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You should freelance in your free time

If you just switched to UX design and are waiting to land your first full-time position, or you’re in the industry and have the bandwidth for extra projects, you should consider freelancing. For both the newcomer and the seasoned professional, freelancing as a side gig can propel your career forward in the following ways:

  1. Diverse Projects: Freelancing allows you to work on various projects spanning different industries. When we take on work outside of our day-to-day, we can showcase our adaptability and capacity to tackle new challenges.
  2. Portfolio Building: Freelancing will help you build your portfolio with different projects and design challenges, which are powerful tools when seeking full-time employment or additional freelance work. A strong portfolio is critical to break into the UX design market, and you want to ensure your portfolio is competitive and exhibits your potential.
  3. Networking Opportunities: Networking is crucial in the design industry, and freelancing offers a chance to establish connections that may lead to future referrals, job opportunities or partnerships. Working with various clients, collaborators, and industry professionals will help establish your professional network that you will rely on for years to come.
  4. Skill Development: Freelancing hones not only your design skills but also essential non-design skills such as client communication, project management, and financial literacy. Dealing with real-world constraints prepares you for the practical aspects of the industry and exposes you to all parts of the design process.
  5. Independence and Autonomy: By freelancing, you can take control of your work and decision-making processes, fostering your creativity and sense of ownership over the projects you undertake.
  6. Building a Personal Brand: Freelancing allows you to establish and build your personal brand. It gives you the space to showcase your unique style, approach, and expertise. It will become the foundation of who you are as a UX designer. 

Between the job interviews and downtime during sprints, freelancing is a tool that can add valuable skills to your resume, build your portfolio, get networking opportunities, and earn you some extra income. Plus, you’ll get the exposure necessary to figure out where you want your career to go.

If you enjoy freelancing as a side gig, you may even consider freelancing full-time, but make sure you do all of your research and are in the financial position to do so before making that switch.

Getting started can be as simple as offering design services to a small business you frequent or reaching out to someone you know who needs a website. Starting is the hardest part, but here are some resources to make that easier:

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