5 Ways for Designers to Make More Money

thumbIn these rather tulmultuous economic times, it is often hard for designers to make ends meed.  Clients are harder to come buy, and designers suffer by having to compete harder with each other to win contracts.  Sometimes this can force a designer to have to abandon freelancing, or take on another job, or work even harder.

Today, we have a list of 5 ways that designers can make more money.  There is some very solid advice here, so be sure to try out some of these tips and techniques in order to help make ends meet this year.  Designers often get lost in the competition with each other, but it’s important to remember that we’re all in this together, as a community, so keep building relationships with other people.

1. Sell stock. No, not stock in a company, but instead, stock resources.  Places like Theme Forest, iStockPhoto, ShutterStock, and places like this are a great way for designers to make money.  Why?  Because selling stock provides residual income.  Sure, earning $1000 (or however much you make) from a web design is great, but it’s not consistent.  It’s much better if you can also earn income 24/7, just by sitting around.  And this is what selling stock allows you to do.   Even if you don’t have any clients at the moment, you can still earn income from stock being sold.

http://freelanceswitch.com/money/9-tips-for-creating-and-maximizing-a-steady-income-stream-by-selling-stock/

http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2008/12/10-places-to-sell-templates/

2. Learn an additional skill! Too many designers are narrowly skilled.  Sure, it’s great to be able to create photomanipulations.  But what if that client wants a website?  Great, you can design a website.  But can you code it?  The best reason for learning a new skill is to be able to reach a broader client base.  Sure, it involves a time investment on your end, but the dividends can be well worth it.

http://vandelaydesign.com/blog/design/5-skills-that-boost-your-design-career/

http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/01/6-reasons-why-designers-should-code/

3. Find a partner to complement your skills. This goes along with #2.  You can’t possibly know every skill there is to know (though I know many designers who try to be know-it-alls).  Therefore, it’s useful if you have someone to work with you.  Designers often partner with coders, which allows them to not only complement each other’s skills, but also reach a broader client base (2 networks instead of 1).  However, this is a double-edged sword, as you’re probably be splitting your profits with them, so use it sparingly and only for mutual gain.

4. Network! This one should be a no-brainer, but it’s always surprising how often it is overlooked by designers.  Just because you’re the best web designer around, doesn’t mean you’ll get any work if you can’t network with people.  Businesses have long known the power of networking, but freelancers have yet to catch on fully.  Places like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and every social networking site you can think of all have one purpose: to bring people together.  Designers can take advantage of this by playing the numbers game.  If you’ve ever watched the movie Boiler Room, you’ll hear the brokers talk about how “selling is a contact sport”.  This means that, yes, you won’t get a sale every time, but you can improve your quantity just by contacting as many people as possible.

http://dustinbrewer.com/8-great-digg-like-social-networks-for-designers-in-2008/

5. Invest!. Okay folks, what does it mean to invest wisely?  Authors have written a billion books about every topic related to investing.  I’m not here to tell you one way or the other.  If you’re diversified, great.  If not, great.  The global economy these days doesn’t care if you own only American stocks or if you own stock in every country in the world, because if one major country suffers an economic downturn, others are sure to follow.  The point being here, just invest!  Allow me to quote you a statistic from one of my favorite books, A Random Walk Guide To Investing (the moral of the book is to stop following ‘trends’ and just buy long term investments).

“William and James are twin brothers who are 65 years old.  45 years ago, William started an IRA and put $2,000 in the account at the end of each year.  After 20 years of contributions, William stopped making deposits into the account, but left the IRA to just grow.  James started his own IRA when he reached age 40 (just after William quit), and contributed $2000 per year for 25 years, making his last contribution today.  James invested 25% more money than William.  Both brothers earned 10% per year tax free.   How much are each worth today?

Answer: James is worth less than $200,000, William is worth almost $1,250,000.”

Note that above, the tax free actually means tax-deferred, you pay the tax when you remove the money from the IRA.

Regardless, what’s the point of this?  The point is, INVEST EARLY AND STEADILY.  Interest (especially compound interest) is a remarkable thing, so take advantage of it.

Hopefully these tips were helpful for you, and will help you to earn more money working in whatever field you are in.  If you enjoyed this, especially the last post on investments, let me know.  In the future, I will consider writing a full post about investment tips for designers.

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