How to Become a Freelance Designer

100% booked

How this course will help your career

What you will learn

  • Whether freelancing or entrepreneurship is for you
  • 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

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”. In the United States alone, freelancing is a $1 trillion industry, according to Upwork. 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 can attest to this—Mads Soegaard and Rikke Friis Dam built the platform 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 our 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 our 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.

Gain an industry-trusted UX Course Certificate

You earn a verifiable and industry-trusted Course Certificate once you complete the course. 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:

Centure, Adobe, GE, IBM, Philips and SAP

Is this course right for you?

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

You’ll join a global community and work together to improve your skills and career opportunities. Connect with helpful peers and make friends with like-minded individuals as you push deeper into the exciting and booming industry of design.

Lessons in this course

  • Lessons become available at a schedule of one lesson per week.
  • Lessons remain open for you forever and have no deadlines.
  • There is no time limit to finish a course.
  • You have permanent access to your course material, answers, and classmates for the entire duration of your membership.
  • Estimated time to complete: 10 hours 21 mins spread over 7 weeks.

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

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 44 mins.

  • 0.1: How to build a Successful Design Business (5 mins)
  • 0.2: An introduction to IDF courses (14 mins)
  • 0.3: Let our community help you (1 min)
  • 0.4: How to earn your Course Certificate (4 mins)
  • 0.5: Meet your peers online in our discussion forums (6 mins)
  • 0.6: Meet and learn from design professionals in your area (1 min)
  • 0.7: Gain Timeless Knowledge Through IDF Courses (10 mins)
  • 0.8: Mandatory lessons vs. Optional lessons (2 mins)
  • 0.9: A mix between video-based and text-based lesson content (2 mins)

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

To be scheduled. 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

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 34 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 (8 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

To be scheduled. 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

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 3 mins.

  • 4.1: Welcome and Introduction (3 mins)
  • 4.2: Entrepreneurs and Freelancers: How to Overcome Your Fear of Selling (10 mins)
  • 4.3: How to Prepare for a Successful Sales Call (12 mins)
  • 4.4: Learn How to Open a Sales Call Successfully (6 mins)
  • 4.5: 5 Steps to Make the Perfect Telesales Pitch for Your Services (9 mins)
  • 4.6: Learn How to Present Your Business Services and Close a Sale (7 mins)
  • 4.7: Learn How to Close a Sales Call (10 mins)
  • 4.8: End-of-unit Discussion (5 mins)

Lesson 5: How Should You Handle Your Business Clients?

To be scheduled. 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

To be scheduled. 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

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 53 mins.

  • 7.1: Welcome and Introduction (3 mins)
  • 7.2: Are You Dreaming of Becoming a Digital Nomad? (5 mins)
  • 7.3: Where Do You Want to Go, Digital Nomad? (9 mins)
  • 7.4: Downsize Your Life, Digital Nomad (6 mins)
  • 7.5: Visas and Legal Issues for Digital Nomads (6 mins)
  • 7.6: 10 Brilliant Travel Tips for Digital Nomads and Business Travellers (8 mins)
  • 7.7: 5 Inspiring Freelance Designers’ Websites and Portfolios (4 mins)
  • 7.8: 10 Great Start-up and Digital Nomad Resources Online (6 mins)
  • 7.9: End-of-unit Discussion (6 mins)

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

To be scheduled.

  • 8.1: Course Evaluation (1 min)

How to advance your career with IDF courses

  1. Attend lessons at your own pace

    Each week throughout the course, you get access to a new lesson, but you can move through the lessons at your own pace. This means you can learn before you leave for work, or in between breaks — in as little as 15 minutes per day.

  2. Network online and offline

    Network with your fellow course-takers online, through discussion forums inside lessons. You can also connect with your peers offline via IDF’s Local Groups. Local Groups connect you with other designers around your city who share the same passion in UX design as you.

  3. Advance your career

    Get a verifiable and industry-trusted Course Certificate once you’ve scored at least 70% on a course. Highlight your Course Certificates on your résumé, your LinkedIn profile, or your website to showcase your newly mastered skills.

Start advancing your career now

Become a member to take “How to Become a Freelance Designer”. Take any other IDF UX courses at no additional cost. Take a concrete step forward in your career path today.

Frequently asked questions

I missed the enrollment date and now the course is closed. Will I have any opportunity to take the course in the future?

Don't worry if you missed the course. We will re-run it shortly. One of the reasons we continually open and close courses is to be able to control the classroom size.

Networking is a large part of our value proposition, so we want just the right number of people inside the courses. That is also why we display the "XX % percent booked" on our course icons.

We’ll re-schedule the course and make it available for sign-up on in only about a week (or perhaps a little bit longer). The actual start date of the course will be a few weeks after sign-ups begin too. We’ve found that this is the best way to maximize flexibility and convenience for everyone, especially you as you put your course program together.

Can I take more than one course at a time?
Yes, you can take as many courses as you would like. For example, if there are 30 active courses, you can enroll in all 30 courses at the same time and move from one to the other as you please.

There are no further charges once you have paid for your membership.

Please note: If you have a student membership, you can take a maximum of two courses at the same time. As a student, you can thus still take as many courses as you would like – free of extra charges – just as long as you finish them (or drop them) so that you don’t have more than three ongoing courses at the same time. Please note that if you drop a course, progress is not transferable between cycles. So, you'll have to redo the lessons and answers you already completed in the current cycle. 
Do I have to be online at an exact time to study?

