Tips to improve your portfolio, finding the right clients, and getting paid $$$
If you have any burning questions, desires, whatever it may be. Our topic for today is around freelancing Fernanda from Sao Paolo into career change architecture into design, looking for remote working portfolio and freelance as well Columbus, Ohio with Quinn thinking about getting freelancing, moving from software engineering into ux.
And for anyone who’s just joining us for the first time, welcome. Welcome to QTBIPOC Design. We are now a nonprofit organization based here in the United States, empowering queer bipo designers to break into thrive and succeed in the creative industry. And we host monthly events such as this UX Nights, and we have our annual UX bootcamp course, which we hold at the end of each year.
And we’re also really excited as a part of our programming this year, to partner closely with other queer centered, trans centered organizations. And so stay tuned with that. More to come later on this year. And for those of you returning welcome back family. Really love having you back again. Awesome.
So we’re also a really interactive crew too, so if you have any questions or just things that just come up or you just wanna say stuff and get it off your, mind and your chest and your heart, just type into chat or throw down some emojis. . Awesome. So we’ll go into freelance. The first part is just around your portfolio.
What is it for? We have some tips for that. And then we’ll get into more of the logistical stuff of finding the right clients. And then also how do you just get paid and just some tips and tricks that have helped me to be successful. And a little bit of context for those of you who don’t know me, I’ve been in the creative industry for quite some time.
Started off. Funny enough, I was studying to go into the medical field in college, and then I pivoted to go into computer science and web development. And this was before UX was really a thing. And so I started off my career as a web developer and then I pivoted over into UX design but also did graphic design too in between.
And since then I’ve worked around different companies, tech companies, agencies, all around the United States. And since then, branching off to start my own product design studio where I have both freelance practice sitting in as a either creative director, executive creative director at other organizations or.
Leading smaller design initiatives that we are just bringing in with our agency right now. And then in tandem also helping to manage QTBIPOC design, which is our our just breath of fresh air and our love for the community. And so really the intentionality of our nonprofit organization was really on how do we bring diverse invisibilize underrepresented voices into the mix, and especially as a part of freelancing This is really close and near and dear to my heart because this is how I started off my career and just how I broke into the tech sector and just figuring out what opportunities existed for me.
And what’s really interesting, I’ll just do a little bit of a macro lens to things, is right now you see a lot of company, right? Unfortunately releasing a lot of stuff. They’re still very profitable. And so I won’t go into too much of the economics of it, but let’s just say there’s a lot of stuff happening that’s just ending up with a lot of people just on the market.
What that means is also these companies still need a lot of people to work. And so what we’re seeing is just a lot of demand shifting from full-time roles over into what we call more liquid talent, fluid talent, which means more flexible talent, which is freelancing and people who are on a contract basis.
And one of the benefits of it, while it might be a little bit more volatile for some folks, it definitely allows you to have the opportunity to try a bunch of different opportunities, different clients, different companies working full 40 hours a week, working even more, sometimes working much less.
And I think the beauty of the flexibility is you’re able to test and try a bunch of different things and the. Funny thing too, right? Is this is all about ux. How are we testing and validating ultimately what we want to do? And so really for today, we’re gonna talk a lot about a lot of things that go into feeding.
How are you cultivating this, right? How are you cultivating this life within design that’s ultimately aligned with what you want to accomplish? Yeah. Cool. So going first into the first section is really around portfolio. And as we think about design portfolios, I think the thing that comes up and resonates the most.
And feel free for everyone to type what your thoughts are, but it’s just the difficulty of it, right? It’s like the dreaded portfolio, the updating of the portfolio, like putting stuff down. And what I will share are just a few tips and just few insights of just how we spinning that around. Especially as we think about how we get design jobs, right?
I think portfolio is really how it of differentiates itself as a career, as an industry. And at the end of the day, we have even like job roles and functions that don’t even look at resumes nowadays. But the way to think about. All of this is just taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture.
Oftentimes, especially when we’re focusing as designers on a part of just the business right, or transactions with clients we oftentimes focus so heavily and scrutinize on the stuff that we have the most impact on sometimes, or the stuff that we are very familiar with, right? And so oftentimes we double down on the stuff that we know the most and we spend so much time on it, but not focusing on all the other stuff.
And really, as we think about portfolio, it’s a small piece of the entire journey. And why I’m mapping out the client journey here is. An opportunity for everyone to just empathize and put yourself in the seat of the person who would be potentially working with you. And so this is a real slim down client journey.
Highly recommend everyone to do this, right? Putting a journey of your perspective, freelance client, right? Just map it out and just start thinking about what are they doing day-to-day? How are they thinking about projects and how are they engaging with other vendors or contractors such as yourself will allow you to better understand exactly what are the things that you need to do that are the most important as a part of it.
And so the thing that I wanna stress before we get into tips is just the fact that portfolio is really about. When clients have done the research, they’ve understood who they want to meet with, and then they’ll just reach out to you, right? With a portfolio. Granted, you’ll do interviews and you’ll show the portfolio and show your capabilities, et cetera, et cetera.
But most of the time you could do that with even like a presentation, right? Like a keynote slides, setting up the presentation deck. And oftentimes we just invest so much time into the portfolio thinking that if we had the por perfect portfolio, everything will solve itself. And unfortunately, that is not the case.
And so what I wanna stress is if you are just putting way too much time and attention to the portfolio question, just ask yourself is why am I doing it? And is this another form of procrastination? , how does that hit for everyone? But really I wanna highlight a few key aspects for the portfolio.
Really, it’s just that, again, it’s just to get the interview and get the contact. Beyond that, especially with the portfolio website, that’s all you need to do. And especially as we talk about different tiers, right? Different levels of people’s capabilities. Honestly, if you are just starting off in UX and you are going into freelancing and you have a couple portfolio case studies already just to exemplify Hey, I could do, these deliverables, right?
That’s all you need to do. And if you’re not getting the leads, just avoid putting more time into the portfolio and trying to make it prettier and just investing time into other parts, right? Of the client experience and client journey. Another hypothetical scenario, right? Would you. As a client, stick with a designer who has the most beautiful portfolio, but when it came to actually working with them, they didn’t pay attention to you.
They didn’t do X, Y, Z. Or if you had another designer that you are picking from, imagining the client now. Okay. Portfolio checks all the boxes, but is just an amazing person to work with. And sometimes some people like, oh, it’s a clear, obvious decision. You can decide on your own.
But also I hope that helps to contextualize where the portfolio sits with everything else. Granted, yes, there are definitely clients who will make a decision based on portfolio, but what I’ve come to learn are the clients. Are indexing so much on just like aesthetics alone are just actually better human beings
And sometimes the clients that you get in that are just off of only aesthetics alone sometimes are just some of the most nitpicky people. And so it’s like a portfolio becomes a double-edged sword in a way where you may increase what you call the funnel, the upper funnel is what they call it.
You might increase the funnel of giving more clients, but they might not be as more aligned with what you want. And so that’s just something to think about, especially as you’re investing time into it. My question to you all is, just in the spectrum of what you’re working on, how much time are you investing in your portfolio?
