Are you artistic? Do you enjoy putting together creative images? Is your favorite part of Pinterest the pages and pages of beautiful and interesting pins? Do interesting color combinations come easily to you? You might be cut out to be a graphic designer!
Graphic design is a great way to make some money from home. It’s one of those fields that can accommodate a wide range of talents and interests. If you’ve got the interest or aptitude for graphic design, don’t let a lack of education or experience put you off.
The truth is, there are some graphic designers with tons of experience and education, who can play integral roles in putting together logos and branding packages for companies. There are other graphic designers who learn the craft by studying it and absorbing good graphic design principles, maybe read a few books or take a course, and are able to deliver great designs to their clients.
Ways to Be a Graphic Designer
Generally speaking, there are just a few ways you can be a graphic designer. One is to be a freelancer, which is how many at-home graphic designers work. Another way is to be a contractor with an agency, which can be tougher to land but is a great way to develop your skills. There’s also the occasional graphic design job with a single company, but these are much less common.
If you aren’t looking for a full-time employee job as a graphic designer (which can be tough to find in remote employee positions), graphic design is actually a pretty fantastic option.
Places to Find Graphic Design Work from home
Whether it’s job boards, applying to agencies or marketing yourself as a graphic designer, there are lots of ways to pick up some graphic design work from home. It all depends on how you want to structure your work, business-wise.
Working for an agency or as a freelancer will mean you’re an independent contractor. This gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of schedule and client load, and that’s the route most people take when they want to be an at-home graphic designer.
So where do you go about finding this work? There are quite a few options! Let’s take a look.
1. Job Boards
The obvious first stop is job boards. There are some gems buried on the traditional job boards like Indeed and FlexJobs. SimplyHired.com is another one that’s worth tracking. These job boards are known and familiar, so they might be the most comfortable for you, but don’t be afraid to branch out into some of the job boards that are geared more toward freelancers.
2. Graphic Design-Specific Job Boards
There are several job boards that are geared primarily toward graphic designers. These are a few of the good ones to start:
- Authentic Jobs — Possibly the biggest name in job boards for digital creatives, this site is not just graphic designers. If you’re a beginner, it might not be the best place for you to start… but it’ll give you a good picture of where your graphic design gig could take you if nothing else!
- Behance — Behance is primarily a portfolio website, but it also has a job board where you can uncover some great opportunities.
- Coroflot — This job board isn’t necessarily the biggest one because it’s geared toward agencies, but it’s still definitely worth checking out. You can check out lots of different agencies there, and see what kinds of jobs are available to work with them.
- Creative Hotlist — At this site, you’ll create a resume and upload samples of your work and then use those files to apply for work. Most of the job opportunities here are for work with agencies.
- Krop — This is a job board specifically for graphic designers. It’s a good place for beginners, and one of the extra perks of this site is that you can create a portfolio there to house samples of your work.
- Smashing Jobs — This is one of the biggies in graphic design, and you’ll find a mix of freelance and traditional graphic design job opportunities here. Smashing Jobs is run by a graphic design magazine called Smashing Magazine, and this site is a real go-to for the industry.
3. Bidding and Competition Sites
There are a few well-known sites where you can bid for work and compete for gigs in other ways. You’ve probably heard of these:
These are good sites to get some beginner work and practice, and if you can find a way to stand out, they might be a good source of clients. The downside to these sites is that the pay rates tend to be fairly low. In my opinion, they can be a great place to start, but probably aren’t going to be where you want to stay for very long.
4. Social Media
Possibly the best place to find graphic design jobs on social media is on Facebook. If you can find good groups to join that are full of businesses that hire graphic designers, you’ll have some great insights and leads. Getting a feel for your target market (is it local businesses? bloggers? fitness professionals? Etsy sellers?) and what they need or want will help you be able to serve them better.
Many Facebook groups for online businesses and creative professionals have weekly threads where you can advertise your services, promote the content you’ve produced recently, or post a “help wanted” ad that you can reply to.
Building Your Portfolio (and Business)
Once you’re able to do some graphic design work and build a portfolio, you’ll have a better chance of getting more work. Your past and current clients may end up referring you to their friends and colleagues, which can send even more work your way.
Landing a job with an agency may send you a high volume of work and give you lots of experience, but agency work might also require too much of you if you want to keep this a low-key side gig. If you do find agency work that fits your schedule, you’ll have a solid foundation for wherever your graphic design business takes you.
You can also create a blog to support your graphic design business. Blogging for business is a solid strategy, though it does require time from you that you might prefer to spend just building your business through more typical marketing efforts like cold pitching and networking.