Did you know that the average graphic designer earns around $30 per hour? And if you work as a freelancer and can boast an impressive portfolio of work, you can command even higher fees. Moreover, recent changes to Google have meant that website visual content is more important to businesses than ever if they want to rank for search results.
But you may wonder whether you have the right skill set to do graphic design. Fortunately, there are now some fantastic and affordable tools on the market to help you quickly and easily create beautiful visual content.
One of those tools is Canva. If you have not used this tool before, read on to discover how this platform can help freelancers create an in-demand business from scratch.
Not so long ago, any graphics design was the domain
of professionals with graphics design diplomas working as part of an up-and-coming
trendy web agency.
It required knowledge of complicated terminology like the golden ratio and kerning. If you wanted a website logo or a homepage graphic, you would hire someone to do it for you.
Times have changed, and technology has moved on to the point where you can achieve many graphics design tasks without prior knowledge or complicated tools.
Canva is one of the newer web-based platforms that emerged as an easy way for anyone to create professional designs without prior graphic experience.
It's a free tool with a more sophisticated premium offering, and it does a range of graphics tasks which we'll explore in the next section
Canva offers lots of fun and powerful features whether you are a design novice or a full-time professional. Here is what you can discover on the platform (you can visit the relative Canva page from each heading):
You can create any graphic from scratch, and the tool orders a drag-and-drop facility with thousands of pre-designed elements to add to your design. They have text styles, icons, cartoon images, shapes, and more.
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Canva has hundreds of free and premium fonts and beautiful and quirky designs for any graphics project. In the tool, you can also curve the text, which is ideal for creating logos or adding graphics to merchandise like mugs.
If you want to create a striking image for social media, you can add many interesting effects to your photos in Canva.
They have standard options like making your photo monochrome but also more advanced features like blur, pixelated, and duotone. You can also crop photos and add frames to your images.
Canva also offers inverse frames enabling you to add an image inside an unusual shape. They have hundreds of inverse frame templates from which to choose.
A popular feature of promotional and ad graphics is a text overlay.
Sometimes this is text straight on top of a picture, sometimes with an opaque colour between the text and the colour, and sometimes a colour-contrasting background between the text and the image.
Whatever your design choice, the finish will look professional and capitating, perfect for a modern marketing campaign or website homepage.
Video marketing is becoming more popular nowadays. If you run
a social media account, your followers will expect short and snappy videos from
On Canva, you create a video of yourself talking to a camera, or you can use the platform to record and share your screen.
The platform also offers a state-of-the-art video editor, allowing you to transform a raw video file into a professional graphics video with images, text, and colours to create something more polished for any business promotions.
You have a lengthy video and want to create a highlights clip. In that case, you can use the video trimmer feature in Canva to create a montage of your favourite scenes. That is helpful if you want to edit out errors in a video presentation too.
Once you have finished editing your video, the tool will allow you to save it as an MP4 to export to any platform of your choosing.
You can also create animations on the Canva editor if you want something more engaging for your website. For example, you can create a text animation for a headline or add animated graphics to a presentation.
You can create collages of images in the form of grids. There are pre-made grid templates to make this a fast and simple task, and they are perfect for features like website galleries.
If you want to create reports or formal documents, Canva allows you to create multi-page graphic and text documents and convert them to PDF files.
You want to create a presentation for a zoom call or meeting. In Canva, you can create an entire presentation with graphics, animations, and video.
You have a brand guide for your website and marketing material. In Canva, you can create a brand guide and set a template so that all your business material automatically adheres to your brand guidelines.
For a light, single user, there is a free account. The pro account for heavier graphics needs gives you access to all the features, pre-set designs, and templates.
And finally, there is a team account for businesses that want to use Canva as a collaboration tool. Here are some examples of what is different between these pricing packages:
Fonts are one example of the range of graphical assets available to you as a pro or team user compared to a free account. You will get access to a wider and more unique variety of fonts, graphics, gifs, and images.
That gives you more choices to create the perfect design without going to a third-party site to buy extra design assets (such as premium photos, for example).
As a pro or Teams user, you will be able to do more with your graphics files once you export them from Canva.
That is vital if you want to pass them on to a third party like a client. For example, with the pro account, you can download a logo design that has a transparent background.