But I’ll just zip through a few important slides. . And some things to think about is just again, there’s this matrix that we work on, which is the what, how, why, but basically thinking about what do you stand for, right? And this what, that you’re also delivering, especially when you are a more junior or an associate level UX designer.
You don’t have to have all of these, very ethereal. Like I see a lot of UX portfolios say something like, I, I’m a passionate UX designer that loves to, do X, Y, Z. Think about the human experience. It’s , especially when I look at somebody’s portfolio, I’m like, what else would you be thinking about
Not the human right. Or the flip side. Why can’t you just be a solid UX designer? That just does really great personas, really great journeys, right? And especially when people are looking at talent to bring on board, they know that when they pay a certain price, they get a certain level.
And especially when it comes to experience, you don’t have to try so hard upselling yourself. So a good kind of example, I will give you all of just like where to just start even level setting your portfolio is take a look at the other portfolios of other people at your level and use that as a baseline of what you’re starting to compare yourself to.
I see a lot of junior creatives or associate level creatives try to take, portfolios of creative directors or much senior, VP creatives and try to mimic it. And also on the outside looking in, I’m just gonna give you a Real Canty, right? If I was a client, I’d be like, okay, you’re like.
Almost like puffing up, right? Like a blowfish like what are you like really about? And so sometimes you just need to be much more much more real about just what you’re offering and just have an alignment with that, right? Especially as a customer. Wouldn’t you want the customers who just align with what you’re putting out there and what you’re selling and just going, okay, great, Like it doesn’t have to be the fanciest thing. Same thing when it comes to food, right? Do we always just go for the most expensive food just because it’s more expensive? Not really, right? Sometimes we just go for food that is just. At a certain price point that nourishes exactly what I need. And the same thing goes for design and design projects.
Some design projects have only a certain amount of budget, and that only amount of budget will sometimes have to go for cheaper resourcing. And especially as you think about like how you compete, there’s so many things that’s already happening around like the business sense that go into how clients sometimes pick and choose and dictate who they work with.
And so it’s a long-winded answer to, just be aligned with what you’re offering and not have to add too many bells and whistles to it. Because sometimes that pulls away from what exactly you’re trying to sell. And especially when people are hiring for roles too. If I was managing a, a company’s creative team and they’ll say, Hey, you have a X number of budget, right?
A hundred K and you have to hire two people. I obviously know I have limitations with the budget, right? And so I’m looking for a specific talent who can just do, checking some of the boxes. And so sometimes when I start looking at some of the designers portfolio, and if it’s just like a little too etri for me, meaning I can’t see if it does check the boxes, but it’s trying to sell me on this larger than life thing, sometimes I might just prioritize the ones that check the boxes first.
Yeah. Because I want to also get my job done. And so I’ll go with ones that offer that specific service that’s really articulate and. Really how you frame your portfolio. Just the beginning, middle, and end. But what I will stress for everyone, especially if you are more junior or an associate level, just be really crisp with UX deliverables, right?
You have your personas, you have your journeys, you have your wire frames, you have your ui, and you have your design. And make sure you split them all apart, right? And think about your portfolio, presenting it to people. Almost a menu, right? Here’s a menu, here’s what happened on this project da.
And these are the things that you can pick from as a part of engaging with me on a project, right? And when you can frame it that clearly, people get it and people will hire you. Make it easy for people to hire you. That should be a really big model for a lot of people who, if you were trying to go up, you know trying to climb a few ladders, client ladders, and it just didn’t work out.
And if that’s resonating more hopefully that kind of shifts a little bit if your thinking. Yeah. What else? We go over this a few times in our spaces, but definitely if you’re thinking about a portfolio website, is best. No PDFs, please, if you don’t have writing or narrative. I actually have a point where I do not, if I’m hiring for a specific creative team, that if it’s just deliverables, I can’t tell if this.
Was also pulled off of somebody else. And so sometimes I look for the written narratives of each deliverable to see if somebody can actually talk through it to claim ownership of the work, right? Sometimes you end up with people working large creative teams that contributed very little, and they just take the final deliverable and plop it on a website.
I also look for like careless mistakes too. And so one thing that I look for is . It’s so small, but it’s just like the way in which you’re even presenting wire frames. If I am looking for someone actually much more senior, I’ll give more leniency to more junior associate level designers. But if I’m, let’s say, looking for a senior UX designer or a manager UX designer, I’ll actually look at the actual deliverable themselves and take a look at the font, take a look at the spacing, take a look at all these things, right?
But understand that. The less senior you are, you have more leniency. But it’s not to say like you can spend a little bit more time to just crisp up some of the deliverables especially when you have a portfolio of multiple case studies. Definitely put your best one first. You don’t have to put it chronologically.
I actually don’t recommend you to put it chronologically. Just put the best ones first from left to top to bottom. Yeah. And then for people who have multiple case studies versus one, honestly, if you have one to three really strong case studies that will outweigh a hundred case studies that are really shallow.
And by shallow, I mean you might have two deliverables or something like that. Like it’s great to see the mass of it, but when I am hiring somebody for actual critical thinking skills, , if you had just have one case study that you really invested a lot of time, energy, and attention into, that’s gonna pay much more dividends than just doing a lot of projects, really shallowly.
Yeah. And then a few things that we talk about in our space is lastly, just make it easier on yourself. Change your mindset. Use positive ways of talking to yourself, starting small, figuring out how are you implementing small changes into your portfolio. One. Kind of tip that I’ve implemented is whenever you sit down, there should be something that comes out, right?
That you just put up on your portfolio. And so think about your portfolio as that. Not something that you’re just like grinding, right? Just think about it as oh, I did a few updates here at push. Very updates here at push, right? Make it easy on yourself. Celebrate each every step, right?
And maybe it’s just publishing it, right? Wonderful. Let go of it. Trying to compare yourself to all these other people, right? Yes, they’re on the market, but let me tell you, the people who have the really fancy portfolios and are billing very high rates are not competing for the same projects that you are.
Not at all. And if you, okay, again, if especially if you are a junior or an associate level and you’re competing with another junior associate level, right? Let’s say there’s one that’s speaking about their work in this, like F three L spacey, like very high level. But then in terms of the project has like a hundred projects and they’re very shallow, right?
What’s happening? But you just have another associate junior level UX designer who has one case study, very crisp, clear, maybe two case study, very crisp, clear deliverables. Which one, especially if you were hiring them, right? Which you feel inclined to hire more than the other, right? And then last one, if accountability helps for you, definitely think about like how are you using your body doubling or ways of getting other people to just check in on you to make sure you’re doing the work right?
Before I move on and then we’re gonna start talking about clients after this. Anyone have any thoughts about portfolio? Anyone still struggling to make updates on your portfolio? Yeah,
I feel it
and sometimes it’s just to perform a procrastination from actually doing what needs to be done, which could be sending it out to other people. Or facilitating conversation that comes out of it, following up on the contact forms.
