Tired of working for an agency? Envious of your freelancer friends that have escaped the nine-to-five grind?
Hey, you certainly aren’t alone.
More and more digital designers are finding their footing on their own terms, embracing the remote hustle that we in tech so often romanticize.
Here’s a bit of a reality check, though: getting into digital freelancing isn’t a walk in the park. Taking the leap can be incredibly lucrative, but it can also be daunting for those who’ve become accustomed to a steady gig.
The good news? The environment for freelance designers is arguably friendlier than ever: it’s just a matter of covering your bases to ensure you’re proactive, productive and attractive to potential design clients. Outlined below are four things you need to do to ensure that tick those boxes.
Upgrade Your Tools of the Trade
First thing’s first: being a top-tier designer in the eyes of clients and peers means having the best tech on deck. Need a new laptop, Wacom tablet or peripherals such as portable chargers and noise-canceling headphones? Consider that being fully equipped will make living the remote life so, so much easier.
However, if you’re looking to transition careers it makes perfect sense to keep as much money in your pocket as you can. Whether it’s through Amazon coupons for electronics or shopping around for refurbished, second-hand tech, don’t be afraid to hunt for deals on what you need to get ahead as a designer.
Produce a Powerhouse Portfolio
Designers live and die by their portfolios, plain and simple. Take a look at industry influencers to see how they show off their past designs and use one-pagers to win over clients and customers alike. Remember: you can talk all day about your past work, but digital designers truly operate in a world of “show, don’t tell” where seeing is believing.
Oh, and while your portfolio does indeed serve as your digital resume, it never hurts to touch up your paper one, too. Make sure to feature any latest projects, programs or events you’ve attended to show that you’re an active player in the industry.
Step Up Your Slack Game
For the sake of staying connected and getting work done, Slack has become a true staple of the design industry. Just about any prospective client will expect you to have a presence and the in’s and out’s of how the platform works. As such, you may want to go ahead and look into productivity apps for Slack including Google Drive and Trello so you can get to work ASAP.
Stay Social with Fellow Designers
On a related note, networking is crucial to both finding gigs and new opportunities as a designer. From past employers and coworkers to friends in the space, you should dedicate specific Slack channels and your social presence to stay in the loop on where your expertise might be needed.
Also bear in mind that loneliness is one of the biggest challenges of remote work. When you’re working in isolation, having those touchpoints with other professionals is a game-changer for both staying busy and sane.
Business is booming for remote designers, although easing into the lifestyle might take a bit of adjustment for those who are used to working exclusively with teams and clients in-person. By covering the bases below, you can make the transition smoother for yourself so you can start getting down to business sooner rather than later.