How Do You Make Consistent Income as a Freelance Fashion Designer?

Freelancing can seem like a rollercoaster of making $3k one month and $100 the next. What will your next project be? Where do you find another client?

Most importantly, how do you make consistent income as a freelance fashion designer?

One of our really successful Freelance Accelerator: from Surviving to Thriving (FAST) grads, PKP,  felt the same way:

“I did not know how to deal with clients, how to get paid, how to be successful… After my first project, the client didn’t pay. And it felt like I was in constant search for a job, as after one project gets over, I need to think about finding the next.” 

But after implementing these strategies, PKP has more than enough work. In fact, she had to hire more designers and is now running a thriving agency–all from the comfort of her home.

If you’ve ever felt like you’re on an endless job hunt too…

I’ll be blunt: getting started is the hardest part. Cold pitching is hard. Sending out your first emails is hard. And then you land one small project, make a few hundred bucks, and now what?

Well let me tell you a little secret…

With the right strategies, you can make consistent income as a freelance fashion designer and your growth will look like this:

How to make consistent income as a freelance fashion designer

Now, there are a ton of strategies to grow like this and reach your earning potential as a freelancer. We cover them all inside FAST, but here are two tips to get you started right now.

ONE: Do an exceptional job.

Go above and beyond to show your client how great you are to work with. No one does this.

Not only will you stand out, they’ll love you and happily give you more work.

Here are three examples of how you can do an exceptional job (it doesn’t take much):

  1. Give them a couple extra design options. “I know we agreed to 5 versions, but there were a few extra ones I thought looked great so included those as well.” (Hillary Glenn shares how this strategy gets her more paid work in this podcast interview!)
  1. Beat your deadline. Since most people are late (and freelancers have a reputation for being flakey), they’ll be thrilled: “I know we set a Friday deadline, but I had this done a little early so wanted to help you get ahead with your work.”
  1. Make yourself available and reply quickly. Even if you can’t get to something right away, acknowledge the email and tell them when you’ll get done.

TWO: Ask for more work.

Just because you landed a project, doesn’t mean they’re going to just start throwing work at you. They may, but most of the time you have to keep asking for it.

The best time to ask for more work is once you’ve completed your first project and your client is thrilled (since you did an exceptional job).

Don’t bombard, but offer to help on whatever task logically comes next.

Design is done? Offer to help with line sheets.

Sketched flats? Let them know you can help with tech packs.

Finished tech packs? Ask to help with sourcing and vendor correspondence.

You can (and should!) also ask for referrals. Freelancing is a relationship business and people in fashion know other people in fashion. If you don’t ask for these things, you won’t get them.

This is a VERY easy way to make consistent income as a freelance fashion designer. Here’s exactly how to do it.

Remind your clients by saying things like this:

“I’m always looking for new brands to work with, if you know anyone who needs some help I’d really appreciate getting any names from you.”

Or if you know they used to work at another brand, you can say: 

“I’d love to reach out to XYZ brand – would you be able to tell me who I could email to see if they have any work? Would it be ok if I mentioned your name?“

You’ll learn to ask for what you want. You’ll learn to put yourself out there. It’ll become more and more comfortable, and you’ll get better and better at it.

And you will be a Successful Fashion Freelancer.

You got this, and you’re doing great.


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