I am scratching my throat today, so apologies. If you need to perfect my UI in order to get more better projects, I wonder how good the UI needs to be. Yeah. Yes. Do not make, , do not compare your portfolio. Because you know what, here’s other tea. Other people who make a ton of money, they don’t even do their own portfolio.
That’s the Real Canty. They pay other people to do the design and do the development. Like they’re not even doing it. And so it’s just so hard to compare yourself with other people who have resourcing. Like it’s just, don’t even chase that, that’s the Real Canty yeah, definitely procrastination.
Naming it, right? I think just naming it like when you feel procrastination happening, at least for me, what helps is I just name it, I just verbalize it. I’m like, Steven, this is procrastination. And then when I say that, I’m like okay, I got it. I heard it. I move on. That tip has worked very well for me and energetically, if you feel that happening, try that tip.
See if it helps. But going back to the comment around like perfecting ui, also, if anyone has any more rants about portfolio, feel free to toss it in. You’ll never know. , unless it’s perfect enough, right? There’s no such thing as perfect. And so the UI is as good as you’ve done it, right? That’s really your portfolio.
And it’s just about putting that up. And then the last part is just showing and seeing what resonates with other people, right? Like I think sometimes the mindset of perfectionism is that we have this belief that we know what everybody else thinks is perfect, right? But think about yourself really as a user experience designer, right?
You’ve got to just put it down and just show it to people and see what resonates, right? And if you’re not going through that practice, I think it might just be a lot more strategic to just see like for friends, family, or even like potential clients, right? Like even if they don’t have budget, they could still give you feedback, right?
Yes, I know , yes. In five years you can pay someone to do your portfolio, then it’ll look amazing. . Exact. That’s all they do. That’s the T like . I am at some of these agencies. I’m with like some of their like, head of design and they’re not doing their portfolio. No ma’am. They’re not touching it. No.
They’re just making the money and paying someone to do it while they’re off vacationing. That’s the day. I know set a date and have someone hold you accountable. Yes. I think that works really great. Maybe set up like a weekly, like a regular Right. And also if y’all need some accountability, just type it into the chat.
And then for anyone who is potentially open to offering accountability, like reply to each other’s messages and link up looking to transition. Oh, would you be back to, I think the tough part with visual design, if you, okay, the question is like you, like what do you want to do? And what I will say is you put into your portfolio things you want to be doing more of.
You shouldn’t be putting your portfolio things that you can do. Like it’s not a just the flex, right? That’s your ego. You’ve gotta think more in terms of strategic business mindset of what do you wanna do more of? And if it’s graphic visual design and trying to position into ux, right? UX and UI are very different.
But if it’s ux, you’ve got to position the visual design more strategically. And you’ve also got to not be lazy and just put the visual design and walk away. You have to like talk about it strategically too. Yeah. Visual designer portfolios can get away with We’re just putting images. Aria, I think you have a business . If you want to just design people’s portfolios, I think people will pay you a lot of money. . No. For real. It’s like people really don’t want to do it. And all these people pay a ton of money. So all these creative leaders pay a ton of money for other designers to work on a portfolio.
It’s an ecosystem. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. If anyone is open to doing the accountability definitely reach out and then direct message each other, please.
Okay. We’ll keep going. I know. Good psychic, right? Finding your clients. Who are they? Where are they? How do I get them? Again, as we think about it, Doing a timeline, doing a journey is really helpful in terms of just putting yourself in the shoes and empathizing, right? You can do this for designs, you can do it for your clients.
And so one thing to think about the client journey is it goes all the way as far as like even where are they doing research? How are they doing research? How are you connecting with them? How are you confirming the projects and how are you delivering also, right? And as we think about like the clientele, the people that we’re bringing on, ask yourself first of all, like in broadly, in generally, who have you worked with in the past, right?
If you are coming out of school, what type of students, what type of teachers did you work well with in the past? If you’re coming from a different industry altogether, what type of personalities right, have you worked best with? And what you’ve got to do better job of is in the conversation with people.
I call them like like little tests, little traps that basically put in an interview. But questions that you can ask that will give you a better understanding or things that you can prod of this personality match. And why I’m gonna stress that is really important is if you can find the personality matches that work really well with you, they inherently want to also work more with you, right?
And so you’re trying to find that nice complimentary balance versus who has the most money or who is just most available. Maybe in the beginning that’s gonna happen, but sooner or later you’re gonna hit a wall and saying, Ooh, this is really tough. The next one, again, this goes back into the portfolio piece.
What type of work do you enjoy doing? What type of work are you right now focusing on? What do you wanna do, right? And then in terms of how you’re working with people, what type of team dynamic do you wanna develop, right? Do you wanna work with a larger organization, a small organization? Is it a partnership?
And then at the end, what are your non-negotiables, right? And so if some people are asking you to do, like traveling and you have to be in the office, but you really just wanna stick to remote, like stick to remote, there’s a lot of opportunity. Is definitely the pool. Has a lot of people in it.
But what I will tell you right now, you heard it from me, but this is also like in the space everywhere, there’s just such a need to have designers everywhere and although layoffs are happening, people need things designed, people need products designed, people need everything with design in it. And it can be designed visual design, user experience, design, like it is such an important role and everyone’s just but artificial intelligence, have you seen what they develop?
Like they’re just like feeding off of all the stuff on triple and just like regurgitating out and it’s just not usable at all. Will it get usable in the future? Maybe, but what we’re starting to the conversation on with artificial intelligence and where it sits with our work again, , if you invested time into understanding, let’s say a client, right?
And understanding a client and developing a true partnership. Again, why I’m going back to that stickiness is there is no artificial intelligence that’s gonna all of a sudden surpass, right? A client’s intimate relationship with another person that they work with and a designer that they collaborate with, right?
And also think about like friends that you have, right? Are, is artificial intelligence ultimately gonna replace friendship and human connection to that regard? Not really. They might shave off some people funny joke. But I think when it comes to like how people even just wanna work, right?
Innately. We’re not gonna end up in a workplace dynamic where you have all a sudden all workforces, everyone’s working with ar, artificial intelligence. Like it’s never gonna be like that because design leaders wanna work with other designers, clients wanna work with other humans, and at the end of the day, we see this emergence and all this stuff.
But what’s happening is, the good thing is all the stuff that’s like people just churning out stuff for the sake of churning out, like all those like courses and all those like bootcamps and all this stuff that took like low energy to produce, like they’re all gonna get Ian up because it was just low level quality and there was no level of human connection.
Was a part of cultivating that relationship. And so we’re gonna see artificial intelligence really starting to eat away at those less meaningful relationships, but bringing to light a lot of these like deeper partnerships and deeper relationships. Yeah. And so again, like why we need to lean more into the stickiness and finding like who is our tribe is because that’s gonna be the most important.
Not all of this, like spreading yourself thin and having these low level quality relationships at the end of the day. Yeah. Hopefully that helps. But that’s really, the landscape of it. And at the end of the day, like while you might have tech companies doing like huge feats of X, Y, z, like people want to work with people intrinsically, and there’s gonna just people are just gonna be more picky with who they work with, and so if you can really develop that like deep, meaningful connection, There’s no AI that’s gonna replace you. Yeah. Okay, let’s keep going.
