Joe Rutland

6 months of being a Freelance UI Designer

23rd Feb 17

Looking back 5 years, day dreaming about going freelance, I genuinely never thought I’d have the guts to do it. But here I sit. Just over 7 months (yes this post has been sitting here for a month or so) since I became a full-time freelance UI designer. Happier than I have been for a long time.

The day I made my final decision to hand in my notice to my employer, I had my doubts about a few things. Some the same as I expect the majority of people making the plunge into the world of freelance. Will I make enough to cover my bills? Can I keep on winning clients?

But I also had additional fears. Back in 2014 I worked remotely for a digital agency, and without too much detail I truly hated it. I was miserable and got to a point where I was applying for jobs out of design and this stuck in my mind. Looking back now, I realise this wasn’t just due to the fact I was based at home. It was that I was based at home still structured 9-5 and felt micromanaged. I struggled to disconnect work from home and it impacted on my family life badly.


Since going freelance, I’ve kept my goals realistic. Setting my last wage as a monthly milestone to aim at on a monthly basis and so far (bar January which was a bit slow) I hit and bettered that target.

I’m not breaking any records, splashing the cash all over.

I'm not making this kind of money yet as a freelance UI Designer

But what’s better is that I am happy in the work I’m doing, which in turns makes me happy at home. I get to meet and work with great people on UI projects that I really enjoy and feel passionate about.


My final decision to becoming a freelance UI designer rather than staying in a design agency was my last ditch to save what I used to love so much.

As I mentioned before, I’d been unhappy and had lost all passion for design and was looking for a way out until I met someone who reminded me of the way I used to feel. He had the passion, the drive that I’d lost. Working with him got my appetite back and I made the snap decision – “If I’m gonna be happy and do the work I want, there’s only one way”.


If you’ve ever thought about leaving full-time employment for the life of a freelance designer, so far from my experience, I couldn’t recommend it more. But do make sure you have a plan.

Here is a couple of tips of things I do to keep my mind on the right track:

  • Aim for projects you’re passionate about
  • Have an office/space away from family life
  • Get out – work form shared spaces/coffee shops every now and again
  • Do keep some kind of loose schedule
  • Be positive 🙂


I really don’t know what the future holds for me and my freelance UI design career but I’m excited again and I’m looking forward to it.

I’m currently taking on new design projects, you can see some of my UI design work and if you like what you see, let’s talk about how I can help.