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How to Make A Living Designing Powerpoint Presentations

Nadya K August 26, 2021 · 9 min read

SlideShare is amongst the top 100 most visited websites in the world. In addition to that, since the site is owned by LinkedIn, it receives close to 70 million visitors a month.  As a result, many marketers and businesses attempt to divert some of that traffic back to their own sites by creating SlideShare presentations or PowerPoint templates in order to catch the eyes of their potential audience.
Of these presentations, the ones that are the most popular are the ones that contain very few words per slide, that are visually appealing, and that reside within the content marketing niche.  
Furthermore, the traffic generated from a featured SlideShare presentation is often high quality, and thus highly sought after.
But there’s just one problem that these marketers face – they are not designers.
slideshare design
^most marketers when asked a design question.

Calling all designers:

fancy slide deck
plain slide deck

Something you should know about SlideShare is that the presentations which generate the most traffic are the ones with aesthetically appealing designs (duh). The content itself is the second most important element of a strong presentation.
In other words, people are more likely to click on content that makes use of great spacing, contrasting color schemes and stylish font choices.
Something like this:

Not this:

This is where you come in. As a designer, transforming a dull slide like the latter is easy and comes naturally to you. It’s probably so easy that you’ve never even thought about charging people to do it.
Well, maybe it’s time you started.
After taking a look at Upwork, a site many marketers and businesses use to hire remote workers and freelancers, I noticed that some designers charge as little as $8.00 an hour. If this sounds appealing to you for any reason, just note that people on Upwork are generally charging a fraction of what they could be.
Some agencies actually charge as much as $5000 dollars a project (for ONE slide deck or presentation), or roughly $80 to $100 an hour on the lower end of the spectrum.
The median hourly rate in the U.S.A. for a freelance graphic designer is closer to $20 to $30 an hour, so even if you were to spend just a few hours a week working on designing PowerPoint templates, that’s a fair amount of extra pocket change!

How to find a gig

behance graphic design

This brings us to our next question: how exactly do you find a gig designing PowerPoint templates? Although plenty of marketers write about the need to hire a designer for these presentations, rarely do they list where to find great designers. Most people will hire someone based off of a personal recommendation. Some will just go to a source like Upwork or Fiverr and hire the first individual that crosses their screen. Others will reference your portfolio on known sites like Behance and Dribbble, so your first step is definitely setting something up there if you haven’t already.

Chances are if you’re just getting started and haven’t worked with many people, getting a personal recommendation might not be super easy. Instead, start by looking at some of the presentations and templates on SlideShare that are perhaps not the strongest in terms of design.  
I came across this one in my search which I discovered had less than 2,000 views.
slideshare example
Here is an example of a presentation that appears to be placing content above design. While the content may be informative, the lack of styling is a little distracting and underwhelming.
Compile a list of a few presentations that could probably use some design love and email the individuals who posted them. Let them know that you’re a freelance designer and you would love to help enhance their presentation for them. State your general hourly fee, but then let them know you are willing to do the first design for them at half the price or for free. Get the person on your side and willing to take a risk on you.
Most of the time, the person who uploaded the presentation will provide their Twitter handles and personal websites, so finding an email address shouldn’t be difficult.

Go meta

In addition to creating or adding to your portfolio on Behance and Dribbble, you can create a presentation deck for SlideShare. That way, when you pitch your design skills to different people, you can send them an example of a template you made.
Possible ideas for the SlideShare in question include:

  • 10 Reasons Design Matters In Your SlideShare
  • Why To Hire Me As A Designer
  • 20 Possible SlideShare Color Schemes

 This method allows you to show off your skillset in a more meta way. The possibilities for the content you create are open-ended, and the more you attempt to show off your knowledge about SlideShare in general, and about design, the better your chances are of being contacted back. You can do this exact same thing with other forms of design- like making an infographic about infographic design, or an eBook about eBook design.

Some more resources

When it comes down to creating captivating SlideShare presentations and PowerPoint templates, there’s a huge range of resources available at your disposal. If you have no idea where to begin, or simply need some inspiration, the sources below can offer some great insight to you. Whether you are looking for tips on creating compelling slide decks, or you just want to learn a bit more about the SlideShare platform, use this list as a reference point whenever you feel stuck.

Creating A PowerPoint Template

Creative Market:
The most eye-catching element of a SlideShare are the illustrations and great looking fonts. Creative Market offers the best of both worlds, and it’s common to see presentations and slide decks that make use of Creative Market’s graphics and fonts.
You’ll also find this presentation template roundup useful, as it highlights examples that you won’t believe were actually made with PowerPoint.
If you want to save time and begin with a solid foundation of ready to use designs, you can use a service like SlideModel, which provides users with over 10,000 different types of PowerPoint templates to choose from.
You can use this infographic maker to design custom images, infographics and slides. It’s easy to use since the tool is completely drag and drop, making it very easy to manipulate icons, images and text to your liking.

SlideShare Resources

When it comes to expanding your knowledge about SlideShare, not only do you need to know the facts, but you should also learn how to create templates so that they appeal to your audience. The list of guides and articles below will teach you how to transform a blog post or an article into a SlideShare presentation, how to create visual content that marketers are looking for, how to use your time effectively in order to create beautiful presentation designs and also includes some PowerPoint template design tips that apply specifically to SlideShare.
How To Repurpose Your Blog Post As A SlideShare Presentation
This article simplifies the process of transforming an existing blog post into a SlideShare presentation. In the event that a client hands you a blog post without molding it into a script before hand, this resource will help you figure it out on your own. 
Four Lessons Learned From Creating Over $20,000 Worth Of SlideShare Presentations
In this article, Ross Simmonds explains his experiences dealing with designers and how he typically chooses which ones to hire. It’s a great way to learn what the typical marketer is looking for when it comes to producing a strong presentation. 
6 Presentation Design Dos and Don’ts
This article was published a while ago on the SlideShare blog and highlights some of the important Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to designing a presentation. Most of these rules apply specifically to SlideShare and can make or break the reach of a slide deck.
Quick Solutions to Help You Build a Compelling Presentation Deck in Under an Hour
If you’re trying to make the most of your time, check out this resource for tips on making a compelling and captivating presentation in little to no time at all. If time is money, you’re going to want to make the most of it.

Final Words

As a designer it’s important to show diversity in your practice. Sure, it’s great to have a portfolio that highlights your specific style, but unless you portray your skills in a range of different media, it could be difficult to grow that portfolio in question. Include examples of infographic designs, PowerPoint templates you’ve designed, eBooks and other editorial layouts that show how your skills can be applied to the person hiring you. 
There’s a huge market for SlideShare and presentation designers out there. Remember, the platform has nearly 70 million visitors a month, and hosts a range of content not limited to slide decks.
Furthermore, the type of traffic that SlideShare generates is high quality traffic similar to that of LinkedIn. What this means is that the people who typically hang out on SlideShare are the type of business people who are most likely going to be looking to hire designers like you. 
Once you tap into that market and start networking, the opportunities for work are never-ending. In fact, there are over 400,000 new PowerPoint templates and slide decks uploaded every month. If you use your time wisely, and build your list of contacts there is a lot of potential for making money with SlideShare. All you need to do is grab at those strings of possibility.

Nadya is the Director of Marketing at Venngage where she makes infographics and writes about SEO and Content Marketing. On Fridays she makes dinner for strangers in her home.

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Nadya K
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