So how do we get the work that we want? You know those dream clients/projects? Unfortunately it's not as easy as going to www.dreamclientprojectsrus.com or a series of bulletproof hacks. It takes time, a focus on the work and a focus on building relationships. Think long game, which not everyone is willing to do, because easy and instant gratification is what most people are after. But it doesn’t work that way most of the time, think of it as a marathon rather than a sprint. Here are some methods and strategies that you can use to get the work that you want.
1. Create work that gets attention of the people in the industries that you are trying to target.
These are self initiated projects that try to tackle and bring fresh thinking into existing brands/industries. It will make it inherently easier when you are trying to pitch to specific companies and industries. When they can see examples of some of your capabilities specific to their industry. Sure some of these may be conceptual and hypothetical but conceptual car designs also sell cars and push automotive brands forward. Conceptual work still builds credibility if it is remarkable. Your goal here is to gain exposure.
Some examples are
Fantasy (even agencies sometimes do self intiated projects to target indsutries) – Airline industry
Andrew Kim – Microsoft rebrand
2. Showcase how you can improve or help improve the industry/brand.
Inline with your conceptual work showcase the thinking - do an in depth case study that showcases the considerations that you have taken. Highlight the exact problems that you are trying to solve, beyond the aesthetic what are you improving about the experience? Have you considered who the target demographic and users are? And what opportunities exist in the current market that can be improved and help a business succeed? So when the your ideal client hears about your project and are looking in, can they see your rational and thinking. And more importantly what do you need to showcase so that they have confidence in your capabilities to solve the complex problems that they may have. From the user experience all the way to a businesses bottom line. Create considered and detailed case studies.
A good example is Andrew Kims’ – America Elect project
3. Build relationships – no one is going to hire you if they don’t know you exist.
I hate the term networking. But genuinely put yourself out there and try to reach out to the people that work at/for the companies and projects that you want to work on. No one is going to hire you if they don’t know about you. Get the conversation started – comment on various networks such as twitter, dribbble, behance, slack channels etc etc. Don’t make the conversation about what you want, but initially how you can help them in anyway possible or just give kudos so that they know that you exist. Say hello and strike a genuine conversation/engagement. If you appear enough times people will take notice, and more importantly if your work reaches a high enough standard you will get noticed even more. Exist in peoples consciousness so when the right project comes along you will be in consideration for getting hired and landing that full time or freelance gig . Get to know people, have their best interest at heart and be genuine.
4. Craft a story around what is it that you want to communicate and say.
You need to communicate what makes you different. I love story telling, so think of yourself as a brand that you are crafting. What does your personal brand stand for? What are your values, work ethic, goals and motivation? And how are you a valuable asset and partner for clients. Craft a story around that. Take a look at this oatmeal thing – it crafts a simple yet wonderful story that you can connect with. So create a story about what kind of designer you are and how you can help people and clients out there.
5. Get in touch directly.
Once you’ve built enough bridges, you have more of an opportunity to pitch for projects. Don’t be pushy make your presence known and showcase how you can provide value. Then you can potentially pitch ideas directly to clients with more of a chance for success.
Good luck. PS: I share all my freelancing documents in my Process Masterclass if you are interested on learning more.