Getting started with freelance design

Matt Lambert
10 min readFeb 19, 2020

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. You also need to be willing and able to wear a lot of different hats in your new business.

This is hard work

Freelancing is a ton of hard work. It’s harder than a regular job because you are the sole employee. If you want to be successful as a freelancer you have to be ready to hustle. If you are just starting out you may want to consider freelancing on the side to start. Get a full-time job, where you can learn from senior designers/developers, and do client work on the side. That way you have the security of a full-time job but can bring in some extra cash in your free time.

Organization is key

Being the only employee of your new company you’re going to wear a bunch of different hats. First of all, you need to find client work. Next, you have to complete said client work while communicating with your customers along the way. Your other less sexy responsibilities can include…