Getting Remote Design Jobs/Contracts without Marketplaces6 min read

Some of the common questions that I get a lot:

Do you work on upwork,elance or other marketplaces?

Can I get your upwork profile link?

I am bidding continuously but can’t find any work, How to bid perfectly? How do you do it?

And so on.

When I tell them that I don’t usually work on marketplaces but I do remote & freelance work. They got surprised and think(assuming :P) “wow! I am so cool. How I do that?”. Actually I am not that cool yet, I just do some basic things to make myself visible to the world. Lots of designers from around the world do this. You’ll be also able to do that after reading this article (yeey). Hope this vague article can help you regarding getting design works easily. I am assuming that you are already
a designer and have done lot of basic practices & can do professional projects.

1. Build Your Portfolio

A portfolio is a collection of your best works. Your portfolio is going to tell clients your work story. So, you won’t want to create a bad boring story of yourself I guess. Create a good portfolio for better clients. There are services where you can publish your portfolio(We Will discus about that).

But, Suppose you learned design and can do good work, but you don’t have a project to show, or maybe you are out of ideas to create a new project for portfolio or you want to work on real projects(you’ve no clients still. but searching for them). In those cases, when you are just starting your story I recommend you start working on design contest sites like

This is not a must thing to do while building your basic portfolio (Which will constantly improve when you start to get clients & projects) but the benefits are a lot. You don’t have to win every contest or even any contest. By participating you will not only get designs for your portfolio but also you might win the contest & earn the prize money plus you can get inspirations from awesome designers & feedback from real clients. Those things will help you to take your skills to the next level. Also you get to choose the project ,client and can work on your own pace with a relaxed time limit.

When I started I knew that 99Designs existed. But once I logged in I got lost in the loophole of UX and teleportation (When I get to a site and can’t figure out what’s what, I feel like I have been teleported into alien space). Plus there were complicacy regarding uploading my photo id (since I didn’t have one), So couldn’t participate on one yet. Still I dream about participating a design contest. Now the site & services have been improved. UX is also good on those sites.

2. Getting Your Portfolio Out in the World

You have to have some good works to proceed to this step. Otherwise it wont work.

Okay I guess you have some words (Good Works) to start your story (Portfolio). Now you need to publish them. Let the world view that you do great work. There are several ways to do it. And you might need to do some internet marketing thing, some basic keyword research to be specific. Don’t know that? Don’t worry, Read along. Lets first know what options we have.

  • Portfolio Websites(Who let publish your work Free and with some limitations)
  • Your Own Website

If you are just a starter, I’d recommend to post your works on the portfolio websites rather than your own website. If you have your website ready, Then you can do both at the same time though. I don’t have mine ready. The perks of posting in portfolio site is their popularity. They are already popular, you can use the marketing of them. As some portfolio sites usually require invitation or/and approval, I’d recommend to start with those which don’t require invitation or approval. Behance is one of them , But to get your work popular or featured (Behance have some curation gallery. They feature good designs falling into their curation categories which reach more people) you need to have two things

  • Good presentation (Observe other’s design/other’s posts. This is necessary for pretty much every portfolio sites)
  • Good keywords relative to your field(You can also take inspiration regarding keywords from other designs of the same category and/or type)

By observing I meant you have to see it real good. Think of the design as a case study and you need to find all the small details and evidences.

Though there are limitations of posting design in the portfolio site. Usually work posting space and styles are predefined.

You can create your own website and post work there and keep a contact option to contact you. In these case the main challenge will be marketing. You need to know basic seo techniques by googling and then you are ready to go(This might not work, as some clients usually visits portfolio sites rather then personal sites. But there are exceptions as well.) So, The best idea is having both.(Some portfolio site accounts and a personal portfolio site of yours). Some portfolio sites lets you create
your personal portfolio in a templated manner(Usually uses there template/lets you select from there predefined theme) with a small amount of charge.

After you done posting some work to the internet, keep posting and keep and eye on your inbox. Likely there will be someone looking for your good work.

3. Applying by Yourself Instead of Waiting All The way/Getting a Stable Job

The above ways usually works and you might get a contract/full-time/part-time jobs. But you might not get the type of work you are looking. Or you wanna apply somewhere and get a remote job in a conventional way. That is also possible through lots of sites.

Write a good cover letter, Attach your Resume(Make it a good one) and Portfolio. And wait for the interview call. Just like regular jobs.

4. Other Things You Might Wanna Do

  • Write Blog/Vlog on your website/Medium/Youtube
  • Keep Learning.
  • Keep Yourself Updated with modern trends and designs.

That’s been it. Thanks for reading this vague article. Hopefully you’ll use this techniques and be successful in getting remote works. If you have any questions/opinions, let me know in the comment section.

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