Knoxville graphic designer: how to find work

by Dec 14, 2011freelancing, Graphic Design, Marketing

Knoxville graphic designer

Right now with the economy, it can be tough for anyone to find work. Jobs are scarce, and every job field is more competitive than ever. My focus is going to be on Knoxville graphic design and finding work. This can apply to designers that live in Knoxville, or it can apply to designers anywhere. These tips should generally apply in different situations.

finding work as a Knoxville Graphic Designer

The important thing to remember is that it isn’t what you know, it is who you know. This especially applies to Knoxville graphic design. You have to network with everyone that you can to get your name out there, and to create a positive buzz about you and your business. You could be the best designer around, but if you don’t meet new people to help spread the word about you, chances are that your business will fail. Meeting potential clients can be hard, because Knoxville isn’t as big of a city as Atlanta or Chicago. As a city, we are starting to have more business meet-and-greets, and entrepreneur gatherings, but most of those people are looking for clients just like you. If you are new to starting a business, and need some people to show you the ropes, then the Entrepreneurs of Knoxville can help you with that. They meet each Wednesday, and they are all willing to answer questions, and help steer you in the right direction.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go to those meetings, because you will meet other designers that you can bounce ideas off of, and they might recommend you for some freelance work. Knoxville graphic design is competitive. You never know what relationship will open up doors for you. You should be passing out your business cards to everyone that you know, and you should be talking about your business a lot, but don’t cram it down your friends’ throats.

I am sure that you’ve heard by now about social media, but despite all the hype, it is definitely a solid tool that you should be using in order to promote yourself. You should be using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and anything else that you can get a hold of to connect with others and promote yourself in the Knoxville graphic design field. LinkedIn is great for making solid business connections with industry professionals, and you can gain quite a following with little to no effort. There is also a plethora of information available, and just about anyone on LinkedIn is willing to share information with you.

One absolute business killer in the Knoxville graphic design field is word of mouth. It can make you or break you. You can’t expect to get rich from each project, and you have to treat your clients well. If your client is unhappy with your work, they will tell everyone. Then their friends and colleagues will pass it on, and soon enough, everyone will know that you have done a poor job, or that you have a bad attitude, or that you can’t make a deadline. If you do a great job, go above and beyond, and try your best to really shine and make your clients happy, then they will refer you to their colleagues. Referrals are huge in the design business. They are huge in any business.

Knoxville graphic design is especially competitive, because we have two universities in one city. We have UT and Pellissippi, who both have graphic design courses. Each year, more and more design graduates are released into the field. They are hungry, and actively seeking work to justify all of the time and effort that they put into their education. They work cheaper than experienced designers, and many times they will work for free to gain an internship. If you are a student, or recent graduate, being an intern is a great way to get your foot in the door, but if you are a seasoned veteran, it can be much harder to find graphic design work in Knoxville. Your portfolio has to show stronger concepts, and tested experience in your field.