How To Start A Career As a Graphic Design Contractor In 2021

twine thumbnail how to start a career as a graphic design contractor in 2021

Are you tired of 9 to 5 office work? Does a career as a graphic design contractor sound oh so tempting? Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’re going to break down the many layers of working as a design freelancer: the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

Many freelancers begin their careers in graphic design as a side hustle: a sweet form of work on the side, that allows graphic designers the joy of building their portfolio, without making it their full-time commitment. 

However, depending on how eager you are to rely on your freelance career, you can change your strategies. What you need on your way is persistence, business planning, and a strong work ethic. That way, pursuing a long-term, fulfilling career as a graphic design contractor will seem like a piece of cake. 

Who doesn’t want to work on their dream job for a living – right?

Let’s check the facts!

But, hey – you may find yourself doubting the power of freelancing: is it really as good as everyone claims? Let’s take a look at some notable statistics about freelancing before you make any rash decisions…

  • 40% of people choose to freelance for personal growth.
  • 36% of workers continued their freelance careers even in the pandemic. 
  • 53% of freelancers say there will be more demand for freelance activities after the pandemic than before the pandemic.
  • In 2021, the gig economy is worth a whopping $350 billion dollars.
  • By 2025, 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely, an 87% increase compared to the pre-pandemic level.

The numbers don’t lie people. Many professionals, at various stages of their career and skill level, are choosing to go freelance. Why? Well, let’s take a look at the benefits:

What are the benefits of working as a freelancer?

1. Choose your projects

multiple doors showing many different projects that you could choose as a graphic design contractor

One of the most appealing aspects of working as a freelancer is the ability to make your own decisions and control your own work schedule. Think of that! No more working overtime because your boss assigned you a task a few minutes before you were due to clock off…

Not only are you given time benefits, but freelancing also allows you to choose the type of work that best suits your interests and benefits you. Now, the only work you’ll be doing will be something you’ve approved yourself, instead of something that’s been approved for you. Say goodbye to forced group projects or countless meetings with people around who don’t have the slightest understanding of what you do – you’re now your own boss!

2. Work wherever you want

woman sat at the beach

Individuals who freelance are more able to live their life the way they want to. Just like you can work on whichever project you like, to whichever schedule you choose, you can also live and work wherever you possibly want!

That’s simply because a career as a graphic design contractor comes with a great deal of flexibility. As a freelancer, you can work at any time and from any location, as long as the assignment is completed correctly and follows the contract agreed with your client

Just think – you could be working on your graphic design project while sipping on a piping hot macchiato in the coolest coffee shop in town. Or, even finalizing your commissioned designs whilst getting a suntan at the beach! I mean, it’s unlikely, but hey, at least you have the opportunity… 

3. Earn more

pile of money

This is a big positive for most candidates considering freelancing, and for good reason. 75% of freelancers say they earn more through freelance work than they did in a full-time job. That’s a huge statistic, especially when you think of the amount of stress and turmoil plenty of professionals have gone through with the pandemic – countless jobs lost, and contracts ended. 

When you work for yourself, you never have to worry about that risk. As your own boss, you get to set the pace for your work, and your budget. 

A graphic design contractor can reach out to clients regardless of their location – whether across the country or internationally. This allows a person to think outside of the box and focus on what best rewards their expertise. As a result, you can connect with a greater community and increase your brand awareness massively… a lot more than you would at your office job. 

4. Broaden your horizons

outback shed that reads 'always room to grow'

Another benefit of freelancing is the opportunity to experiment with, and future-proof your skillset

When you work for somebody else, it’s hard to find time to work on yourself. You may ask for training sessions in this, or time to improve on that, but at the end of the day, in your boss’s eyes (unless they’re an excellent boss), time is money.

When working as a freelance professional, you can broaden your horizons in whatever capacity you like, and get even closer to becoming your best self. Naturally, when working in an online graphic design environment, you’ll probably bump into a number of different professionals in all sorts of industries. You may find that your marketing, eCommerce, and development skills improve – just to name a few possibilities. Also, AI is on the rise with online content, so you may also find your AI skills boosted after all the AI tools and apps you use. 

5. Be your best self

smiley face painted on ground with person standing infront of it

Let’s get deep here: a freelance profession might be compared to a microcosm of your entire life – it can ultimately help lead you to become a better person

This occurs naturally as part of the process when you see life as a bigger whole, something much larger than a single job or company. Freelancing allows you to encounter a multitude of people, businesses, and industries. You’ll encounter and work with professionals from all walks of life, that won’t be simplified to just those in your company, or perhaps an occasional business partner through email. 

Branching out and broadening your mind (as well as your expertise) is made much easier when you’re a graphic design contractor, as the majority of your clients will come through social platforms. Being active on a variety of social platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and of course, freelance platforms like Twine, will mean that you’re interacting with a community of like-minded people, constantly. 

Ultimately, you will grow qualities in you that you simply did not possess before. These qualities can help you have a better approach toward life – leading to something altogether happier and more fulfilled. 

We know what you’re thinking – where do I sign?!

