My experience working as a freelance UX UI designer

1. How long have you been solo?

My experience as a freelance designer started back in 2010 where my situation changed from working full time in a creative agency and then being told that my job would be at risk due to changes that were being made within the company, ultimately meaning I would be made redundant in a matter of weeks. A natural reaction to this may of been to panic, but I felt a sense of freedom, the chance to explore what I wanted and to influence and engage with people or clients in the way that would make me really enjoy what I do.

2. What is your biggest challenge as a freelancer?

Getting clients

When you enter the freelance world you already know how to craft your skill as a designer but nobody really tells you how to become good at business and that’s probably because you don’t know what questions to ask when you start out. One of the biggest challenges I found right at the start was making connections with new companies, shamelessly cold calling, emailing and finding out who’s the best person to speak to and getting an online presence — getting clients is an art in itself and keeping hold of them is down to you.

Ways of working

One of my tips when working with clients is to keep good communication in the working hours that you want to be contacted. You have to be strict with your schedule and manage your own time to keep within a budget and maintain a work life balance, working on your own can be a challenge and extremely rewarding at the same time. Remember, you don’t have to be completely separated from your clients or colleagues that you may be collaborating with, get face to face on a video call — don’t be the faceless freelancer, especially if you’re doing a lot of remote work and are not available to be onsite.

Get face to face on a video call — don’t be the faceless freelancer, especially if you’re doing a lot of remote work and are not available to be onsite.

Richard Hill, Freelance designer

3. How secure do you feel being self employed?

People ask me this all of the time — how secure do you feel being self employed? What if the work dries up? Well, it takes a bit of time but if you know you have something that people will buy the work eventually comes to you — and that is a beautiful thing when it happens. As I mentioned at the start of this article I was in what I thought was a secure job, but then I was given 4 weeks notice before that full time job ended, that made me think — nothing is secure, you’re only as secure as what you have in the bank, with that mindset I felt confident exploring my own options as a freelancer.

If you know you have something that people will buy the work eventually comes to you — and that is a beautiful thing when it happens.

Richard Hill, Freelance designer

4. What’s the best thing about working for yourself?

Freedom to choose my work

You’ve been meaning to move on for sometime in that non creative role you realise that you hate, but moving on too soon within full time employment comes with negativity, people feel that they owe the company their time and if you’ve not been there long enough — you’re a failure and it doesn’t look good on the CV. As a freelancer your mindset changes, companies are now clients and you are your own boss. If you feel financially secure don’t be afraid to move on with what’s the best fit for you and your career, gain what experience you can and use it to embrace your next challenge.

Physical flexibility of work (location and time)

The flexibility of work has it’s advantages, it’s always good to change your environment and clients, be flexibly, keep fresh and always enjoy the freedom of life. I love short project work as it helps me think fast and on my feet, condense my thinking time and be razor sharp with thoughts and ideas. Working remotely means you can spend that extra time with the family at the end of the day rather then travelling, but also putting yourself out of your comfort zone and jumping on a train to attend a workshop on the other side of the country can feel extremely exciting too. It’s definitely healthy to change things up, feel nervous about what’s next, the fear of not knowing always makes me produce my best work keeping me hungry to learn more.

Being my own boss

There is something nice about being your own boss and making your own decisions. You can decide how and when you want to work, take holidays and charge what you think you’re worth. What I’d say is I like the fact that I’m not owned by an entity, I can make my own career and business led decisions. One of the other thoughts for me is that I don’t need to fall inside a hierarchy but rather operate as a consultant and advise appropriately using my experience.

Conclusion

The ‘unknown’ is exciting for me, it means you have a choice, you can go down a path and if it’s wrong then change it. The idea of freelance is ‘variety’ in terms of work, people, environments and experiences. Freelancing and entrepreneurship has its ups and downs, but as long as you keep at it, in the long run you’ll have complete control over your future, earnings and your happiness. Feel free to pop over to see some of my work, maybe drop me a message – I’d love to hear from you

 

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