Finding clients. So there’s a lot of websites. I won’t go too deep into all of them, but just know that like they exist out there. But think about where you want to double down on, right? Don’t spread yourself again, too thin to a point where there are people contacting you on all these different platforms and you can’t get to it, right?
But just platforms that you want to put yourself on, that you can basically put yourself on the radar for other people. Yeah. And so a few that I highly recommend, first of all, like working, not working. If you haven’t made a portfolio, like what are you waiting for? You’re sleeping on it. Go make a portfolio with working, not working, and.
Put up like slides on working out, working from like your keynote that you’re presenting, like just put it like that and make your life easier. But working out, working, a lot of people, agencies and clients go there for high quality creatives. Where I’ll recommend X is you can usually get your stuff from working out.
Working can just plop it onto hands. It might not be specific for like finding the clients and getting them to you with a job. But B HANDS has really phenomenal s e o and so whatever you put in there it’s just like everywhere on the web, right? Like fiber, toptal, Upwork it’s good to just put yourself out there and just check out like what’s on the market.
But it’s, with some of these platforms, like the t is, it’s just like hard to compete when it’s all about just like price. Yeah. And then, Creatives also cut corners with it. Like, how do you get a logo for five bucks? They just changed the words for the other local design for someone else and gave it to you.
That’s really what’s happening. And with a lot of some of these like platforms that have really low cost, like you just can’t compete in, cause you, I would just put that out there. It’s too hard to do that. And so you have to figure out ways that you’re really differentiating yourself.
Again, I go back to what is that stickiness that you have with people, right? That is your differentiator, right? You have to find the type of people that you work really well with and figure out how you can niche yourself there. Yeah. Also Twitter, like everyone’s sleeping on Twitter. But Twitter’s really great for just like just seeing job opportunities up there in terms of freelance and projects too.
Companies will just. Posted on Twitter sometimes. It’s crazy. I’ve had a few clients come through Twitter. I know. It’s . Insane. So we’ll get now more into the clients of like how you start defining clients. And this is more like in the strategic sense or in your little b business hats.
, yes. R not much success with fiber rates are far from competitive pricing. Upwork, ridiculous gain experience. Okay. With low pay. Yeah. Yes, absolutely resonate. Okay, so this slide is really talking about where do clients, right? People who reach out to you, where do they sit, in the spectrum of cold to hot, right?
And again, why stress on the stickiness is these are your hot leads, right? And these are the people that will champion you. Got your back. And also think about it this way, like if you have someone who is so sticky with you, meaning like they are in your corner, they’ve got you, they wanna bring you on all these projects, first of all, they’re gonna.
Put you to other people, right? They’re gonna refer you to all these other people, and then they’re gonna also bring you onto other projects that they’re working on. And so why I also really stress like client relationship management is so important because when you have a few cheerleaders, they’re gonna do a lot more for you than a hundred kind of lukewarm people.
Why? Because first of all, you’re just competing against all these other people who have programmatic ways, meaning they’ve developed systems like automatic email generators, and all these like machines that basically spit out, like automatically generated emails, LinkedIn messages, et cetera. It’s just so hard to compete with that because it’s just doing that thing.
But at the same time, like people on the other end, Get these messages like every single day, five times, 10 times a day. And it’s just so hard to cut through the noise. And at least for myself, I get a lot of these people also reaching out for me because I run the product design agency and they’re trying to sell me on services that I can use as a part of, the agency.
Like most of ’em, like the other Real, Canty is I just hit the spam button on Gmail cuz I, I’m just like, I don’t know who you are. You obviously got my contact from somewhere else, like a list or wherever and you’re just now relentlessly emailing me. And what I highly recommend is two things.
Focus on all of the relationships of people who have your corner, right? Even people who you don’t think are your direct clients, you’ve got to let them know what you’re working on, what capabilities you have and what you’re offering as a business, right? And you never know, you know somebody you’re talking to about UX design, you’re like, I’m doing this portfolio, da yada.
All of a sudden that person is talking to somebody else who you know is hiring for a UX designer or looking for some support with design, right? And so long story short, you’ve just got to put yourself out there. And even if it not, might look like a direct correlation to an opportunity, especially when I would say what we call like your funnel of just like your clients and where they’re at, if it’s a little dry.
just focus more on the relationships that are the most important. Also see how you can partner with other designers, right? Develop relationship with other UX designer, with other visual designers, developers, right? Because when it comes time for also finding teams, finding multiple people to work on projects together, like you got each other’s backs, right?
And so don’t think of it always as competition. Like also, it’s never like that. Like usually when projects have a budget and they’re hiring for designers, it’s usually like multiple designers that they’re hiring for. And so really think about like a very different perspective and not just like the single channel way of it’s me.
I have to beat everyone. I have to da, right? But it’s, just think about it more communally. So that’s the lesson of this slide is I mean there’s pros and cons, right? And then other people will be like work on your social media, work on your newsletter, da. Like, all of that are all really more so like cold lead gen nurturing, right?
Like you might use that to get them warmer, right? But why don’t you start with the people who are in your corner first, right? And if you don’t have people in your corner, like you’ve got to also throw yourself and develop relationship to get people like really cheerleader you want, right? Which could be cultivating relationships and communities such as like our community, our space that we’re in now, right?
Or other meetups that you’re going to and all these things. And just put yourself out there and be open to meeting people. Because when you can find cheerleaders, you found people who would just like champion you and who’ve got your back, right? and especially as I’ll just be fully transparent, it’s been a struggle growing, the product design agency, cuz I was like spreading myself thin across all of these like, different opportunities.
I was working on a newsletter, I was working on social content, I was da and then I took a step back and I said, okay, who really, brought projects, clients, contracts in. I was like, actually these are my old colleagues, old friends people that I used to know. And I just doubled down on it and I made sure I reached out to people.
I just kept in touch. I just wanted to see how people were doing. And all of a sudden the business basically doubled. And at the end of the day too , especially as queer bipo designers and folks who are less seen. This is something that we always talk about. If you’re returning, you’ve probably heard it, but if you haven’t, this really important lesson that took me a long time to learn.
Like what we also present into the world is also judged at a very different level than what like hetero white, designer male designer is presenting and the, you both can present the same exact thing and it gets taken and it resonates very differently for other people, right?
In one context, people are looking to give a benefit of a doubt. And the other context, people are looking to see what is wrong and why I should not hire you. Really the question is really different and it’s really based on the societal a societal marginalization at a very high level, right?
It’s just happening. It sucks, but I think what we can use is, Thinking about how we can start reframing the way we even start talking about ourself and our projects, right? So in the context of when we have societal privilege, right? The question is, why should I hire you? That’s the question, right?
So every single thing that they say great. You get points, right? Da. When you’re in the mindset of why I should hire you, even if you’re like I don’t you don’t really take points down because it’s all about going up, right? But on the flip side, if it’s, why should I not hire you, right?
