Aspiring freelancer looking for advice

Hi all! I recently got laid off from my job, and am using it as a sign to reevaluate what I want to do in my career. I am interested in diving into freelancing, specifically in the UX Design + Research + Strategy space. I have previous experience working on these types of projects and holding these types of roles. I am struggling to understand *how* to get started, and wanted to tap into this network if anyone has advice for the masses! TIA :)

I'm not in UX, but I transitioned to remote freelance (writing) by signing up with Upwork and highlighting my skills, like researching, writing, and science knowledge from school and previous jobs on my profile. There are a lot of instructions on Upwork on how to get started and probably a lot of YouTube videos too. Basically you search for projects and apply to them, eventually if you have good reviews you'll get a lot of clients messaging you first. I have seen request for UX on Upwork.You can start at a lower hourly rate but make sure to give 110% good customer service and once you stack up a few 5 star ratings you can bump up your rate pretty quickly. The rate will be higher than your adjusted hourly rate from a salary because you have to still pay taxes/pay for benefits, so you'll have to calculate all that in. AND Upwork charges a fee. Taxes are also a pain as you're supposed to pay quarterly estimated taxes or face a fine, so look into that. It's easier to figure out finances if you get ongoing projects rather than one-time projects.Good luck!
I'd second what Hattie212 wrote, in addition to making sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and indicates your skillset and portfolio. It's incredibly difficult to find projects working directly with clients without a developer (especially when you're first starting out), so you'll likely need to connect with in-house teams that are missing the UX/research/strategy piece of the puzzle. Make sure your LinkedIn and website are up to date and clearly showcases what services you offer and how they can benefit your target client. There's nothing wrong with using Upwork to gain experience, but their fees are pretty brutal and you're competing with a global marketplace that undercuts the value of design.You might have a more consistent workflow and gain more experience and projects for your portfolio if you subcontract with design/marketing agencies, or if you partner with a UI designer (ideally, you're able to do both the UX strategy and design as well as the high-fidelity UI design) and developer that can make your designs come to life.I'd recommend reading through Benek Lisefski's website for a lot of deep dives into advice for building a freelance career: will also warn you that freelancing is hard. You will not have the safety net of an employer that handles all of the taxes, benefits, and overhead. Definitely read up on sole proprietorship vs LLCs, quarterly estimated taxes, how to calculate an hourly rate, collecting payments from clients, and other financial literacy topics for freelancers. As long as you're prepared for the reality that there's going to be a lot of stuff you don't want to do, I wish you the best of luck!
Hi there @MeganLenz I'm CEO of Prowess Project. We help women create flexible careers and match them with jobs. We're hosting a free masterclass to help women start or uplevel their freelance business if you're interested :)
One approach I've seen a lot is to package some UX Design/Research best practices into a downloadable guide, or as contents on a landing page, and offer free consultation/guide download for people who are interested to sign up. Promote the page on LinkedIn (also mark yourself as a service provider on LinkedIn and include your landing page). Participate in discussions to increase visibility and generate leads. It can take time to build up visibility, but as others mentioned, once you get some positive client feedbacks (make sure to showcase on your page), you can gain some traction. Echoing Mary-ann's point, you will need to consider the set up for payment process and tax implications to decide which approach will work the best. Hope this helps!
I switched from full-time/salaried to freelancing years ago. Posting to your LinkedIn network to let them know you're available to take on these projects is one way to find warm intros for work. It can be easier for some teams to secure funding for a freelancer/contractor than a full-time hire. And it helps a lot to get the intro from someone who knows you and your work, or can otherwise vouch for you.
Hi @MeganLenz Happy to help !! I am a senior recruiter and can point you in a few directions….. email me anytime and we can jump on a call ? [email protected]