I'm planning on returning to self-employment (graphic design) full time.

In the past, I used to get most of my work with the following two approaches:

  1. Meeting as many new people as possible — a lot of this was simply me making friends with fellow self-employed types, and sometimes ended up getting work out of it
  2. Putting together a list of design agencies and sending out cold-emails to get them to outsource work to me

Currently, I need to get some work lined up fast (long story) and #1 above won't quite cut it in the short term right now.

So, aswell as doing #2 above, I'm now considering sending out mass emails (similar to #2 above) but to normal businesses who may need to hire a graphic designer... e.g. dentists or hair salons etc.

Would it be bad practice / unethical to email them out of the blue like this? Or would it be considered spam and possibly get my email blacklisted?

Part of me thinks it could be effective, another part of me thinks it might just make a lot of businesses hate me.

  • Why would it be unethical? What ethical standards do you think this would break?
    – joeqwerty
    Oct 21 '19 at 4:30

I think the issue regarding ethics relates more to how you actually obtain the details of people to send out the cold emails (i.e. whether it is solicited or not) rather than the actual act of 'cold calling' itself.

There is nothing wrong with being able to 'broadcast' information regarding your services if you are already part of a group which this is an accepted behaviour. However, if you are looking at social platforms like LinkedIn then often this can be frowned upon (if not downright ineffective).

I am curious why you haven't suggested freelancing websites as an option and why you prefer to build your own list clients (which you might have had while working for a company).

  • Thanks, that sounds about right... my method is by looking for local businesses on Google and putting together a list of names & email addresses. Can I just check which freelancing websites you're referring to? As I've always found the likes of People Per Hour etc to have shockingly low budgets
    – user15733
    Oct 23 '19 at 20:08
  • 1
    @Pel some of what you said about freelancing websites is true, and like most jobs you certainly have to work hard in the beginning to get new clients and your ratings up to get better jobs (not unlike the real world actually). Upwork and Freelancer.com seem to be the two that many people talk about, Fiver and others are typically known for simple and low-end type of work. I haven't heard of People Per Hour :p Oct 23 '19 at 21:38

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