If you’re coming from an identity that is underprivileged, people are looking for ways that they’re basically ticking things off of you. But they will hire you if are the expectation of what they wish, right? Sometimes that’s not like the best feeling to have, but know that you can also use that to your advantage, meaning you just can’t be saying things that, another identity, another personality can say that will unfortunately impact you negatively.
So an interview question is, they’re like, okay, tell me a time when you struggle with something, yada, yada, yada. And this took me a long time to learn with interviews. And I was just, in one case I was like really honest. I’m like, yeah, I struggle with this. I struggle with this. I struggle with a lot of things.
I’m not perfect. Who is perfect, da, da, and that like really, knocked me down tremendously. And what I had to learn was I was like, okay, I can still talk about these things, but I have to frame it in a way that’s not really around being negative. It has to frame it in a way that’s around what are opportunities of like growth or what are things that I’m doing too good of that I just have to pull myself back.
But also if it’s time management, for example, right? On one side you’ll say time management, right? But on the other side you’ll say figuring out what to prioritize when I focus on everything, right? So especially as we talk about how we’re even pitching clients, right? So we’re coming back to the client lens.
You have to, especially as you are queer bipo designers, frame all of your design work in the positive lens, but also in a way that like if they’re asking like, Hey, what could you have done differently? You’ve got to frame it in the way of if I had more time or budget, like these are the amazing other things that I could have done, I could have implemented, right?
hopefully this is stirring some things of like conversations or things in your mind, but that also took me a long time to learn, or just like how to frame my work myself in a way that also works with inequitable systems that exists is not that we’re just fitting into it, but we’re working and moving beyond it.
We’re not letting it break us down. Anyway, that was a long slide . Again, I’m harping on like how you’re building your relationships, especially as queer Bipo folks. This is your, This is what’s gonna be the most important, especially as we think about like, how are we entering spaces that nurture and build us up?
People who champion you are gonna be people who lift you up, right? And so here’s another scenario, right? You have an opportunity take on a project with big brand, my look shiny, like glittery on a resume. Or you can work on a project, not as sexy of a brand, but that person is championing the F out of you, right?
Honestly, if it were me, I would go with a brand that is not as sexy, but I have somebody who’s in my corner. Early in my career, I would’ve just gone down the route of, I’m just gonna take whatever ones that has the most notoriety, enormous fame, but. It took me a long time to understand is when it came down to like interview, sure, that got me in the door, but when I didn’t have the stickiness anymore, now I’m competing now, right?
I’ve got in the door in the interview, but now I’m up against all these other people, like other, cis white folks and I’m in the room and now I’m interviewing against all of them, right? Sure. It may have opened doors, but then now it’s oh, unless you’ve got that stickiness, it’s so hard to pumble through sometimes, right?
But if you can go the route of you have this champion and you find the people who just will get your, like they’ve got you, they’ll bring you to other companies they go to, they’ll bring you to other places that they go to. They’ll recommend you to other people, right? It’s just at the end of the day, go for quality, not for quantity, right?
But it’s not to say , you don’t have to go to whichever company that you desire, but you have to also ask yourself like, am I choosing this out of ego or am I choosing this out of something that’s really important and nourishing for me? And sometimes we make a lot of decisions out of ego because we have the thought of what it can do to me.
But you have to ask yourself, has it really done that? Tough question. But again, like along with cultivating relationships, figure out how you’re setting up a check-in that it isn’t just, again, like it’s not about quantity, right? Just be human. Just check in with one another and figure out ways of how are you cultivating, how are you check in with people and especially for people, especially if you are younger in your more youthful , you youthful in your career and user experience.
If you can crack this so early on, wow, like you will be so successful decades from now. Because what’s happening right now, I will tell you is a lot of user experience, designers, especially early on their career, what they’re doing is they’re spreading themselves through. They’re like, I have a hundred different contexts and x, y, XYZ businesses.
And I know x, Y, Z at company. I’ve met so-and-so I have this giant roster, right? But okay, flip side on the other side. Leader at X company, how many designers do they know, right? And if you’re just one of a thousand designers, they know when push comes to shove, who are they actually recommending?
Who are they actually putting forward right? To these opportunities? And so while on one end you might feel like, oh, your ego’s getting. Pumped up because X, Y, Z, a, B, C, D, E, F, G, right? On the other end, like unfortunately that’s not a very reciprocal relationship, right? But again, it’s like generally I don’t think people are like will tell it to you to your face like that, like you rank like here for me, , but it’s just something that again I think this is a really interesting part of a relationship is just put yourself out there, right? Put yourself out there to receive and see what comes back, right? And if also you don’t see them putting the effort, put a bow on it and invest that into other places where people are gonna show up for you.
And I also did the. With my career early on too. I spread myself so thin. I had so many people and I thought that it would turn into a lot of things when in fact, like when I just really focus on like individual relationships, like they’ve championed me, they’ve put me up for opportunities, they’ve brought clients to me.
Like it is, it’s like astronomically different and also vice versa. I would also do the same thing for them, right? So that’s something that I really wanna stress that I think a lot of the times is not really talked about. But again, like this is the recipe for success. For a lot of really successful people, they generally will not share this to the wider world because I don’t know, it’s just one of those things that like, if you get it, and then you see all the stuff people put on like social media and like these, like e-courses.
They’re selling you the course, not the actual tools, if that makes sense. Be genuinely interested in people and allow space for random connections. So I really appreciate everyone showing up here today. We’ll go into breakout rooms later today, and honestly, I recommend you all to just use it, lean into it, lean into each other, right?
This is what’s gonna be the most important, especially with your design career as you are starting to talk to people, right? Again, like winning the work is less around just like bringing people saying, oh, you have to gimme the check It’s really around did you cultivate the relationship enough to a point where people feel confident to bring you on board to do the project, right?
I’m gonna say that again, it’s less around just like getting the check, but really winning the work is winning the trust of somebody to do the work. . And why, again, relationship building is the most important is when you can do that. Sure. They’ll trust you, trust your design advice, go with you in the process, right?
You’re gonna get even better deliverables, right? And so again, sometimes we just have to also ask how can IP of service, right? These are the things I do. X, Y, Z, a, B, C, D, personas, journeys, wireframe, da. What are you looking for? And I feel that a lot of the times, people, whenever they go into meetings with clients, the first thing that they’re doing is they’re like, this is what I’ve done da.
It should be more about asking questions, understanding exactly what are they looking for, what do they want, right? And then the last 15 minutes of your conversation should be on how you can solve that. , right? You’ve got to flip that around and think more about understanding the person, understanding the problems that they’re after, right?
And then how can you solve it? But when you’re presenting yourself as I can do X, Y, Z, a, B, C, D da, then the people are just like exhausted at the end. They’re like, oh my God, I’m so tired. And so you have to make sure the first part of the interview is also really about them just showing off for them, right?
And I’ve also noticed this too, where clients will immediately appreciate how you’re just showing off for them as a individual, as a customer, a potential customer, that they’ll already start giving you points just for doing that, showing up alone, right? And so sometimes people forget about that. Yeah.
people love to talk about themselves. Exactly. People love to talk about themselves. I’ll let them. And then here’s another sales tactic is if you are, so two things. If you’re talking more than apologies, if you’re talking more than your customer, you’ve lost the sale. So that’s one methodology that I think is really interesting.
