Make money online as a graphic designer today. Whether you’re starting a new business, side hustle, or career, graphic design is full of opportunities to provide you a steady stream of income while working online from home.

In order to successfully make money online with graphic design you must cut through the noise of the busy web, and capitalize on consistent revenue streams in order to truly make money from the get go. Here are 5 Key graphic design strategies for success in 2021.

1. Capitalize on Niche (Stock Image) Marketplaces

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Oftentimes you’ll find graphic design websites and blogs suggesting freelancers to spend their time and money on creating stock graphics and photography on sites like Creative Market, iStock, AdobeStock, and GraphicRiver. These are great options and very viable, However we suggest selling graphics on sites like Etsy, Gumroad, E-Junkie, or Thumbtack (more on this below).

These sites allow you more direct visibility with less noise (indirect competition) than the others, which gives you the chance for more sales, and in some cases more profit.

2. Leverage Local Leads – The key to Making Money Online From Home

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Even though you may think its easier to find an abundance of leads online than it is in your neighborhood, 9 times out of ten you’d be wrong, (unless you live in a remote area, like the woods. 😏) Local leads are the easiest to capture and capitalize upon as a graphic designer, web developer or digital artist.

The tricky part is knowing how to get found and where best to spend your money, (even if you have none) to get leads that pay.

Thumbtack is the place to go.

Thumbtack is great for digital service providers, it is free to sign up for an account, there is no subscription fee, and you only pay “when an interested customer reaches out to you.”

The designers we’ve spoke to that use it have spent an average of $14-$20 a lead (this varies) but the average job was around $500. Not too shabby!. Now it make take a few $14 leads to land a single project, but even if you spent $60-$100 to make $400, thats a pretty good margin.

This is much better and much less effort than creating thousands of stock graphics and waiting for 320 people to buy your graphic for $1.25 ea. (I think that math is right)

3. Focus on One thing (AKA Niche Down)

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You’ve probably heard this one before, “the riches are in the niches.” While I cannot guarantee that you’ll become rich (relative anyways) off of your decision to niche out your business, I can tell you that you will greatly benefit from the qualified flow of customers and ease of production associated from this strategy.

When you’re creating graphics for a specific market, industry, or demographic, your ability to increase your capacity for production and lower your expenses (hard and soft costs) widens. In other words, as you fine tune your core customer you naturally increase visibility, authority, and profitability.

Managing your business also becomes much easier when you find a design niche. You’ll be able to discover your Key Performance Indicators (KPI) more easily. This helps you operate your graphic design business efficiently and effectively.

4. Value Pricing. – Make Money With High Margins

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Most graphic designers are still stuck in one of two pricing models. 1. Hourly Rate or 2. Flat rate – Both are terrible. First hourly rate will always be interpreted ambiguously, is always relative and it traps you into fixed financials that may keep you from ever being profitable. Flat rate pricing is too disingenuous and comes across as inexperience more often than not.

Value pricing, however allows you firmly plant your value (worth) in the market place and keeps your business running efficiently, and keeps money in your pocket. Value pricing seems similar to flat rate pricing as you will be giving a single price to each itemized service or product, but it is different because here, instead of pricing each service individually, you change your services into products.

This means instead of offering graphic design services, you offer solutions. For example, instead of charging a flat rate for logos (i.e: $500 each) you would charge $1200 for a brand identity package. This may seem like a marketing ploy, but if you’re genuinely interested in servicing your customers and helping them, you’ll understand that you’re offering more than an valuable exchange, your offering them something invaluable, and making a living doing it.

Here is the simple formula to help you price your services.

(A) Price it costs you to hire someone else to do this job for you (outsourcing) + (B) your expenses + (C) 50% of A+B

Heres a quick (totally made up) example for a Brand Identity Package That includes Logo, Color Palette, Web and print versions (stationary, digital, graphic and typographic) and Brand Guide (use, best practice, fonts etc.) and Mockups.

Cost to Export entire project – via Freelancer or UpWork (U.S. Based designer) – $800

Expenses – (Price by total monthly expenses for project) ( Adobe CC – $53, + Internet ($40), + hosting ($20) + Marketing ($50) – $163

50% of Above total – $481.50

Total Price of Project = $1444.50

If your other monthly expense (food, rent, etc.) are $2500 you are more than 50% there on one job. This is how to sustain your business and make a profit at the same time. For example 3 brand identity projects like this in one month = $4333.5 ($1670.50 Net)

Does it take time and experience to get here? Sure, but not as much as you think, as long as you have developed your skills, and aren’t afraid to charge what you’re worth. That said, if you can’t meet the standards required to sell on sites like Creative Market or 99 Designs, you’re probably not ready to charge in this range of pricing but it doesn’t mean you can’t use the same formula, scaled down.

5. Be Consistent

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The biggest temptation for freelancers web designers, and graphic designers is to spread your work out among a large variety of opportunities, and double down on one when it works. For instance, selling graphics on 4 different marketplaces, bidding projects on every freelance job board, and hunting local leads, and not focusing your efforts on any single one.

This is why most people have a hard time making money online from home. Consistency helps you become confident and confidence creates careers. Be consistent get good at one thing, one niche, one method, and grow your business that way. It might suck at first, and you’ll be afraid of boredom, but when the money starts rolling in and you have options to scale your business, consistency wont seem so boring.

Consistency Starts with leveraging resources that can help you fast track your business virtually overnight.

1. If you’re just starting out and don’t have a library of graphics to show your clients and help streamline your workflow, check out our Startup Kits.

2. Learn How to Market Your Business Like A Pro. Check Out our Masterful Ebook, “The Graphic Design Business Blueprint”

3. Get familiar with the industry and understand where you want your career to go, and how you can make money online, Start Here

4. If you’re not ready to start a side hustle or need to supplement your current business and make money online from home with some graphic design contract work, check out our Job Board.

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