New to Freelance- Any Recommendations?

I am a designer with over 8 years experience- I have always worked full time in house for companies doing design for mass market clients, but am looking to start freelancing. I am open to working with a variety of clients- doesn’t have to be mass, but I know my portfolio is much more geared toward that.
Does anyone have recommendations of where to start in terms of finding clients and or agencies to work with?
I am curious if I should go down the path of agencies, or if I should try reaching out on my own. I also am curious if anyone has any good networking sites they use or recommend.
I have so much respect for the hard work that goes into freelancing and getting new clients! This is much harder than having a secured 9-6. Thank you in advance for any advice!

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I am in similar position. I lost my full time job in fashion accessory biz a little before the pandemic. Luckily I did secure one freelance gig at the beginning of March that I have been able to get a little work from on a regular basis.
Networking is key I feel. I say do everything you can to put yourself out there! Headhunters, agencies, contacting companies directly. Do you have a website with your portfolio you can share?

Thanks for the advice! Yes I do have a portfolio.
Im curious how you find good agencies and headhunters- I have seen the JCB, 24/7 Etc but wondering i there are more I should be reaching out to.

I haven’t had too much luck with agencies but I think it is because my position is just not out there. I have been a design director, merchandiser and sourcing expert for licensed jewelry and accessories. I actually found my latest gig on indeed as well as a couple others before that. Linked in also has been a good resource for me. Would love to see your portfolio. Who knows might have some graphic design projects in future that I will be looking for help on.

I’m in a similar situation, would like to have some advice too! About the same years of experience as you, was about to get promoted actually before the pandemic hit. Now I can’t put that new sparkling title on my resume, since it never happened. Would like to be seen in employer’s eyes as fully competent in my field, and able to work, and get hired for an actual job. Freelance seems to be the only option since full time, in-house has all disappeared from the job listings.

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I’ve been consulting/freelancing off & on for 10-15 years and all of my projects have come through word of mouth. Networking is key and letting people know you are available & what you can offer them. Another route I’ve used is looking at jobs on agencies sites, Upwork, fiverr, etc. and see if you can figure out who the company is. Then you can contact them directly. The agencies take a HUGE cut. Upwork is ok: it is international so there are a lot of freelancers out there who can afford to create a tech pkg for $25, where it could be 250-300 in the USA. You can fliter for USA only. They keep the in a paypal-esque account to protect both parties from getting screwed. Good luck!

Those are awesome tips, thank you so much for sharing. Im going to try some of these techniques and hopefully something will bear fruit!
Thanks again!

I have actually recently made the switch from full time designer for brands to freelancer after I lost my job back in July due to covid. My focus is on 3D Fashion Design as there has been an uptick in the need for this specialized skill. That would be my main advice is to find something to specialize in so your skills can stand out. Because in the freelance world, at least online, being able to design and make tech packs seems to be a dime a dozen. Doesn’t mean everyone offering this service as a freelancer is skilled, but many clients take advantage of the wide selection and only hire those with the cheapest rates. Where with a specialized skill you can almost name your price.
I have been quite lucky with Upwork landing jobs. I have been freelancing pretty steadily since late April (I started while I was furloughed).
Another way to stand out is to make sure you are up to date with technology. Many brands are going digital and need people to help them do that in whatever capacity. Sometimes this is a difficult transition to do in house so this is where a freelancer can come in.
I wish you luck! Freelancing full time is very uncertain but once you land steady clients the freedom feels so good.

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