8 tips for freelance UI UX designers from Raleigh Tomlinson

8 tips for freelance UI UX designers.

Working as a freelance UX designer can be very fulfilling, as it’s full of variety in terms of design ideas and clients, but it takes time – and effort – to get into the swing of things. 

For World Health Day, Raleigh Tomlinson joined us for a live event where she walked us through a day in her life as the Senior Product Designer with the meditative Headspace. In her role, Raleigh focuses on creating engaging experiences that help users learn how to use meditation. 

Before she started full-time with Headspace, Raleigh was a freelance UX designer. She shares some very helpful advice freelancing tips for UX designers, including promoting your portfolio and knowing your worth.

tips for freelance ui ux designers

1. Learn as you go

I got into design as a freelancer. I did a boot camp and I was about one month into my boot camp when I found my first freelancing project.

2. Ask for intro calls

You always want to reach out to people on LinkedIn for interview calls, before you apply for the position or as you’re applying for the position because most companies give a bonus for referrals.

3. Buil a Portfolio and promote it

Before I joined Headspace, I had done about 12 products as a freelancer and, even though I was only about a year or two into the field, I came with a really strong portfolio when I was going through the interview and application process. Headspace is actually my first full-time job but I’ve been here for over a year and it’s been wonderful.

4. Choose a work that appeals to you

You want to make sure that the problems you’re solving and the products you’re building are engaging enough to keep you interested and to keep you excited to wake up each day and come to work. Because otherwise, you know, you’re just drudging along like “I’m just here to make it to the next paycheck mode”, which is not how you want to live.

5. Be active and get networking

People rarely hire new designers that say  “I’ve haven’t gotten started at all” or  “I had some job like a year ago, but I haven’t been doing anything lately”.

6. Write about your work

If you write articles and blogs, that’s a really big way that people can find you. A lot of you probably have really interesting things on your mind about design. I know that some of my most interesting thoughts around the philosophy of UX came when I was just getting started.

7. Specialise in an Area

Most of the time, you’re gonna have to choose.  Am I a researcher? Am I a user experience designer or am I a UI designer? Headspace have product designers, which is UX and UI. So I do full-stack design but in most cases, you will choose one or the other.

8. Be confident in your job

I always introduce myself as a user experience designer, not “I’m in a bootcamp, I’m learning user experience!” I printed out my name on a card that just said “Raleigh Tomlinson user experience designer”. I felt confident in adopting that into my identity.

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