Building Your Reputation as a New Freelancer
Building your reputation as a student designer takes a combination of time, patience and (consistently) good work. Reputation is an aspect of your career that could make or break you; It take years to build and minutes to destroy. A good reputation is something that can’t be achieved overnight. It is the continuous string of good work or deeds that can give you a golden reputation among clients, peers and employers which can open up many opportunities in your career you wouldn’t of had before.
Reputation Takes Time
Ensuring quality and consistency in your work is obviously the best way to position yourself with a great reputation. Being an “unknown” in the industry is frustrating as a student designer, but if you continually provide valuable information and are helpful within the community, people will begin to take notice. This, of course, doesn’t happen over night – it takes years to build up a bullet-proof reputation. Having patience will help you reach your goal.
Bad Rep Takes No Time
If you have a bad rep, it sticks. Many students may think that making mistakes will give you a bad reputation – this is not true. Making the odd mistake is okay, and a great learning experience for you to bounce back from. A bad reputation is curated from producing mediocre work or being rude to other people. If you have a bad reputation, it will be hard for you to find people that genuinely want to work with you.
Making the odd mistake is okay, and a great learning experience for you to bounce back from.
How to Build Your Reputation
There are many ways, as a student web designer, to build your reputation throughout your college years and possibly even before you start attending school. The earlier you begin working on your reputation, the easier it will be to build upon a solid reputation that’s already in development. The following ideas are a few areas that you can start on now to increase your reputation within the web design industry.
There is an abundance of web design blogs on the web – but why? They are each successful in their own way, whether it be to provide information back into the community, make money off advertising, etc. Blogging can greatly benefit you when starting out in your field. Writing establishes you as someone who contributes to the community and knows what they are talking about. This looks very appealing in the eyes of clients and prospective employers. It proves that you are passionate about what you do and what to help improve the industry by contributing your thoughts and experiences.
Twitter is the main hub where designers come together to discuss the latest in web design and make connections with other designers. If you’re not engaged in these conversations, you are truly missing out on a great opportunity. Have a plan when it comes to building your reputation through social media. Present yourself in an appropriate way, one you feel that will help attract more people to follow you. When people follow you on Twitter, they are expecting to be enriched in some way from listening and interacting with what you have to say. With this being said, avoid being spammy. Everyone hates spam and it won’t win you any friends.
Have a plan when it comes to social media.
Word of Mouth
It’s not about who you know, it’s about who knows you. Always be nice to other people online because you never know who will give you your next job. With the technological advancement of social media, information spreads fast. Web design is very much a referral business. If you build your reputation, designers will be more likely to pass work onto you or refer you to employers who are looking for new talent.
Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
Honestly, no one will want to work with you if you have no personality. There’s a time and a place to be professional, but if you’re professional all the time, it’s hard for people and clients to relate to you at all. If you can establish a consistent style and personality in your writing and interactions through blogging and social media, you’re more likely to attract a solid base of followers.
Being reliable, respectful and having a personality will get you far when it comes to building your reputation. Ultimately, building your reputation is about gaining respect from peers, designers, clients and possible employers as someone who delivers exceptional work and exceeds expectations. Having this reputation within the design industry will ultimately open new doors to opportunities such as jobs. Bottom line, be nice to others and you shall receive the same in return.