Graphic Design: How to find work
Get your name known. If you get out there and do good work, people will tell other people about you. The best advertising you can do is doing good work. Your clients will speak to their contacts/colleagues and chances are someone will get in touch with you via an existing piece of work. Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth.
There are online resources for project work but it depends on your area of expertise. If you're a designer working mainly in the financial sector for example, don't bother putting your name down on the Arts Council emailing list and vice versa. Decide which market you're interested in working in so you can target your approaches more efficiently. Each region of the country has a development agency who work closely with local business and recommend suppliers. You usually have to jump through quite a few hoops before becoming an 'associate' but you may find it's worth it.
Some designers advocate working for free in the early days, however, it can be tricky and will depend on your living situation. If you're just starting out and still living at home, there's no reason why not but if you have to pay the rent/mortgage, you may not feel that working for free is particularly appropriate.
Cost-effective ways of advertising your services:
Word of mouth
Word of mouth can be one of the easiest and cheapest ways of building a client base. If you have built a good relationship with your client by giving them exceptional work, then it’s quite likely they will recommend your services to others.
A website and an online presence are essential to getting work. A website can allow you to showcase your work and can be seen as a portfolio. A website will make it easier for any prospective clients to reach you, and be able to see you skills and talent. You need to make sure that you keep your website update and invest in it to make sure it a reflection of your skills and talent.
You need to get yourself on social media for your work. As a freelancer, it is essential you make the most out of the reach that social media offers. Social media can be used to feature your allowing prospective clients to see skills.
You can find work in many different ways. A great starting point is to look on various difference freelancer websites. Some website you should look on are People Per Hour, Upwork and Freelancer. There are many more that you should explore when you are first trying to get started in your field of work.
Nick Welsh - bespoke design for print and the internet Mono Industries
More on graphic designing as a freelancer.