10 Attributes of successful freelance designers

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A freelance designer has to be diligent. After all, you’re working hard not only to design great pieces, but to find new clients, bill current clients, follow up with old clients, file taxes, market your business, and more. If you’re not diligent, you’ll never make it as a freelance designer.


Being successful as a freelance designer is all about being patient. When your client won’t stop calling you on the weekend, when you can’t seem to find new clients, and when you have to save up to buy the next version of the Adobe Creative Suite, all these things require patience.

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If you thought freelancing was a walk in the park, you’re mistaken. In fact, most freelancers admit that, while possibly more liberating, freelancing is more work than just going to a desk job day in and out.

If you can’t be a hard worker, you won’t last more than a few weeks as a freelance designer. Motivate yourself to work hard and stick to it.


Whether you manage your paperwork on the computer or in a filing cabinet, it’s important that you keep your things organized.

There’s nothing worse than losing a client’s phone number, forgetting where you saved a file, or losing your 1099 form when tax season rolls around. Stay organized.


When you’re a freelance designer, you don’t usually have someone standing over you telling you what to do. No one’s going to keep you on-task but yourself.

Being a successful freelance designer takes immense self-discipline.

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As a freelance designer, you are your brand. You are your company. You’re also your customer service department, HR department, PR department and so forth. If you’re bitter and difficult to work with, word will get around and people will stop hiring you.

You don’t have to always be bubbly and cheery, but at least be polite and respectful to people.


Successful freelance designers are driven. They set goals and reach them frequently. They have a business plan, they pay attention to their numbers and they are always looking toward the future.


If you’re not careful, it’s easy to get pushed around as a freelance designer. Clients can take control of your design project in a flash. Be strict to what you’ve agreed to in a contract and to what you know is best for your clients and your design business.

Don’t let people push you around.


With that being said, you also nee to be understanding and flexible. If your client has a sudden change request help them out (within reason of course). Don’t be so difficult to work with that people never want to hire you again.

Work with people and they will work with you.


Last but definitely not least, a successful freelance designer is frugal. Most freelance designers aren’t making millions of dollars each year.

Even if your business is doing extremely well right now, be careful with your money. You never know when a client famine is going to come or when the economy is going to suffer.

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About Preston D Lee

Preston is an entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, and the founder of this blog. You can contact him via twitter at @prestondlee.

Leave a Comment



  1. Very true.

    Keep in mind this very much

    I want to keep in touch with the man who wrote this post.

  2. Another attribute (obvious I know)

    Talent: Must be able to deliver outstanding creative work to the client on time and on budget.

  3. Hi! This is Arif Rao Possessional Graphic or Web designer…!! With having a great portfolio!
    my company name! is AR DESINGS
    you can search me also on Google by enter ardesings
    this blog is awesome i have learn a lot of things from this blog


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  2. […] 10 Attributes of Successful Freelance Designers […]

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