— BY REMON — IN Freelancing

Is it worth starting freelance as a designer today


I hope this finds you well! In this month’s issue, I wanted to share some thoughts on a topic that pops up a lot at the moment and might be on your mind, too: Is diving into freelance design worth it in our current landscape?

When I started freelancing in 2009, the world was totally different from the one we live in now. Back then, the field was less crowded, and opportunities felt endless. Platforms like Dribbble were my go-to spots for finding gigs. I could count on snagging a handful of opportunities every week. But now, the transition to design AI has made the industry more challenging and exciting than ever. It’s not just about making websites look pretty; it’s about crafting experiences people love and keep coming back to. And guess what? The demand for talented designers is through the roof right now. Businesses are realizing that they need top notch designs that catch the eye and make every click a pleasure to stand out. So, what’s the big problem now?

The market situation

The job market is saturated right now. With all the layoffs, many skilled professionals are out there looking for work. Nowadays, it feels like every other person you meet is a designer. The market is flooded with talent, and standing out is challenging. Most jobs are being filled through word of mouth, so it’s essential to network and have the right skills and experience. I’ve seen a bunch of my super-talented designers struggle to find something. The whole situation is different. I think with design, we are now in a mid-life cycle, AI taking over and general uncertainty. It’s been a long time coming, and with all the advancements in AI and automation, it will take a lot of work. It’s understandable to feel concerned about the future. But let’s remember that we’re all in this together.

Side tip: Instead of viewing AI and new technologies as threats, use them to your advantage.

Be flexible and stay strong

Nobody guarantees success in freelancing. Dips in demand, client churn, and project droughts are part of the package. Here’s the hard truth in freelance, no one’s coming to save you, especially during tough times. The market doesn’t owe us anything. Designers who are flexible and adaptable to the fast-paced industry are the future. Those who can weather this storm will be well-positioned to thrive when better days come. Stay strong and keep pushing forward!

Standing Out

Gone are the days when a few eye-catching designs on Dribbble or Behance would regularly land you high gigs. Today, it’s not just about talent but visibility. Yet, despite the challenges, For many, networking, a killer portfolio, and marketing are the go-to strategies. But here’s the twist – they’re table stakes now. Everyone’s doing them and doing them well. What’s missing? Personal branding. Establishing a unique voice and presence online can make or break your freelance career. How-to: Start a blog or a YouTube channel sharing your design process, thoughts on UI/UX trends, or even tutorials. Be the designer showcasing their work and thought leadership in the space.

Get ready for the future

Embracing change, preparing business, and finding your unique value proposition in this crowded market can pave the way for success. I think this how you can prepare for the future: Learn new skills and be creative in approaching things. Use AI automation and no-code tools to make your life easier. Also, it’s a good idea to learn copywriting, business (ROI), and other design skills, so you can market yourself like a pro! Keep learning, keep growing, and you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and please let me know what you think in the comments below.

Author picture

Hi! I'm Remon Leijtens

I hope you got value out of my writing. If I can help in some small way on your design journey I’d love to hear it – comment below, email me or tweet at me.

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