As a Teams user, you can collaborate, share files, and create a folder structure to keep all your graphics assets organized. You will also get a vast space for storing all your image and graphics files.
As a freelancer, Canva is the perfect asset to launch a graphic design or video production service for SMEs.
And with Google's recent update, there has been a surge in demand from website owners requesting visual content for their online presence. Here are some ways you can make that freelance business work.
You could create a niche selling custom graphic
designs to businesses using Canva. Here are some ideas of services that you
could easily sell:
All these services are in regular demand by a wide range of small businesses. So, providing you stick to a niche, you will never be short of new customers.
More businesses are turning to video to grow on social media and improve website engagement. So, there are many opportunities to use Canva to sell video production services. Here are some ideas on what you could offer as a freelancer:
Video on Canva is easy to use, but most business owners will often consider video something complex.
That means there is plenty of demand from business owners who would rather outsource video production to a specialist and pay a premium price for the work.
If you want to sell any kind of graphics or video production as a freelancing business to SMEs, you first need to decide on a niche.
You could simply choose one specific service and become a specialist in that one production style. For example, you could specialize in ad graphics.
But there are other ways to narrow down your specialism to help carve a name for yourself. For example, you could specialize in one platform. So rather than simply offering ad graphics, you could provide ad graphics for Facebook.
You can go further than this and create even more specialist knowledge to help you become noticed by businesses. You could specialize in one industry.
So, you could offer Facebook ad graphics for cosmetic dentistry businesses, for example. The opportunities are endless, but the more you specialize, the more you can differentiate yourself from any other graphic design freelancer.
Once you have a niche, you could use freelance marketplaces to find customers.
Nevertheless, you will still want to create a website and a web presence on social media to help promote your freelance services. Canva is the perfect tool for all the design work for these platforms.
You can use Canva to create some example graphics and use that to build a portfolio on your website. You could even create some marketing material to use as a lead magnet, such as a PDF guide.
And you can showcase your emerging design skills by sharing your portfolio of work on social media.
If you have not yet secured clients, offer your services free to a friend or business contact, and share your designs as posts on all your social media channels.
Do not forget to add a link to your website so potential customers can reach out to you.
Finally, do not forget the importance of SEO and content marketing when attracting new leads.
A business tool like SEMrush will allow you to search for the best keywords for your industry. The SEMRush Academy is an excellent place to start learning more about SEO.
Use SEO best practices to create some keyword-rich content for your website. Google's helpful content update makes creating rich, high-quality content more important than ever if you want to rank for your preferred keywords.
When you start getting potential customers to your website or social media channels, it is time to secure them as new customers.
One technique you can try is to entice the customer to provide a work sample via email.
By using direct email, you have a chance to build that relationship, and you can send through some graphics ideas that you have put together on Canva to wow them and encourage them to sign on the dotted line.
Another element critical to success is a solid testimonial from past customers. Make this easy to find on your website and add it to any sales literature like quotes, proposals, or sales page.
If you can, ask a previous customer to provide a video testimonial. That will be essential if you intend to offer video production services.
When you have begun regularly winning new clients for your graphic and video services, it is time to consider the next steps. To scale your business, consider running PPC ads to generate new leads.
If you have been using a tool like SEMrush to create a presence on Google via SEO, you could also consider paying for sponsored ads on Google's search page.
These sponsored lists appear in the top three slots on any Google search results page.
Another option you have for scaling is to expand your services. The beauty of this approach is that you can offer your new services to your existing clients.
That is an excellent way to boost your revenue without investing in an expensive marketing campaign.
Do not forget to create a referral scheme for your business, too. Ask customers to recommend you to a friend - you could provide an incentive such as a free graphics design package in exchange for the referral.
You could also ask clients to credit you when using your designs on their marketing material in exchange for a discounted service fee. That effectively gives you virtually free advertising.
As you can see, some exciting opportunities exist to use Canva to build your freelance business selling visual content services.
And what is more, because their primary platform is free, there is no risk in trying it out for yourself before deciding if you want to invest in their Pro or Teams account.
Why not create a Canva account today, and use the
other freelancing guides on our website to start designing your
perfect freelance business?
We disclose that we are affiliates of Canva, Semrush and Udemy which means that if you click on a link from this page that results in your paying a subscription for a service it means that we may receive a small commission for the referral. It does not impact on the price of your subscription.
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