What is life like as a freelancer? In this video, Cory Lebson talks about where you can expect to find flexibility and control how you may need to adapt to client needs.
- As an employee, you may go to the office day in and day out, although you can work from home occasionally. You work during hours that they set and requirements that they provide. You have some autonomy, but not as much as you'd like. You dream of a better day, a day when you can really control everything. You can sleep in when you want, take off when you want, choose your clients and the work that you do, and make more money while you do it all. Sounds pretty awesome, right? Before I say anything else, I'll reiterate that I love being a freelancer.
It's all I've been doing for a long time, and I'd love to keep doing it for as long as I can. But that said, while it's often easy to see the upsides of a freelance lifestyle, understand that being a freelancer comes with some potential drawbacks. So keep your eyes open and consider what you're likely to encounter. Yes, you may get autonomy, but you also need to meet client demands if you want to keep that client. Although clients will generally understand that you're not beholden to them, they also still need to get their business done, so they might need you in person at a meeting early in the morning.
They might need you to spend some time working on-site with their designers on their schedule. You can certainly and gently negotiate these aspects and keep them aware that you have other demands on your time, but you do want to make them happy and keep them as a client. Your home office can be anything you need it to be, but you need to spend money to really make it your own and customize it. You need to pay to have computer equipment and software, as it's very likely that nobody else is covering those expenses. I find that I have crazy weeks, where things are moving so fast I can't even stop and think, much less work on other business development.
These weeks are great, they're exciting, but without business development time, my ongoing concern is that when this heavy-duty effort ends, there'll be no other work in the pipeline. There are some weeks when I'm working exclusively at home. Maybe I have lots of work with minimal interaction or maybe I just don't have that much work. Sure, I can use a little bit of extra time to run a few extra miles on the trail near my house or just take care of households things I never got to do in the crazy weeks, but again, I also know that it's critical that I spend time on business development.
If I don't, my future work disappears. We'll talk more about business development when we talk about UX branding and networking for career success. I also want to point out that no matter what, no matter how you end up framing your life, setting client expectations appropriately is one of the most critical things you can do for maintaining client goodwill. Figure out what your capabilities are, tell your clients honestly, and once established, stick to your commitments.
- Traits of successful freelancers
- Specializing as a freelancer
- Transitioning to freelance work
- Searching for your first freelance gig
- Starting as a UX freelancer when you're just out of college
- Finding out what life is like as a freelancer
- UX branding and networking for success
- Advertising your services
- Learning what companies are looking for in a UX freelancer