It’s, you should be listening more, but granted, you shouldn’t also be listening the whole time. You should also be interjecting and just like having a flow with it. But the second one is observe. How much people are answering in it and match your cadence with how they’re responding to you.
So if you ask ’em a question and they’re like, short and they’re like da to the point, then your answer has got to be as buttoned up as they are. But if they are like I do that, da, then you want to match their energy, right? It’s not to say you have to like, like shift and mold yourself to other people, but it’s just saying in terms of the response and the way that you articulate yourself, how in which you answer the question will resonate the most with them.
Yeah. That took me a long time to learn too. Follow up on the regular with people and have an open mind. There’s been also times when, you know, people. Oh, here’s a good example. I had a friend reach out to me. He also started an agency like many years back, and I was helping a client basically procure agencies this year for potential clients that the potential client work that they were doing.
And I had thought about my friend because he had reached out to me years back, and at the time I was like, no, I don’t have anything, but thanks for reaching out to me. Yeah. And so it was after like five, six years of like incubation that I was like, oh yeah, light bulb went off. I remember X, Y, Z had that capability.
So it’s just one of those things that even if you think it’s gonna be a direct no, like you’ve just got to put yourself out there and you never know if it’s gonna be a yes in the future. Yeah.
And so going back to the last point here is just think about how you can be client service, and especially in the realm of UX as a service. At the end of the day, it’s not about being right, but it’s about how you showing offer people that’s ultimately giving you a check, right? To help ’em with a.
Specific job. So the use case that I provide people, that’s aha moment is imagine you have a house, right? You have a ton of money, you’ve bought a house, this most beautiful house that you wanted, right? Just picture it now. And you’re like, okay, I need to hire a interior decorator, right? That’s gonna help me with this house.
You hired the interior decorator. You actually, you hired two. Cuz you have so much money. , right? And one interior decorator is okay, I know exactly what you need. We’re gonna make this room gold. It’s so in season right now, this other room, we’re gonna make it green. We’re gonna make it jungle. It’s so in season.
And this room, I know you’re not gonna like it, but we’re just gonna go with a lot of like natural grass in the room itself. I don’t know why, but it’s in season. Da. You’re like, huh. This is like a little odd, but okay. And then your other interior decorator you design or you hired, is asking you questions around, What would you like?
What? Like how can I show up for you? And as you’re talking to them you’re like like I really want, although it’s not the most sexy room, I just want a room that looks like my childhood room, right? And they’re like, you know what? I got it. I’ll get you that. Like we’ll make it exact replica of your childhood room, so you have one designer designing from aesthetics, what’s trending, what’s cool, but then the other designer, sure, this like childhood room is not gonna be the most sexy. But as a client, which one would you rehire again? Bring on board again and put ’em on another project. And again, this is like another aha moment for another designer because oftentimes, Working in the frame of I read all these medium articles and I read the top da.
Why is this not working? Because the client is not looking for that. At the end of the day, they have a budget, they of have a sense of what they want, and they’re bringing you on board to help them get there. And when you can see it in the frame of that one, it makes the relationship so much easier, right?
Like you’re like, huh? Like it doesn’t have to be so perfect anymore. Like perfection doesn’t exist. It’s all relative, right? But the second part is, again, it goes back to the relationship building aspect of it, right? And that’s why, again, like a lot of this is not taught, and we also teach this in our bootcamp course and how we just like really flip the whole like context of like user experience because I think.
There’s a lot of people out there who aren’t really necessarily working with clients who’s blowing a lot of smoke in the industry, who are just also dictating and naming trends. They also need to make these trends really sexy and really appealing to people. So the, this whole, there’s a whole matrix around it, but basically understand as a role and how you can find roles, keep roles, and also get more clients in the door is like less around like the most shiny thing, but asking the right questions and showing up in the way that they’re looking for, right?
Granted, you can, push some things here and there as you develop the relationship further. But again, it’s like you, like I always love that frame of reference of imagine you just bought a house and this is how the interior decorator is working with you, right? As a client. , is this how you want to cultivate the client relationship?
At least that helps me tremendously to just at least snap out of that. Ah, this is like the most shiny, perfect thing, right? Maybe they just don’t want that, right? Maybe they’re just not looking for that and it’s okay because at the end of the day, this is their budget, this is their money, right?
If you end up as a designer who has this certain sense of things and certain way of things, you’ll quickly see that like people struggle to work with it because it’s not to invalidate what you’re putting out. It’s not at all. That’s just not what they’re looking for. If that helps, right? You’re like, why aren’t they hired?
Because that’s just not what they’re looking for. And if you’re pushing so hard, this one thing, right? Another example is like a restaurant, right? You go into a restaurant and there’s a pastry chef that makes all these pastries, right? But they make this giant cupcake that’s da. It’s like the most perfect cupcake in the world.
And you come in, you’re like, I don’t want that cupcake. They’re like, but it’s the best cupcake in the world. And you’re like, I just don’t want it. Is them pushing that cupcake onto you gonna make you want that cupcake? More ? Maybe not. But it’s funny how like, when we talk about it in this like relative sense, like we’re like, we laugh about it cause it’s so obvious, but sometimes the designer, we get so wrapped up in the in, in ego, but also in just perfectionism tendencies that we have a tough time seeing it.
Yeah. Just have a few more slides in terms of getting paid. Also feel free to pop any other questions folks have with client relations. Hopefully some of these nuggets have been like aha moments. Cuz this also took me a ton so long to learn as someone told me that I’d be like, oh, interesting.
General questions. Ask clients to understand their needs. Great question . Asking basic questions around like timeline. Like what, when are you looking to have all this done? What are you looking to have done? And then also in terms of your question, making it less with like designer jar. is my recommendation, right?
If you’re just working with someone for like interior design, right? Like how would you, like what questions would you want asked, right? Like, when would you want the project done? Great. What kind of, thing are you trying to accomplish, right? And you could set up some guardrails around is this a website, is an app?
Sure. But sometimes they’re looking for you for expertise on some of the more nuances, right? But in terms of some questions to ask what I recommend is like just basic account stuff, which is time, budget and what are you trying to accomplish, right? And then the other part around like design is think about it more okay, you understand like the budget and these constraints that they’re working with.
How are you proposing on some of these things that they’re working on to then help them achieve that? You could also ask them like, what is, what are you building this for? What are you trying to accomplish with this? So that you can also better understand like how your design deliverables also fit in with the larger picture.
What I’ll put out there is sometimes you have clients who don’t understand what the design deliverables are for. It doesn’t matter how hard you push a journey, they don’t know what a journey is. You’re not gonna help ’em understand what a journey is in five minutes, right? And so think about how you can distill that into, I would say, lay terms of just what is the, what is that?
