It finally happened.
After all those years of freelance work just to get a break, your designs have gained popularity. All of a sudden you’re getting a surge of traffic to your portfolio and your phone is ringing off the hook with callers who want to use your designs. Magazines, websites and big corporations are purchasing the rights to your work.
The design community is taking notice as well. Your social media pages are gaining thousands of followers because designers want to keep up with your career. Designers who just started working are emailing you asking for advice.
It wasn’t long ago when you started creating designs as a side job. Now there’s a high demand for your work and you’ve become a popular designer. So, what’s next?
Hire a Team
Your rise in popularity will only be met with a higher demand for work, requests, and legal issues. All of a sudden your inbox will be flooded with messages from people you never thought you’d hear from. The best way to manage this demand is to hire a team to work with you.
As a designer, you should strongly consider hiring a lawyer to protect your work. Way too many people get away with stealing creative property on the internet. The last thing you want is a big corporation making money off your design without your knowledge. You’re also going to want to protect yourself in case someone claims you stole their idea.
Get a lawyer just to be safe.
You should also hire an assistant to help go through your emails and take phone calls. This will save a lot of wasted time, and you’ll be able to focus on your work. A public relations person could also be helpful if your career really takes off. You should also hire a manager when you start getting more work opportunities. Your manager will help you decide what’s best for your career and how to accomplish your goals.
Having a team of encouraging people around you will only make your work better.
Build Your Brand
Yes, your designs should stand alone as their own pieces of art. However, when they’re together, they become your brand.
Now that your designs have gained popularity, you need to continue building the brand people have drawn toward. Your brand should be defined by the unique twist you put on your designs. If you aren’t sure what it is, then reach out to your audience and ask them why they enjoy your designs. Survey clients after they purchase the rights to your design and get to know what they like about it.
Expand your brand to social media and other platforms where you can reach your audience. Get new eyes on your design by marketing and self-promotion. Go out of you way to find potential clients and work with other designers that’ll make you better. Your brand is unique because it’s a reflection of you as a person. Shine your light onto the world.
Host a Conference
Your designs are all the rage and everyone wants to hear from the artist who created it. Host a conference with yourself and other designers to bring everyone closer together.
Conferences are incredible events where fellow designers can get together and display their work. This is where well-known designers show everyone their latest masterpiece, and young designers can make a name for themselves. Most importantly, it creates a communal environment where you can meet new people in the same line of work.
To host a conference, you’re going to need to book a venue and learn how to set up different areas for display. As a designer, you know that every detail must be exact and everything should happen according to plan. The lights should have the right hue and not conflict with your makeup/skin tone, you’ll need to correctly rig a stage (well maybe you can watch as the professionals do the rigging), and check all of the sound equipment before the conference starts (you want everyone—especially those in the back—to hear you). The benefit of hosting your own conference is designing the entire event to make it unique and special.
Consider your latest designs and what can be learned from them. Perhaps you would like to give insight on working as teams and solo projects. After all, this is your moment to tell the world what you know.
Teach an Online Course
Now that you’re popular in the design community, people want to learn from you. They want to know everything from your technique to your thought process. You’re no longer just a designer. You’re a symbol of success.
You can give back to this community by teaching an online course. You can host a webinar every week and interact with students through a live chat. You can also prerecord videos and create worksheets that can only be accessed through your course website. If teaching a class sounds like too much work, you can take clients one at a time and work with them directly.
Since there’s now a demand for your expertise, you can charge money for your course. However, you can always give the course away for free if you aren’t concerned with making some extra cash.
Write a Book
There are other ways you can share your knowledge besides teaching an online course. You can write a book about your experience as a designer.
You have more freedom with a book then you do with an online course. With an online course, you’re only teaching the technical aspects of design. If you write a book, you can tell a more personal story about your experience and how it led to the creation of some of your designs. The combination of technical elements and personal stories might be more helpful for up-and-coming designers.
You no longer need to sign a deal with a publisher in today’s internet-driven world. You can simply write the book, get it edited and formatted and publish it straight to Amazon. All you need is an audience that’s ready to buy it.
Make a Podcast
Podcasts are gaining popularity by the day. They’re basically radio shows you can listen to at any time, and they’re tailored to a specific niche audience. Think of any topic in the world. You’ll probably find a podcast about it.
People usually listen to podcasts on their commute to work or while they’re cleaning the house. Either way, they’re usually listening alone. This causes the listeners to build a more intimate relationship with the host then if they were reading an article.
Build a stronger bond with your audience by hosting your own podcast about design. Although this might be tricky because design is meant for a visual platform, you can still interview other designers and learn about their experience. You can also have themed episodes that focus on certain design styles.
A podcast will bring you closer to your audience and people will care more about your work.
Your popularity didn’t happen by chance. It happened because you work hard and you create incredible designs. Keep designing and show people why you’re so popular.