creative, Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho

Creative, Inc. (2010) provides a handy step-by-step guide to setting up and running a freelance business. Clearly structured and packed with tips on everything from advertising and agents to portfolios and pricing, this is an indispensable guide for those considering turning their artistic talents into a freelance career.

Key idea 1 of 11

Establish a unique brand that you feel comfortable with.

So you’ve proved that you’re highly adept at your creative skill. Whether you’re an illustrator, graphic designer, writer or photographer, you’ve now decided to go it alone and work as a freelancer. Of course, there’s a lot to think about. So where should you start?

Firstly, creating a strong brand identity will set you apart and help you reach your target audience. Selecting the right company name is hugely important. After all, it’s the first impression potential customers get of your business, and something that will endure as your market grows.

Using your own name is common for solo freelancers. This might cause you problems later down the line if you plan to collaborate, or you share a name with an established brand: Pat Starbucks, Freelance Web Designer, for instance, might face some legal issues if they went eponymous!

So you must check that the name is not already in use. Ideally, your business name will feel right to you and garner positive reactions from others. For example, when Matt, Jenny and Julia of freelance business Also arrived at their name, it caused them to scream with excitement. They loved it, as it didn’t tie them to a particular niche.

The next step is to work on your branding: how will you present your business to the world? Your brand should give a strong impression of your business’s identity. Is it about rustic design or a sleek, polished finish?

Whatever you decide on, always ensure your logo, typeface and business card all carry the same feel. You might even consider hiring a specialist to help create your logo, as the better it is, the more professional you’ll look.

Communication, both visual and verbal, also make a huge difference. The way you advertise, conduct business and interact with clients all contribute to your brand identity. Photographer Thayer Allyson Gowdy recommends having a clear, personal style to inspire the potential clients you want to reach within your target market. A unique brand that reflects your personality will convey a strong message about your business.

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