The Indie UI/UX Designer Essentials For Creating a Sustainable Business
To create a sustainable business as an indie UI/UX designer, you are going to need more than just design skills.
What do I mean when I say “indie”?
An indie UI/UX designer is a designer that wants to control their time. It’s one who doesn’t want to be an employee or have employees. They want to be more than a freelancer — selling their time for money. They don’t have aspirations to be the boss of anyone. They want to pick out what they work on and with whom. Be financially secured. And have the option to not work every day from 9 to 5.
I am kinda describing my own desired future state. And I’m working on it. Here are a few essentials that I have noticed are needed in order to succeed.
#1 Niche Expertise
This is your springboard to freedom.
You need to be more than a generalist UI/UX designer in order to get hired and build a financial cushion. You consult and do hands-on design work for clients. Get employed for a few years if you have to, with the ultimate goal to go out on your own at some point.
In the meantime, you build your skillset needed as an indie UI/UX designer.
This could be your client niche, your design peers or newbie designers that look up to you.
To reach them, you need to pick and master a medium: writing, podcasting, video. You need to pick a channel through which you’re going to reach them. This is the place where they already hang out online: Social media, communities, publications. You need to show up and help them on a consistent schedule.
If you do a good job, they can become your customer.
#3 Digital Product
This is the way you scale trading your time for money.
You create a digital product that solves your audience’s problem. This could be a template, e-book, online course, audiobook, community, cheat sheet, productized service or a no-code app. You package your expertise and sell it as a product.
The goal is to gradually shift the scale from service to product.
Moving from a perpetual employee to freedom as an indie UI/UX designer.