Become a graphic design contractor in 5 steps:

Having known the advantages of becoming a freelancer, it is high time we started talking about the essential tips you need to follow in order to become the graphic design contractor of your dreams

So, before you sign up, make sure you tick off these 5 things:

#1 Have a passion for graphic design 

freelancer working on graphic design work

One of the most essential factors in your success in a career is definitely your passion for it. If you do not have that urge in you, you’re likely to give up in the middle of hardships. 

In the world of freelance work, you are the boss of yourself – there is no force from the other people to keep you focused on the deadlines. And, you can’t expect to have a fixed income amount every month regardless of the number of projects you have actually done. 

As a result, a lack of passion for the graphic design contractor trade equals a lack of results that will follow you in your journey. 

So, how do you figure out whether you’re passionate enough to take on the job as a freelancer? 

Well, cast your mind back: think of you’ve handled both professional and personal tasks in the design realm. Consider how much you love you harbor, when you open your laptop and work at your job first thing in the morning. 

If the thought of picking up the phone to a client or running over some revisions, makes you want to sigh – perhaps being a graphic design contractor isn’t the right course for you.

#2 Sign up on graphic design communities

Online freelance communities are excellent places to get to know other freelancers and clients. 

On a daily basis, you can see offers, prices, and types of projects that can help you figure out what your services are worth, and how to create high demand for them. It is a great way to increase your outreach, brand awareness, and prospects for clients. Simply put, being a part of a graphic design community can help secure you with not just jobs, but well-paying, high-quality jobs.

Our platform, Twine, is a place where employers can find quality freelancers for their jobs. So, as a freelance graphic designer, you can create an account on the platform and pitch on genuine, exclusive graphic design jobs that fit your niche and pay an excellent price. 

Using websites like Twine also makes it possible for you to have client referrals and testimonials, so that you can easily and fluently grow your circle of clients. 

#3 Enrol in graphic design courses

When you work in a graphic design company, you can learn from your team members. There are things that you may not be skillful in while your team members may excel at them. On the other hand, when working individually as a freelance graphic designer, it’s your job to do almost everything. As a result, improving your graphic design skills becomes a crucial issue. 

One way to improve your graphic design skills is to enroll in online graphic design courses. There are also a great number of explainer videos and guides available on the Internet that you can watch and learn for free. However, if you’re looking for some solid, life-changing tips – you really can’t go wrong with an acclaimed, graphic design course.

#4 Build your online presense

man holding onto phone and looking at instagram profile

Social media is truly one of the best ways to grow your number of clients in 2021. 

For instance, you can build your personal brand on Instagram and any browsing clients or customers who are scrolling may just happen upon your work! Establishing an online presence on social media platforms like Instagram is easy – you just need to have a regular content plan, and create a feed that demonstrates your skills and expertise. 

Although collecting likes and followers is “so 2020”, you may find that you want a little boost to help you off the ground. Making sure your content is top-quality and engaging is one thing, but after you’re after a quick fix, you could try a 1000 free Instagram followers trial or other Instagram growth services

Another option, outside of social media, is to build your brand awareness on the world wide web. To do this, you’d need to purchase a domain, set up an email address, and build a memorable brand identity for yourself as a graphic designer on the web. Finally, consider whether you want to conduct freelance work under your own name or start a business while working on your brand.

If you’re after a really strong start – do both! The more you’re out there, promoting your content, mingling with clientele, and being proactive, the quicker you’ll be a top freelancer!

#5 Know your graphic design software

desktop displaying design software for a freelance graphic designer

Using the appropriate graphic design tools may significantly boost your talent, whether you are an amateur graphic designer or an experienced digital artist. A well-designed graphic design program provides easy controls and versatility that are simple to use for a beginner while also providing far superior tools for an experienced user.

The most straightforward approach to figure out which software will work best for you is to get your hands on it and try it out. Features, simplicity of use, performance, affordability, and availability are all software characteristics. If you aren’t sure which design software would suit you best – don’t panic! You can get a free trial of several paid graphic design software to better familiarize yourself with the product.


Waving goodbye to your cushy, familiar office job and saying hello to a freelance graphic design career can feel a little risque… we get it. But don’t let your fears step in the way of your dreams! So many freelancers are thankful for the day they stepped into the gig market, and took control of their own earnings, once and for all.

Of course, it’s going to take some work. Being a graphic design contractor requires you to learn some essential tips to get ready for your career, and prepare for a life of outreach, fluctuating income, and not your typical 9-5 working. 

We’ve started you off in the right direction and given you a few pointers along the way, but the rest is up to you! Stay hopeful and encouraged, leave your fears behind, and step on the way. Wish you the best of luck!

Ready to hire? Our marketplace of over 410,000 freelancers have the skills and expertise needed to skyrocket your business to the next level. From marketers to designers, copywriters to SEO experts – browse the talented bunch here!

Parichehr Parsi

I am Parichehr Parsi, a born writer, and a freelance copywriter in the fields of travel, fashion, and Instagram marketing. I currently write for DMPro, Realtormate, and online magazines in Italy, and I love reading, writing, and researching.