Here’s what I learned after a year of going freelance.
A year ago, I was employed full-time at an exciting tech company here in London as a Product Manager, and we were fast approaching the one year milestone for remote working — and then I quit to go freelance (missing a couple of steps in between, but that’s a story for another time). Here are a couple of things I’ve learned from my first year of being a full-time freelance Product and UX consultant.
Don’t undersell yourself!
When you’re thinking of going freelance and you don’t have a portfolio of clients, it can be tempting to offer some consultancy for free. There are absolutely companies that would benefit from some free consultancy — and there are absolutely companies that can afford to pay you for your time.
The thing is, even if you’re new to freelancing, you will still have the skills and experience to create value, so even if you bill at a lower rate, don’t feel you have to work for free to build your portfolio. You may be getting work to build out your portfolio, but ultimately, what you’re doing is likely to be much more valuable for your client!
As a side note from experience, some companies will take advantage of you for offering free or cheaper work. If you feel this is happening to you, give the company in question a chance to correct it, and if they don’t and you can, move on to new opportunities.
It can get pretty lonely — find good people to bounce around ideas!
A few weeks after leaving my full-time role, I began to feel frustrated. Before, I had colleagues I would casually chat with and bounce ideas around with, and suddenly, I didn’t have that.
Since then, I have found clients with whom I do discuss ideas, but it’s not the same for every project. However, I do now have several other freelance friends who work in the same field, and we have our own Slack where we can throw around thoughts and crucially, get other perspectives. We share interesting articles, tweets, even little insights from various projects, and it has helped keep me sane. And the best part — whenever I fancy a coffee break, I always have someone to have a cheeky Zoom with and geek out on the most recent viral UX tweet or product…