Course Description

Have you ever dreamed of breaking away from the 9-to-5 grind and becoming your own boss? How about escaping from your office setting—the endless meetings, corporate politics, and other irritations that fill your mind on a Sunday night? If so, have you ever considered how different life might be as a freelancer, or as the founder of your own design agency? Maybe, you’ve even wanted to do all that from the beach or from a trendy coffee shop in an inspiring urban landscape? The truth is that there’s nothing stopping you from doing any of the above. Going into business for yourself as a freelancer or entrepreneur can be a highly rewarding and exciting way to work—this course is here to show you how you can achieve that, and jump the fence that keeps all too many bright and motivated people trapped so tragically in the workaday ennui of being employees.

You are not alone in your desire to work in a way and location of your choice; freelancing is the most rapidly growing business market on Earth. Gone are the days of people’s perceiving self-employment as “not a proper job”; contractor positions are increasingly being held by the best and brightest in the industry through a phenomenon coined “The Rise of the Supertemp”1. In the United States alone, 34% of the workforce is freelance, and this will rise to more than 40% by 20202—and similar trends are being seen across other markets including the UK and Europe. It’s the way to work in many industries moving forward, and you can be part of it! Better still, it will give you a new lease of life which will leave you wondering why you hadn’t done it sooner.

Freelancers and entrepreneurs often get to choose where they work. By redefining the way you work, you can also redesign the way you live. Once you have the contracts, you can set up wherever you have your heart set on—be it Prague, Delhi, Koh Phangan, Cape Town, or Rio, to name just a few. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a ton of savings in the bank—tens of thousands of other freelancers built their freelance businesses from nothing. The founders of the Interaction Design Foundation (IDF) can attest to this—Mads Soegaard and Rikke Friis Dam built the IDF while living in low-cost countries, traveling the world as digital nomads as soon as the internet would allow them to. This enabled them to focus on creating high-quality educational content while having low expenses. It’s an ingenious way of having the best of both worlds (freedom of work and seeing the world), all while keeping the wolves away from the door money-wise. In fact, most of the IDF employees and loyal freelancers now live and work as dedicated and hardworking digital nomads all over the world.

This course will show you how to create a freelance business from scratch—from overcoming your fears, to the practicalities of making a brand name of yourself. We will share knowledge regarding how you can start your own design agency or start working as a freelancer from pretty much anywhere, at any time. You will be able to live the life of your dreams while providing high-quality services and products for the benefit of your clients. We will introduce you to the best and most relevant research, as well as ideas and best practices, derived from others who were once in your shoes but who are now living and working the way they always wanted to.

This course is created and presented by one of the founders of the Interaction Design Foundation, Rikke Friis Dam. Rikke is Editor-in-Chief and in charge of IDF’s educational profile. She hires and works closely with highly skilled freelancers and entrepreneurs on a daily basis. So, what are you waiting for? There’s no reason for you to sit in an office, counting down the clock and taking orders unless you truly want to live like that. Your clients can be based anywhere on Earth, and so can you; it’s time to quit dreaming and start doing.

What you will learn

  • Whether freelancing or entrepreneurship is what you want to do
  • How to set up a successful freelance business
  • How to market and sell your business services effectively
  • How to handle all the day-to-day management of a freelancer’s and entrepreneur’s practice

Who should take this course

This is an intermediate-level course, and while a freelancing or entrepreneurial experience is not required, some form of professional skills is recommended:

  • UX designers looking to become freelance UX consultants and work on projects from anywhere in the world
  • Project managers interested in freelancing or building their own products
  • Software engineers keen on the freedom and rewards of being a freelance software developer
  • Entrepreneurs, UI designers, web designers, copywriters, photographers, accountants, etc. looking to set up a freelancing business

Courses in the Interaction Design Foundation are designed to contain comprehensive, evidence-based content, while ensuring that the learning curve is never too steep. All participants will have the opportunity to share ideas, seek help with tests, and enjoy the social aspects afforded by our open and friendly forum.

Learn and work with a global team of designers

When you take part in this course, you will join a global multidisciplinary team working on the course and the exercises at the same time as you. You will work together to improve your skills and understanding. Your course group will be made up of an incredibly diverse group of professionals, all of whom have the same objective—to become successful designers. It’s your chance to learn, grow, and network with your peers across the planet.

1 Jody Greenstone Miller & Matt Miller. The Rise of the Supertemp, Harvard Business Review, 2012

2 The Intuit Report, 2010

Lessons in this course

Note: Lessons become available at a schedule of one lesson per week. Once a lesson becomes available, it is open for you forever — you can take all the time you want to go through each lesson. There is no time limit to finish a course, and you always have access to your classmates, course material, and your answers.

The estimated time to complete this course is a total of 10 hours 33 mins spread over 7 weeks.

Lesson 0: Welcome and Introduction – How to Build a Successful Design Business

Available anytime after May 01, 2018. Estimated time to complete: 44 mins.

Lesson 1: Are You Cut Out for Freelancing and Entrepreneurship?

Available anytime after May 02, 2018. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 21 mins.

  • 1.1: Welcome and Introduction (3 mins)
  • 1.2: The Business Models of Freelancing and Design Agencies and Who Can Start Their Own Business (6 mins)
  • 1.3: 15 Popular Reasons to Become a Freelancer or Entrepreneur (13 mins)
  • 1.4: 11 Characteristics of Successful Freelancers and Entrepreneurs (9 mins)
  • 1.5: 3 Methods to Overcome Your Weaknesses as an Entrepreneur and Freelancer (11 mins)
  • 1.6: When Is the Perfect Time to Start Your Own Business? (11 mins)
  • 1.7: Is it Irresponsible to Become a Freelancer, Entrepreneur or Digital Nomad? And How to Overcome Your Anxiety and Fear (22 mins)
  • 1.8: End-of-unit Discussion (6 mins)

Lesson 2: How to Plan Your Business

Available anytime after May 09, 2018. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 39 mins.

