Go to school. While it is possible to survive and even succeed as a freelance graphic designer without formal education, it is very difficult to do so. Besides, being the very best designer you can be is the name of the game, so why not learn as much as possible? You can choose either a short term certificate program or a long term degree program to get your design education. Decide based on your budget and the amount of time you have.
Perfect your software knowledge. As a graphic designer, you want to have a working knowledge of the primary programs in the field. These include Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and many others. However, you probably have (or will have) a favorite program that you feel most comfortable with. Use it, and practice with it, as much as you can.3
Keep an eye on pop culture. Every good graphic designer is also a student for life. Watch for signs of trends and breakthroughs in the world of graphic design. Look at magazines and newspapers regularly to see what types of designs are popular. Read about current trends online. Never let yourself become out of touch.4
Find your niche. As a freelance graphic designer, you are going to be facing a lot of competition for work, including from the big firms. You have to determine what makes you stand out; what will make customers come to you. Whether it is lower price, better customer service, faster turnaround time, or whatever, figure it out and get ready to flaunt it.5
Market yourself. Now you are ready to advertise your services. You can use your own design talents to help out in this area, by designing your own brochures and posters. Get in the habit of handing out business cards to everyone you meet. Join clubs and groups in your area and get to know people. Market with friends and associates. Do everything you can to get your name out there and let people know that you are a talented graphic designer available for hire.6
Get to work. If you have talent and work hard, you will have business in no time. Make sure you always give your clients more than they are paying for. Do everything they ask of you and more. And always provide exceptional customer service. If they are not happy with something, redo it for them at no charge.