I'm about ready to graduate college as a UX designer. What advice would you have for me with respect to becoming a freelancer or getting a job with a big company as a UX designer.
Getting a job as freelancer is a possibility, but since it looks like you are graduating soon my guess is you do not have a portfolio of jobs or a lot of real work experience you can use to show to prospective business clients. This will make marketing your services a bit challenging. I might suggest to overcome this, that your start by registering at one of the many freelance contacting sites as a UX designer and try to get a few contracting jobs under your belt.
My favorite site to hire freelancers for my businesses is Upwork.com. However, I’d also recommend listing your UX design services on sites like Freelancer.com, Toptal.com, and Guru.com as well.
Once you have a portfolio of jobs I’d consider taking the next step. I recommend developing a website and perhaps writing an eBook on UX design based on your academic and practical experiences to establish you as an expert in your field. I’d market the book on sites like Amazon and Smashwords for a few bucks and as a giveaway on your webpage in exchange for their email address so you can pump out content to their email address. People interested in UX design will explore your links back to your to website. Be sure to include on your site how a person can contract with you.
You may also want to write a blog or vlog, to create some inbound marketing and again to demonstrate your expertise as UX designer. Don’t overlook writing articles on UX design for online or print magazines or being a guest blogger on someone else’s site to get you visibility to their audience as well.
Once you have some content be sure to syndicate it to Facebook and LinkedIn groups that specialize in UX related discussions to build your brand awareness.
I might recommend 2 of my books to help up make the most of being UX Design freelancer: “Before you Leap, Uncommon thing you should know before you become an entrepreneur” and “Practical Marketing Concepts for Small Business – An anthology series of buyer psychology, getting noticed, and making your message stick”. Both books are available in eBook and paperback on Amazon.com or at SteveBizBlog.com.
I assume that since you are graduating from college you will have some student debt. Student debt is one of the biggest reasons young folks have a tough time becoming a freelancer or entrepreneur directly out of school. Therefore, getting a job at a big company in this case is also a good idea to get practical experience as well as a steady paycheck while pay off your college debt. I’d not rule out having a UX side hustle while you are employed at a bigger firm provided it is not a conflict of interest with your employer. If possible I might make moonlighting as a freelance UX designer a condition of my employment if at all possible.