Do you know that you live in a Freelance Nation? Every day it gets truer. There are currently more than 53 million freelancers in the US – 37.5% of the workforce. By 2020, this figure will exceed 50 percent. Consider that. The majority of Americans will be entrepreneurs within four years. Jump in. It’s fine.
It might be time for you to try your wings as a UX freelancer if you have an eye for design and empathy for users. A CNN Money article lists ‘UX Designer’ as one of the Best Jobs in America, with an 18 percent growth rate and a top salary of $138K. That is to say, and there is no reason you cannot be working from the beach shortly (OK, we are getting carried away … but you get the idea!). You only need determination, skills, and customers.
Springboard works with industry experts to pair people interested in becoming UX designers with trainers. Many of them have gone on to work as freelancers and become part of the UX industry. As a result of our research into UX careers, we accumulated insights about how to start getting more UX work than you can handle. Here are the results.
1. Let people know you are available for business
Maintain your portfolio and your website. Afterward, let everyone know you are open for business! The number of freelancers who skip this step and instead apply to obscure job boards will surprise you.
UX freelancers are in high demand. It is essential to post your work in portfolio communities such as Behance and Dribbble. Create a freelancer profile on Upwork. Own your domain, begin telling the story of your work, and let people know how they can contact you.
Next, reach out to friends, family, community members, and people you have worked within the past. Let your potential employers know you’re available!
By doing this right, you’ll see your first clients start trickling in. Having a growing online presence will also reassure prospective clients while also increasing your customer base.
2. Make small steps
Reputation is everything. A lot of UX freelancers short-change themselves by taking on too much too fast. Choosing a partner from the beginning should be extremely difficult. Resentment always shows through your work when you take on a job you do not want to do. Perform a few tasks exceptionally well. We will grow through repeat and referral business in the future. As soon as you establish a reputation for quality, you can increase productivity.
When it comes to referrals from your network for exceptional work you have done for them, this will be your best source of employment. If you do an excellent job for your first few clients, they will be more inclined to leave you a testimonial. In doing so, they indirectly introduce you to new customers.
3. Connect with Others
Think of “networking” as one of your essential tasks. Often, the best way to find new work is through your network. You will have to pass on work from crucial clients in the future. It would help if you referred talented UX designers to your clients. In the case of more significant projects, you may be able to subcontract with another designer. Now is the time to strengthen your network. Get to know people well and build win-win relationships that will help you in the future.
Visit communities like Designer News. Intelligent comments and feedback will create value for people there, and you’ll quickly be able to find out about upcoming freelance opportunities, as well as networking opportunities.
4. Monitor job boards
A job board is like a restaurant or bar. The good ones attract so much business that you eventually have to move on to find something new. There are several sources of work available right now, including:
UX Switch – UX Jobs
Smashing Magazine – Smashing Job
Designer Hangout – UX Job Board
You can tend your network to locate the popular boards among your network by reading the point above. Even when times are good, many freelancers spend the first hours of their mornings looking for work. It’s best to book yourself as far in advance as possible because pipelines can dry up quickly. Be proactive in seeking employment, but leave enough room in your schedule for delays and rush jobs.
5. Don't burn out - outsource when necessary
By far, this is the most detailed advice to follow. Among your job responsibilities as a freelancer, UX design is not your only responsibility. In addition to being a sales rep, you will also be a marketing expert, a project manager, an accountant, a purchasing agent, a legal advisor, and a therapist for nervous clients. Take a lot of vacation time and bill accordingly. There are times when a beach should be a beach, not an office. Make sure your one employee (you) is well cared for before they leave permanently.
Never forget that UX begins and ends with the user. If you approach every job as a new one, you will see it as fresh and exciting. However, it might not be enough to save you from an overwhelming tide of work.
After following the steps above and getting involved in the community of people known for doing excellent design work, you will not encounter any difficulty finding employment. As a result, you will be overwhelmed by the amount of work you are required to do. At this point, look for ways to outsource and automate as much as possible. Hire a virtual assistant to help you prioritize potential clients. Automate the scheduling of phone calls with potential and existing clients by creating templates and automated systems. Finally, if the work is truly overwhelming and you have built a great brand with tons of inbound interest, you may want to consider sharing some of your work with other designers who will be subject to your standards.
While you will need to make sure the work meets your standards, you will be able to do so much more than you ever thought possible.
It can be challenging to find work as a UX freelancer. To get a job, you have to make sure your skills are sharp, and you have to work constantly to gain employment. The tips above will help you build a career as a UX freelancer where you can thrive rather than struggle.