“It’s a small world after all.”

The design and tech world might seem like a big place but it’s not. Silicon Valley is vast but people move around, you’ll definitely run into coworkers at future jobs. If you jump out to a smaller city that is only intensified. Throw social media sites into the mix and you better conduct yourself professionally from day one. There is nowhere to hide in this internet age, so act appropriately from the start to the end of your career.

Do you want to lead?

If my opening wasn’t enough to convince you, let’s jump…

Pile of open, aged books
Pile of open, aged books

If you want to be a successful designer, you better be into learning new things. As a designer, you’ll never be bored. When you start out, there are so many fundamentals to learn like theory, color, and print. As you get into building software and apps you need to learn research, code, and product design. This might sound like a ton but don’t let it overwhelm you. It doesn’t all have to be learned in a weekend or even a year. Start with the basics and grow from there as you feel comfortable. …

Once you’ve got your freelance design business off the ground you’ll want to work on growing it. The first year will be a rollercoaster while you build a client list and figure out what full-time freelancing entails. After the first year, you’ll want to focus your energy on the following activities to take your business to the next level.


I’ve never done much in the way of advertising for my business. I think traditional advertising is a waste of time and money. The best way to get more clients is through referrals. Provide excellent customer service and do good…

The day-to-day running of a freelance business may not be super exciting but it’s just as important as finding new clients. If you aren’t tracking expenses and taking care of yourself, you’ll risk burning out and failing. In this post, I’ll cover some basics about setting up and running your business. I’ll also go over some strategies for raising your rates and avoiding burn out.


Make sure you register your business before you start anything. In Canada, you can register as a Sole Proprietor for about $60. …

“I’m a designer, not a salesperson — so how do I get clients?”

Finding clients for your freelance design business
Finding clients for your freelance design business

Your freelance business will sink quickly if you don’t have great clients. For me, this has always been one of the toughest areas to navigate.

“I’m a designer, not a salesperson — so how do I get clients?”

This is one of the joys of freelance work, you have to be the sales and marketing team if you want to succeed. Building a client list is one of the hardest things you’ll do in your new business. This can make or break your full-time freelance goal.

Above all, make sure you are comfortable talking to people. You don’t have to…

For the past two decades, I’ve been working as a freelancer. From late 90’s Angelfire hosted client sites up to national web and print campaigns, I’ve pretty much done it all. Over that time I’ve learned that freelancing is a rollercoaster ride of freedom combined with pockets of poverty. Don’t let that scare you though, it’s a great lifestyle if you can swing it.

Qualities of a successful freelancer

Freelancing is not for everyone. If you aren’t driven to work hard and be the best designer you can be then this line of work is not likely for you. …

“If you build it, they will come”

Ok, they might not come if you don’t finish it but always keep building! One of the most important things you can do to continue improving as a designer is to build your own side projects. Do them to focus on areas you enjoy and want to explore. You might have an idea for a product or business that you want to try out. Another excellent reason for side projects is to focus on where you need to improve. Don’t forget they should be fun and they don’t have to make money! They…

In this episode, I cover the basics of the agile methodology and how they apply to designers. More Direct Design podcast episodes https://linktr.ee/directdesign


Enjoy this meme instead

Matt Lambert

Head of Design @ Stellar Labs

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