So I’m still at it 3 years on. I’ve come a long way since I started when I had no idea about design and was worried if I could actually make this fun hobby into a career. I've made 3 other posts over the years, the first one being about impostor syndrome and the other 2 being career updates. I started learning design when I was 33 and my life was going nowhere employment-wise, I'm 37 now and very happy with how it's gone since I started this journey.
Here are those previous threads:-
My UI progress:-
2014 - http://imgur.com/a/GqTQq
2015 - http://imgur.com/a/OuMlk
2016 - https://imgur.com/a/Hrzam
2017 - https://imgur.com/a/cLO3u (There are others but they're under NDA)
It's been an up and down year. Financially it's been way off the mark. My best year to date has been year two (I worked with an agency for 8 months) but this year my income has actually been less than year one. My hourly rate has been at $50 for about nearly 2 years now I'm still happy with that but I really need to get more hours each week.
I've had remote roles since I started and I love the freedom it affords me. I spent the first 6 months of this year in Thailand which was a dream of mine. Unfortunately, my work dried up as soon as I got there so the trip ate into my savings but it was an awesome experience nonetheless. I plan to do a ton more travelling over the next few years but I think they'll be shorter trips, I miss my creature comforts too much e.g. designing on a 34" ultrawide monitor ;)
The main thing I need to do this year is diversify the way I find clients. I've relied on a single method so far and the odd referral. I've recently bought a book called 'Book Yourself Solid', hopefully it'll give me a shove in the right direction. Ideally, I'd work remotely for an agency again while I work out better ways of finding my own clients.
I'm pretty confident 2018 will be better than 2017 and tbh it won't be that hard because it didn't turn out great. Like last year I need to work on the marketing side of things and get more serious about learning UX so I can offer it as a service.
Here's some things that helped in the beginning and throughout this journey:-
UXPin Ebooks (these are free)
The Non-Designers Design Book
Steal Like an Artist
Nguyen Le’s Process Masterclass
Paul Jarvis’ Creative Class
p.s. Special thanks to my Slack buddies Laura, Helen, Marko, James & Imran for being awesome!