The life of a motion graphics freelancer can be great. You can call the shots, make a good living, and generally enjoy life. That is, if you are successful. Although there is a lot of room for mograph freelancers, success isn’t a guarantee. However, there are some things you can do to help your chances of getting more jobs. Let’s go through them so you can get back to work.
How to Get More Work as a Motion Design Freelancer
It all starts with a great portfolio. Any potential client wants to see what you’ve created in the past, so you need to have a strong reel and good work samples available. Keep these online and freely available to the public.
There are several great options for video hosting to take a look at as well. All are great choices, but if you put your work on Vimeo, submit some of it to the many Vimeo channels highlighting motion graphics, like the Purely Motion Graphics channel.
Another great avenue for getting your work seen is Dribbble. Dribbble focuses on quick glances at work like small stills or animated gifs. It’s become very popular for inspiration and for clients looking to hire talent. Add some of your work to Dribbble and create some experiments just for the site in your free time.
Putting your videos online is a great start, but a dedicated portfolio site is even better. This way you can focus on driving traffic to your site through search engines. Don’t worry about being a web developer. There are many great options for setting up a simple portfolio site with no coding skills. Try Squarespace or Strikingly as both offer clean and modern portfolio templates that point to your own custom domain for as low as $8 a month.
Check out this handy guide from Moz.com on the basics of SEO. This will help you set up your site to more easily be discovered by potential clients.
2. Online Networking
Being a great artist is really important, but if you don’t know anyone and no one knows you, your work could be lost in the void. Some of the best motion graphic artists miss out on work because they don’t know where the opportunities are. You should spend as much time as you can afford trying to build strong relationships within your creative community.
Start with LinkedIn. It’s the rolodex of the internet. Being connected here has its benefits. Many decision-makers turn to LinkedIn when they need to find creative talent. Making meaningful connections will go a long way as people will come across you again and again. You should also look into joining “motion graphics” related groups within LinkedIn. This is another way to target people with similar interests who may be able to connect you with work.
Make sure you create a full profile here. Just like with your portfolio site, give as much information as you can about your past work and where you can be contacted. Fill out everything. You never know when a prospective client will realize they went to the same school as you and that may be the tipping point to getting a call.
Another great way to get your name out is to create tutorials and teach others a little of your craft. Creating tutorials shows prospective clients that you know your stuff. It also gives you a chance to highlight your personality, which goes a long way to making clients feel comfortable with you. And it shows that you care about what you do outside of the normal 9 to 5.
3. Offline Networking
Once you have your portfolio in order, get out of the house. There’s no better way to win over potential clients than to meet them in person. Start by hitting up sites like Meetup.com to find out what “mograph” related events are happening around you. Also, take a look at forum sites like mograph.net to see if there are events in your area.
Be sure to bring business cards. But beforehand, be sure to make good business cards. A cheap copy store business card with clip art will not make you stand out. Take some time to create a card that represents you well, and make sure it has information where someone can see your work.
Another way to network is to get involved in the community. Volunteer your skills for a project. No one says you have to work for free all of the time, but occasionally donating your time can lead to great portfolio pieces as well as new relationships. You never know what you may gain for a pro bono or volunteer project. Just make sure you have the time and desire before you commit yourself to something you can’t finish.
Along with potentially volunteering your time, work on experimental or personal projects when you can. The best way to get work is to have work. In other words, the more pieces you have in your portfolio, the more likely you are to have something that appeals to a prospective client.
Try to create work in a variety of styles while honing in on your own voice. It’s great if you can create a look that is all yours, but you don’t want to be pigeonholed either.
Work on tutorials and try and figure out how other artists are working so you can expand your skillset. There are tons of online resources for motion graphics artists to learn for free, as well as a number of paid seminars and classes. Start with YouTube and Vimeo, then spread out from there. Motion Array has a number of tutorials for After Effects artists to gain a few tricks.
Take on jobs that challenge you to grow and learn new things. You’ll be thankful in the end. If you are concerned about a learning curve on a project, offer to exchange time for money. In other words, offer to take on the job for a little less money if the client can give you a little more time. This way, you’ll have a chance to work through the learning curve and the client will be happy to save a few bucks. If you pull it off, you’ll likely have a dedicated new client and a potential stream of new work.
If you are dedicated to your craft and you are willing to constantly learn new things, you’ll have no trouble creating a body of work that clients will be interested in. Pair that with your efforts to get in front of them and make them see you and you’ll be well on the way to a happy and sustainable freelance career.