No. You can set your own study schedule. There are no "live sessions" or "webinars" since our members are from all timezones around the world. We are a truly global community – with members in every single corner of the world.

Thus, once you are enrolled, you can take all the time you want to complete a given course. Every "classroom" in each course will never close, so you’ll have permanent access to your classmates and your course material (as well as your own answers).

Will I receive a Course Certificate?

Yes. Every time you complete a course, you get an industry-recognized Course Certificate. There is no limit to how many Course Certificates you can earn during your membership. You will also receive a 3-step guide on how to include your Course Certificate on LinkedIn and in your résumé/CV.

You can see an example of a Course Certificate at the bottom of the Course Catalogue.

I have answered questions in a lesson; when will they be marked/graded?
We do the marking/grading in so-called "sprints," where we sit down and do all the marking/grading in one go. Your answers will be graded approximately two weeks after you submit your work. 
We do this because it is much more efficient than doing one little step every day. It's part of our lean/agile work philosophy, and that approach to efficiency is one of the factors that keeps our membership prices so incredibly low.
We are doing it to save you money and as part of our mission to lower the cost of high-quality design education.
I have updated my name, but my course certificate is not updated — how can I change it?
Once you update your name, the certificate will be updated automatically in the next 48 hours. 
I have started the course/lesson later than the specified date, are my answers still going to be marked?

We will be marking answers for as long as there are active members. Therefore, even if you are the only person taking a lesson at that particular time, your answers will still be marked.

How are courses graded?

Open-ended questions are graded by our experts and course instructors - not by machines.

That's one of the reasons why our Course Certificates are credible and recognized by industry leaders.

I started a course after the official start date; for how long will I have access to the course materials?

Regardless of when you have enrolled on a course, you will have access to the course materials for the entire duration of your membership. So, if you pay for a one-year membership, you will have access for one year, renewing your membership for a second year means you will have access for two years, and so on.

New lessons are starting before I have had the chance to complete all aspects of the previous lesson(s); am I going to be locked out of these unfinished lessons?

No, you will not be locked out of any lesson or course. You will have access to all course materials throughout your membership, so there is no pressure to keep at the same pace as the specified lesson release dates.

All we recommend is that you try to stick to the same schedule as other participants. The reason is they may have moved on to other lessons, thereby meaning you could miss out on the social aspects of the course(s). However, we anticipate that there will be a constant flow of participants working through different lessons and courses, so overall you are unlikely to miss out. We will also be running all courses again — so there really is no rush.

Are course certificates awarded on a specific date?

No; you can generate your certificate as soon as you attain at least 70% of the total course points.

When will I receive my Course Certificate?

Course certificates will be given to participants when they have scored more than 70% or more of the total course points. For example, if a course contains ten lessons each with ten questions, you will receive a course certificate when the instructor has awarded you at least 70 points (70% of the total course points).

There is no specified time that certificates will be awarded — instead, they are given to participants as and when they have answered all questions, even if this is long after the official end date.

How do I add my Course Certificate to my LinkedIn profile?

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to add your IDF course(s) to your LinkedIn profile:

  1. Log in to your LinkedIn account, then go to your profile.
  2. On the right, in the Add profile section dropdown, choose Background and then select the + next to Licenses & Certifications.

  3. In the following fields add:
    • Name – Course name
    • Issuing organization – The Interaction Design Foundation
    • Check the field “This credential does not expire”
    • Issue date - Input the date written on your certificate (e.g., May 2019)
    • Credential ID – Your membership ID number (it's written on your certificate)
    • Credential URL: Input the certificate URL provided on your course page

  4. Click on the save button.

Congratulate yourself!
You’ve made a great accomplishment by earning your course certificate, and now the world knows about it!

How do I add the IDF Membership Certificate to my LinkedIn Profile?

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to add your IDF membership certificate to your LinkedIn profile:

  1. Log in to your LinkedIn account, then go to your profile.
  2. On the right, in the Add profile section dropdown, choose Background and then select the + next to Licenses & Certifications.

  3. In the following fields add:
    • Name – Membership Certificate
    • Issuing organization – The Interaction Design Foundation
    • Check the field “This credential does not expire”
    • Issue date - Input the date when you joined our community (e.g., May 2019)
    • Credential ID – Your membership ID number (it's written on your certificate)
    • Credential URL: Input the certificate URL provided on your profile page
  4. Click on the save button.

It is as simple as that. Now, anyone who visits your profile can see your certificate!

How much will I have to pay for the courses?

As a member, you can take as many courses as you want with no additional costs. This means you only have to pay our membership fee to take an unlimited number of courses. There will be no further charges on top of the membership fee, no matter how many courses you decide to take.

Do you provide mostly beginners' or more advanced courses?

We provide courses for all levels of mastery and accross the full spectrum. If you’re new to design, you can start from our beginner courses and progress all the way up to our advanced ones. If you’re an established designer, on the other hand, you will find some of our lower-level courses provide a good refresher—and the advanced ones, a bit of a challenge.

How long does it take to complete a course?

Once enrolled in a course, you will gain access to a new lesson each week, which you are free to complete without any deadlines and no end date, either.