And I think if you can crack this, In interviews, you’ve got it right. A journey is really basically to understand right? And map out different stages that a person has with a product or service, right? And we basically outline some really important key facts at each moment, right? And we use this to then identify designs, moments, and designs that we want to prioritize, right?
That is such an easy way to describe a journey, like moving away from jargon. I think that will also help you to frame the way in which you’re interviewing and presenting your products and your ideas as well. Bullet points or template you can follow to sell yourself more on these freelance websites.
To be honest, you can just do research and find other people doing it, and then just like just do a research, right? Of just like what’s resonating, what’s not. And at the end of the day I know the answer you don’t want to hear Scott is. You’ve got to just put it in front of people, like draft it up, send it to 10 friends and just be like, Hey, like what are your thoughts on this?
Yeah. Thanks for coming. Jennifer, a former client I had didn’t any idea what the business schools are. What can I do post-project to add business schools for my case study? I think even the word like business goals. It can be like questioning, like people don’t get, it could be like, what are you trying to do? What are you trying to accomplish? Make it simpler. And sometimes if they just don’t get it, it could be okay for the time that we work together, right?
I would frame it as this. Now for the time that we work together, what do we want to accomplish together? Because sometimes when they think of business, they think too broad. So then bring them down and ask, Hey, if we’re just working together for six months, like what would we want to do together?
What would be the most important thing in that? And the second question is, how would you think it’s successful or not? Hopefully that helped. Okay. I’ll quickly go through the billing stuff. Billing is. All the stuff downstream. Highly recommend like checking out some of the other platforms.
Look at general rates, but I would say like this is the initial rate that you wanna start off as and then just work your way upwards. If you are an intern, generally it’s about minimum wage. Unfortunately for some states they need to bump it up, up to $25 for an intern at some of the tech companies and then associate level ux.
So I would say how it differs is generally you need less handholding, but you could still use some handholding, right? Generally $25, $50 an hour when you’re more of a senior level ux, anywhere from $50 to a hundred dollars an hour. If you’re leading UX generally anywhere from 75 to 1 25 an hour. And then if you’re leading larger engagements, a hundred dollars plus and.
Sky’s the limit. Yeah. And generally if you wanna convert like a salary to an hourly rate, you just divide it by 2000. Roughly. If you multiply the number is 40 hours a week, times 50 weeks. With two weeks for vacation. So that’s 52. How many weeks in a year you’d end up with about 2000.
And so that’s the rough estimation that you’d use. So with a hundred K salary, you generally, if you make $50 an hour and you work full-time hours, you roughly come out even. Yeah. If you work 52 weeks of the year, generally you make more. But if you’re just trying to compare numbers, it’s like a quick mathematical summation just to gauge but also understanding there’s differences, for salary, job versus hourly. You get like healthcare and stuff paid for. Yeah. So then of course hourly, if you wanna make comparison like. You just need a little bit more bump. Yeah. Okay. 10 99 versus w2. Something that a lot of people don’t really think about too much, but this is a way in which other people will pay you for the work that you do together, right?
And so this is within the context. Apologies within, I’m not familiar with oh,
my mic keeps switching.
It’s like the microphone. Okay. So in the context of the United States, so if you live here, apologies, I don’t know the other countries and the financials and how people are operating, but in the United States at least, there’s two ways people can pay you. They could pay you as a part of their payroll, which is through W two form or 10 99, which.
They just pay you exactly how much you bill for. And then I would say roughly the difference is like you’re responsible for taxes and paying taxes in one, and then the w2, the company basically paid taxes in advance for you. What I will say is that each other benefits, like W2 is really good if just don’t want to deal with any of the logistics.
Maybe in the beginning you’re just like taking on the work and you’re focusing on the work. Great. Again, go back to the basics, like focus on the most important things first. If it’s about client relationships and you don’t need to worry about it, great. But in the instance you’re managing like multiple strains of income and you’re trying to figure out how you can also maximize right?
The way in which you are filing expenses and getting tax returns. Basically balanced out with what you’re actually spending for your business itself. 10 99 is gonna be the route in which you are going to be able to maximize the business deductions as much. On the frame of w2, the business above you is taking the tax benefits, whereas 10 99, you’re starting to get more of the tax benefits, but then you have to figure out like how you’re filing it, right?
So generally you incur more costs with accounting generally you have to track your receipts and stuff like that. But also, again, depending on how much time you want to put one or the other. What I will say is in the very beginning, if you haven’t really had a job that’s just again, please talk to an accountant, , but the the sibling advice I will give you is if in the beginning you’re just like getting a job and you’re just like getting your footing into the door.
Like just go the route of W2 and just have ’em deal with all of the paperwork for you, and get in the door. W2 also gives you certain benefits and gives you certain, like overtime benefits and also potentially some w2 like recruiting firms. And sometimes if you’re contracting with a company at 40 hours of, you could still be w2.
They’ll give you healthcare benefits too. And so what I would say is why that’s important is your focus should be on relationship building. Like really hyper, like focused on that. I was really successful early in my career with recruiting agencies. Like I really invested time into getting to know my recruiters, checking in with them, right?
And then over holidays, and this was when I was back in San Diego, I had a bunch of them in one office just working with me. And ironically, like I was running a little like bakery, I just would drive up to them and just deliver them like baked goods. And I was like, you know what? I’m really appreciative of the work and all the stuff that you brought me.
Thank you so much. And in turn, like they kept earmarking me for all these projects, right? So it was just like this reciprocal friendship relationship. And then I would say, going back to this slide, switching from 10 99, switching to 10 99 is when you have more of a business set up, you understand it and you’re ready to take on more of the logistics yourself.
So that right, you can maximize all of your earnings, I would say then go that route. Starting the route of 10 99 in the beginning, I think. , you’re, if you don’t have solid relationships, like you might be investing and there’s just sibling to sibling advices, you might be investing your time in the wrong place.
What is that saying? It’s like focusing on the pennies, missing the dollars, something like that. Let’s see. Invoicing. So if you don’t have stable income as a freelancer, this sole proprie work, so everyone with a social security number, again, this is in the us if you have a social security number, you can do sole proprietorship with it.
So meaning you still collect high 99, but you just file it instead of a E I N employer identification number. You just put your social security, like you can totally do that and get away with it, right? L C, I would say the asterisks is there are costs. every year that you just have to incur to just keep it running.
And so if you have the funds to do it and you see it as a benefit to the business, great. But if your income is as stable, I don’t think you really need to do it. Yeah. Food gifts are always wins, agency workouts and cookies to our clients. Everyone else is worried about it. Yeah. And honestly, it doesn’t have to be so fancy just sending a card.
Isn’t it crazy how even as high tech as we are, a handwritten card, like people just still don’t do, because I think everyone’s so focused on this like mass appeal versus, again, this like intimate, like relat. And at the end of the day, I think this is where things are gonna spin back and go back to.
But like it’s one of those things that it never has gone outta style. People appreciate it. And off the top of your head, how many handwritten like letters have you gotten? Not that many. And so if you really think about ways that you can like cherish and say thank you. And just show off for people, like AI can do its own thing and you’re gonna do something else.
