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Education

My argument for freelancing

After reviewing portfolios at a local design student conference, one of the students reached out to ask about how to price her first two freelance projects.

As we discussed charging per hour versus a flat project fee, including taxes, and other important considerations, she mentioned that one of her professors suggested staying away from freelancing right out of school.

I get it. What educator in their right mind would openly advise their students to take such a risky step straight out of the gate?

I’ll tell you who - someone who knows what is actually going on in the real world.

At this point, over 43% of the U.S. workforce is considered subcontracting or freelancing and that number is only going up.

Admittedly, many of these people essentially work full-time for companies that don’t want to give them the status of “employee” and others operate in the “gig economy,” but there are more and more creative professionals who are choosing to go their own direction.

Thanks to the democratization of software like Quickbooks, Stripe, Squarespace, and countless others, freelancers can fill in their gaps for little to no cost, which helps to take some of the risk out of the equation.

Sure, there is still an inherent risk that comes with working for yourself, but there is also inherent risk with relying solely on one source for your income.

Whether you’re gigging on the side or going all-in, laying the groundwork for a freelance career will never be a bad idea.

I didn't go to school for this

I’m looking out the kitchen window of Slalom’s office, thinking about how lucky I really am.

I didn’t go to school for any of this. I don’t have an MBA from a top university. Hell, I’ve never really had a full-time job until now.

What I do have (and what I think Slalom saw in me) is ambition, the willingness to learn, and the ability to solve problems with critical thinking (i.e. figuring stuff out on the fly).

I’ll admit, when I was a freshman in college, I never thought I would end up consulting. 19-year-old me was ready to “stick it to the man” and create my own path on my own terms.

I’d like to think 30-year-old me is a little smarter, wiser, and more open-minded. I’ve realize there is more than one way to create your own path, especially while working with another company.

In fact, I would say the best companies encourage you to follow that path while acting as a resource along the way.

From what I’ve seen so far, I’m right where I’m supposed to be.