Thinking of going freelance/contracted, any advice?

over 5 years ago from James Storer, UI Designer at blinkbox

  • Wes OudshoornWes Oudshoorn, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    I do some stuff that might be a a bit unusual:

    • I have day-rate instead of an hourly rate
    • I don't do fixed-price projects.
    • I charge more for longer contracts because they limit my freedom. Most people charge less because it gives them certainty.
    • I charge less if I can work from home.
    • I charge the time I can work while commuting.

    When it comes to sales I believe that:

    • You should believe that you have something that other designers don't have. Makes it so much easier to sell yourself and your rates.
    • Become friendly with other freelancers that are already established. Work often comes in waves and if you say no to a client that is looking, you'll probably give them some of the names of people you like. Other people will do the same for you.
    • Drink coffee and visit companies, even if they're not looking. You often don't find the company that is looking for designers at that exact moment, but they'll find you when they are looking.

    Other than that:

    • Ad-agency work is often rushed and not well-payed.
    • Corporate gigs are usually longer and well-payed.
    • If you like working in development teams, you'll often be an easy hire.
    • Doing front-end development / any type of coding helps if you're an interactive designer.
    12 points
    • Ash AdamsonAsh Adamson, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

      I second Wes's post, this the best breakdown of how to make things ideal.

      Finding work is also about telling everyone what you're doing, in this case going freelance. Make yourself open and avail to talk and educate prospects on yourself and process however don't make it seem like you accept everyone. Often makes it clear that you're more than just looking for work, you're looking for a "good fit." This signals that you're more than just taking work for pay, you want to make sure everyone vibes well.

      I've found most my work comes through referrals, find the right group of entrepreneurs or businesses and do great work in those circles, word will spread. Business schools, tech events, have a ton of new entrepreneurs looking for designers.

      Learn to observe potential clients. If they are in a hurry, have unrealistic expectations, or show any sign of disregard or disrespect to other people you should mark that as a red flag. Don't work with these types of people. The best paid gigs come from people who are results oriented, focus on these people. You'll be higher paid, and less micro-managed.

      2 points
      • wasil arwasil ar, over 5 years ago

        Noted the emphasis of good fit, focus on result oriented client, no rush.

        0 points
      • Gilli Sigurdsson, over 5 years ago

        Learn to observe potential clients. If they are in a hurry, have unrealistic expectations, or show any sign of disregard or disrespect to other people you should mark that as a red flag. Don't work with these types of people. The best paid gigs come from people who are results oriented, focus on these people. You'll be higher paid, and less micro-managed.

        I think this is one of the most valuable things you can learn in freelancing. I have met a lot of people who complained about having all kind of problems with their clients, like not getting paid. This is something I have almost never experienced because I learned how to read the clues before signing a contract.

        Protip: One of the biggest clues that a client will be trouble is if he finds it uncomfortable to pay anything upfront.

        0 points
    • Will AlmendrasWill Almendras, over 5 years ago

      Very fruitful and Straight to the point..

      I learn a lot from your views. Thanks. Cheers!

      0 points