Chelsea & The City: Breaking into freelance

Over the last few years I have been asked on a regular basis to design my friends’ resumés. Of course I always say yes because it is something fun for me to do other than classwork, and a way to show some creativity. Slowly but surely, more people started asking and I started to wonder if I could get more out of it than dinner or drinks.

After spring semester was over I decided to take a leap and open an Etsy store. I didn’t think much would come of it — maybe making a few bucks here or there — but I was pretty wrong. I had my first purchase within 24 hours of opening my store, and the steady stream hasn’t stopped since. I started with only a few resumé templates and then slowly added business cards, letterhead and a design pack that includes all three pieces.

In short, I was having a blast doing this. I’ve had several clients come back to me with more work completely unrelated to their resumé or business cards and today, a lot of my business isn’t even through Etsy. People find me there and then contact me outside of my shop for special projects. I am really excited about this incredible opportunity and have decided after I graduate (and actually have some free time) I want to pursue this business even more. I want to start delving into other areas such as weddings, greeting cards, etc. I am going to expand with a website solely for this business and add more products. But, I am very uncertain about several steps along the way and would love any advice helping me answer these questions.

1. I am really bad at pricing. I don’t know how to transition from my college-student price structure to something that reflects I am now a young professional. I’m scared that if I go too high I won’t get any business, but if I go too low people I will be demining my time and talent.

2. How do I expand my cliental? Sure, Etsy is a great start, but what are other ways to get myself out there and be noticed? What are the best ways to get “in” to the freelancing world?

3. What other types of work should I get into? Like I mentioned, I would love to do weddings, but how else could I market myself to a larger audience and what other kinds of services could I offer?

I know a lot of you have been in the same boat and any ideas or advice would be wonderful!

— Chelsea

(Chelsea Kardokus is a senior journalism graphics major at Ball State University. See more of her work here.)

About Chelsea Kardokus

Chelsea Kardokus is a designer at TIME magazine.

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