Yeah. Invoicing super easy. Do your invoices your name, your information, your client’s information, your build out and final bill amount. The one I will say in here that I think is the most important is like payment terms and payment method. Payment term is how do you want to be paid? Net 15, net 30 means I want the net, the total of this invoice to be billed out in 15 days.
That’s net 15. So net 30, I want the total invoice to be paid on 30 days, right? Again, be flexible with clients in terms of doing this. And also include ways that they can pay you, right? Worrying about food allergies, sensitivities, though, unless you can find out, again, ask questions, right?
You could be like, this isn’t one I wanna send I’m just curious, da. And you could go that route. But there’s some foods that you can totally send as a treat too. That completely. bypasses all of it, right? Cookies that are gluten free, not free. I think you’ve checked many boxes with that, right?
Vegan. But also, again don’t focus so much on the gift that you’re forgetting the relationship, right? Again, catch yourself right in that moment. I go, am I spending so much time on this gift that I’m actually procrastinating on actually building the relationship itself, right? Call it out as it happens and focus on the things that matter the most, right?
Yeah. This, our stress. Accounting software like Figma keeps doing these posts saying, Hey, use our software to do invoices. Like I hate it because one time I messed up on an invoice that I was like manually writing. I just forgot a good chunk of the number and I totaled it wrong and I just did not bill for the correct amount.
And it was through another company that had a giant like infrastructure set up. And so even getting the payment would’ve been like really hard. And then I would’ve had to put straight on my client to then get the payment. And so I was just like, you know what, I’m just gonna eat the cost, learn my lesson, and this is something that I’ve just been stressing with a lot of people, is just get an accounting software, especially in fig, like especially if you’re working in design, like use something else, right?
Like use Wave, like Aria and I are wave fanatics. It’s totally free. I don’t know how they offer for free cuz what they have, but you know what, what they offer is salt lid and you just don’t like, it’s not about, again, like the performance of it is I’m gonna do this like really beautiful template.
But at the end of the day, like the template is not what’s getting you the business. And a beautiful template is not like bringing in the client and the client is not staying with you cuz your invoice is beautiful, right? No. They care about a timely invoice and not have to deal with it, right? All the logistics and nuances.
And so again, I think this is one of those instances that you have to ask yourself, am I investing in something that is beneficial for me? Like really? Or am I like performing? Is it more performative? Yeah. Harvest I think is a great option too. But what I will stress is something that you don’t manually calculate.
Like you, it’s not sustainable and. if you’re just not good on sleep and like me and you just miss a zero, like it’s not worth, it’s not worth it. Don’t even, yeah, I’m gonna give you sibling advice. It’s just don’t even that’s not even go there . Perfect. That’s pretty No . And then lastly for billing, what’s worked for me is just monthly invoicing.
I typically do student net 30 s on variable costs, so not all my clients are the same rate. Some of my clients, I’ll do cheaper rates because they might have lower budgets. But generally, I’m also testing different budgets with different clients. And at the end of the day, just seeing just as a business, like what’s helping the business succeed, right?
And I’ll just put that out there. You don’t have to tell everyone like what you’re doing, but at the end of the day, like there needs to be a way that you’re somehow like bundling everything up, right? Time tracking is really important. I time track everything with toggle and if I’m going back and I’m invoicing hours, I worked, it’s easier to go back through time tracking to see how much you’ve worked and then billing that versus having to think about it, right?
Accounting, again, highly recommend wave. And then I also use personal accounting software, yab. You need a budget for personal accounting. And I combine the two to manage business and personal accounting. And then with Wave. , I have an LLC set up, which then I take pictures of receipts, I upload into Wave.
I share that with my accountant that I work with, and then they, use that to then do the taxes. And I also work with an accountant for any larger questions. Highly recommended accountants that live within your country, your vicinity, cuz they’re gonna know more about finances and laws around it than you were just like reading, like research papers and stuff like that,
So yeah, hopefully that was like a giant crash course into freelancing. I’m gonna open up for quick questions. Anyone have any questions? Did this resonate with you? Yes. Plus on the having accountant. It will change your life and honestly shop around for accountants, right? There are accountants that are much cheaper for people who don’t have as complex of a financial situation.
Anywhere from like the 50 to the a hundred dollars range a year. Yeah. You just have to put yourself out there and then just see what different services are offered, right? And then always, like if you’re looking for a vendor or you’re looking for someone to work with, meet and interview a few people, yet you have to.
So if you’re looking for an accountant and you have only one interview and one meeting with an accountant, unless that person came as like a referral from a friend do yourself a favor and just put in an hour or two more extra time, just meet with two other people. Worse that could happen is you feel even better, right about the person you picked.
even better is you find another accountant that’s better within your price range, right? Yeah. Yes. Freelancing and taxes are stressful. Absolutely. How do you professionally respond to a client that’s trying to low ball on the cost of your services? So here’s a strategy. You just gotta offer a different service, right?
So I would say you have set a boundary to how much you are offering and willing to take. And if you accept a project at a rate, you not show up for them because you just took it at a lower rate. That’s also not good communication, right? And so it’s one of those things that like, . If it’s a different rate altogether and different price point, maybe the deliverables look completely different, right?
Maybe they work with you for a lower number of hours, right? But if it’s just a lower rate altogether that’s one of the things that’s like really hard because it’s not like your capabilities are changing, right? And I don’t know the particular situation that you’re talking about. If you wanna add more context and I could provide more like supportive answers, but that’s the way I would approach is if it’s just for the hourly.
There needs to be a range of what you’ll take and what you’ll not take, right? And what you accept within that range. You should be treating everyone really well, right? Because you never know if somebody who comes in a lower rate, who can’t afford you lower is gonna come in at a much higher rate in the future.
and stay on longer with you. But if you’re just judging everything based on numbers, again, like there’s many other stories that leads to the numbers that’s happening right now that you might not be able to see. Yeah. And then if it’s per project basis, I would actually, if they’re lower budget, just offering something that’s a little bit slimmer.
Texas have brought me to tier on multiple occasions, finding good accountant probably where I’m now finding ones over marginalized group two. Absolutely same. Same. I look for bipo folks who work with Bipo accountants iPOC lawyers. I really love like connecting with other people and supporting other people who are also underrepresented in their fields too.
And sometimes the service is even better. Yeah. . Any other questions?
Any other questions?
Okay. So we’ll do folks, and hopefully you can hear me. My mic keeps switching. So we’ll do one breakout session for folks for you all to meet one another. And I appreciate you for showing up. We show up as a community and I’d love for you to connect with one another and really see it as a heart to heart opportunity and ask one another, like, how can I support you?
And really this is a space that we’re cultivating and like we got. When we talk about like stickiness, like we got each other’s backs, and so it’s like I don’t share this with other people, , and so let me do breakout rooms real quick. And I’ll also be in the main room with a couple folks.
And then yeah, for sure resources understand proprie policies. Honestly, Ronson, the answer is it’s gonna be based on the accountant in your state because sometimes it’s like really different, like ease and tax structures. Okay. Opening rooms.
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