  • 2.1: Welcome and Introduction (2 mins)
  • 2.2: Discover and Understand your Passions and Interests – and Increase Your Success Rate as an Entrepreneur or Freelancer (10 mins)
  • 2.3: Understand and Define Your Values – and Increase Your Success Rate as an Entrepreneur or Freelancer (12 mins)
  • 2.4: How to Choose Your Specialist Freelance or Entrepreneur Niche and Become Remarkable (12 mins)
  • 2.5: What Kind of Business Setup Should You Choose as a Freelancer or Entrepreneur? (13 mins)
  • 2.6: How to Write Your First Business Plan (8 mins)
  • 2.7: How to Make Your First Marketing Plan as a Freelancer or Entrepreneur (15 mins)
  • 2.8: How to Build Your First Freelance or Design Agency Portfolio (8 mins)
  • 2.9: 7 Powerful Steps for Creating the Perfect Freelance CV (13 mins)
  • 2.10: End-of-unit Discussion (6 mins)

Lesson 3: How to Get Clients – Marketing for Freelance Businesses and Design Agencies

Available anytime after May 16, 2018. Estimated time to complete: 2 hours 12 mins.

  • 3.1: Welcome and Introduction (2 mins)
  • 3.2: Entrepreneurs and Freelancers: Learn to Create Your Marketing Story (8 mins)
  • 3.3: 4 Steps for Performing Effective Market Research for Start-ups (11 mins)
  • 3.4: How to Price Your Freelance and B2B Work (11 mins)
  • 3.5: How to Make Your Start-up Website (13 mins)
  • 3.6: SEO vs. SEM for Freelancers and Entrepreneurs: Improve Your Marketing Strategy (16 mins)
  • 3.7: 10 Effective Tips for Successful Outbound Telemarketing (11 mins)
  • 3.8: 9 Powerful Social Media Marketing Tips for Business Owners (7 mins)
  • 3.9: Direct Mail Marketing for Start-ups: 9 Most Effective Tips (11 mins)
  • 3.10: Networking: Effective and Low-Cost Marketing for Freelancers and Entrepreneurs (14 mins)
  • 3.11: Face-to-Face or Door-to-Door Marketing: How to Get the Best Start (10 mins)
  • 3.12: How to Get Started on Upwork, Guru or Freelancer (13 mins)
  • 3.13: End-of-unit Discussion (5 mins)

Lesson 4: How to Sell Your Business Services: Telesales

Available anytime after May 23, 2018. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 3 mins.

Lesson 5: How Should You Handle Your Business Clients?

Available anytime after May 30, 2018. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 5 mins.

  • 5.1: Welcome and Introduction (2 mins)
  • 5.2: 9-Step Guide to Creating a Freelance and Business-to-Business Contract (8 mins)
  • 5.3: Freelancer and Entrepreneur: Break Your Employee Mind-set (11 mins)
  • 5.4: Freelancers and Entrepreneurs: Get the Customer Service Basics Right (9 mins)
  • 5.5: Angry Customers: Learn to Deal with them and Turn them Into Your Most Loyal Customers (13 mins)
  • 5.6: Freelancer and Entrepreneurs: How to Fire Clients without Telling Them to **** *** (5 mins)
  • 5.7: Freelancer and Entrepreneurs: How to Get Paid – and What to Do When the Client Doesn’t Pay (12 mins)
  • 5.8: End-of-unit Discussion (5 mins)

Lesson 6: Entrepreneur and Freelance Skills

Available anytime after Jun 06, 2018. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 29 mins.

  • 6.1: Welcome and Introduction (2 mins)
  • 6.2: Set Goals and Reach Them (13 mins)
  • 6.3: How to Work towards Your Goals Effectively (8 mins)
  • 6.4: Administration for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners: Don’t Fear it. Just Get it Done (4 mins)
  • 6.5: Identify and Eat Your Frog to Increase Your Effectiveness (7 mins)
  • 6.6: The Pareto Principle and How to Be More Effective (6 mins)
  • 6.7: Legal and Ethical Guidelines: How Freelancers and Entrepreneurs Should Handle Legal and Ethical Issues (13 mins)
  • 6.8: 4 Tried and Tested Ways to Grow Your Small Company or Freelance Business (10 mins)
  • 6.9: Embrace Your Entrepreneurial Failures and Succeed (6 mins)
  • 6.10: How to Handle On-Spec Work as a Freelancer or Entrepreneur (6 mins)
  • 6.11: Professional and Personal Development is Essential for Succeeding as a Freelancer and Entrepreneur (7 mins)
  • 6.12: End-of-unit Discussion (5 mins)

Lesson 7: How to Become a Digital Nomad & Resources for Freelancers, Entrepreneurs and Digital Nomads

Available anytime after Jun 13, 2018. Estimated time to complete: 59 mins.

Lesson 8: Course Certificate, Final Networking, and Course Wrap-up

Available anytime after Jun 20, 2018.

  • 8.1: Course Evaluation (1 min)

Industry-trusted UX Course Certificate

You earn an industry-trusted Course Certificate once you complete the course - even if you finish the course after the official end date. In other words, as long as you have enrolled in the course you will always be able to finish it and to get a course certificate. You will also have permanent access to the course material, your answers and the discussions.

Course Certificates from the IDF are verifiable and trusted by industry leaders. You can highlight them on your resume, CV, LinkedIn profile or your website.

Course Certificate

Our courses and Course Certificates are trusted by these industry leaders, who have taken up company memberships with the IDF:

Accenture Adobe GE Philips SAP