Course Description

How to Build a Successful Design Business

Have you ever dreamed of breaking away from the 9-to-5 grind and becoming your own boss? Is what you’re doing now not quite what you had dreamed it would be? For that matter, have you ever wanted to do work you love most of the time, getting paid and appreciated for what you produce? How about getting away from the same old setting—with its endless meetings, corporate politics, and the many other irritations that tend to spring to mind when you’re coming back from a holiday? Have you ever considered how different life might be as a freelancer, or if you were to run your own design agency? Can you imagine the freedom of not having to rush about so much, of working only a few paces away from where you wake up? Maybe, you’ve even wanted to do all that from the beach on a desert island or in a trendy coffee shop in an inspiring urban landscape?

The truth is that there’s nothing stopping you from doing just that. Going into business for yourself as a freelancer or entrepreneur can be a highly rewarding and exciting way to work. 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 in Prague, Delhi, Koh Phangan, Cape Town, Rio, or wherever you have your heart set on.

This course will show you how to do just that. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a ton of savings in the bank, and it doesn’t matter if you think it can’t be done. It can; one of the course instructors and tens of thousands of other freelancers built their freelance businesses from nothing. Many of them built their businesses in interesting countries where they didn’t speak the language. The founders of the Interaction Design Foundation (IDF), Mads Soegaard and Rikke Friis Dam, built the IDF while living in low-cost countries, so they were able 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.

We’ll show you how to begin from scratch and take you through every step and avenue—everything from overcoming your fears to the practicalities of making a brand name of yourself. We will share everything as to how you can start your own design agency or start working as a freelancer from pretty much anywhere at any time to live the life of your dreams while providing high-quality services and products to the benefit of your clients.

You are not alone in your desire to work the way you want to work, where you want to work. Freelancing is the most rapidly growing business market on earth. In the United States alone, 34% of the workforce is freelance. They make up a $715-billion slice of the national economy, and 77% of all freelancers believe that the best days of freelancing are yet to come. The United Kingdom has 14% more freelancers compared to a decade ago, and 72% of those freelancers believe this has a positive effect on their family lives. In Europe, 45% of the workforce is freelance, an increase of 2.7 million workers in a single year; it is the fastest-growing group in the EU labour market. It’s the way forward for working in many industries. Better still, the new lease of life it can give you may make you wonder why you hadn’t done it sooner, whether your existing workplace is a stress factory or not.

Whether you want to be a freelancer, entrepreneur or a digital nomad travelling the world while doing work you love, this course will introduce you to the best and most relevant research as well as ideas and best practices derived from others who have been in your shoes and who have made the break to living and working the way they always wanted to.

Want to build a better, more fulfilling life? Then it’s time to quit dreaming and start doing.

Recommended Background: What You Should Know

This course will teach you what you need to know to build a business from the ground up. That means you don’t need any freelancing, entrepreneurial, or digital nomad experience to get the best from this course.

However, you need some professional skills if you want to get the most out of this. UX designers, interaction designers, web designers, copywriters, programmers, graphic designers, social media managers, project managers, photographers, accountants, etc. are most likely to benefit from this course. We don’t teach basic professional skills here on this course; we are assuming that you already have those.

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. Before Rikke co-founded IDF, she worked as a freelance consultant, documentary maker and writer with wide experience in start-up environments, coaching and training other freelancers and nomads to get their businesses started. Rikke and the other founder of IDF, Mads Soegaard, started working while travelling as digital nomads as soon as the internet allowed them to do so – way before the term “digital nomad” was coined. In fact, most of the IDF employees and loyal freelancers live and work as dedicated and hardworking digital nomads all over the world.

How the Lessons Are Organized

There are seven lessons in this course:

  1. Are You Cut Out for Freelancing and Entrepreneurship? Understand how freelancing and entrepreneurship works and learn essential characteristics of successful freelancers and entrepreneurs, helping you to overcome the fear of getting started.
  2. How to Plan Your Business. No one plans to fail, but many fail to plan, and it turns out that they’re often the same thing. We show you what you need to consider to get going.
  3. How to Get Clients – Marketing for freelancers and business-to-business (B2B) entrepreneurs such as owners of design agencies who deal with other companies as opposed to private consumers. How to attract the attention of clients and how to start bringing in the bacon by yourself.
  4. How to Sell Your Business Services: Telesales. How to handle the fear of selling and make calls and pitches that deliver results.
  5. How Should You Handle Your Business Clients? From contracting to getting paid, we show you how to manage your clients for long-term success.
  6. Entrepreneur and Freelance Skills. From legal issues to dealing with the inevitable bumps in the road that every new business faces, we’ll prepare you for the worst so that you can be the best.
  7. How to Become a Digital Nomad & Resources for Freelancers, Entrepreneurs and Digital Nomads. Want to work from anywhere? We’ve got your back on this, too. Case studies of people who have been there and successfully bought the T-shirt.

Benefits: By the End of this Course You Will Be Able to:

  • Decide whether freelancing or entrepreneurship is what you want to do.
  • Set up a successful business.
  • Market and sell your business services effectively.
  • Handle all the day-to-day management of a freelance and entrepreneur practice.
  • Become a digital nomad and travel the world doing work you love if you want to leave more than the office behind.

We live in a connected high-tech world. There is no reason for you to sit in an office, marking time and taking orders unless you want to live like that. Anyone with some professional skills can work for himself or herself and choose where, when and how to work. Your clients can be based anywhere on earth, and so can you.

Learn and Work With a Global Team of Designers

When you take part in this course, you will join a global multi-disciplinary 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 freelancers and entrepreneurs. It’s your chance to learn, grow, and network with your peers across the planet.

Industry-trusted 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