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Becoming a Freelance Interior Designer

Becoming a freelance interior designer is the logical first step for many NDA students when they finish their Interior Design course. Whether you have studied for a diploma or a degree, freelancing is a great way to gain experience without having to give up your day job. But beware – working on your own and having total flexibility so early on in your interior design career isn’t always the best thing. In our latest blog we give you some totally honest advice for best advice for becoming a freelance interior designer.

Careers in Interior Design

When you’re just starting out, there are two different career paths to choose – you either work for yourself or find and entry level job with an existing company. Our Student Spotlight features are full of students who have been brave enough to start out on their own, whether as a freelancer or starting their own interior design consultancy. There are also a lot of NDA students who choose to keep on learning – they either progress they education with us with the BA (Hons) Interior Design or MA Interior Design or they go out into the big scary world and get a job. Both options sound daunting right? Well, they don’t need to be. With the right advice and a bit of courage, your career in interior design can flourish. 

Benefits of Becoming a Freelance Interior Designer

Becoming a freelance interior designer has tons of benefits especially if you have children or a full time job. You can test the water without losing your financial security or fit your work hours around school and nursery times. 

There’s also the benefit of being able to pick your projects. Freelancing allows you to start small by taking on less complex jobs until you build your confidence. and your portfolio.

Don't Give up Your Day Job!

When you start out on a new career path it can be tempting to throw caution to the wind. Out with the old, in with the new. But wait! Not many people can afford to give up a steady income in favour of freelancing so it really pays to stick it out with your current job until you find your feet and hopefully some regular clients or a solid strategy for finding work.

How do you find freelance work?

We’ve spoken to lots of NDA graduates who now work as successful freelancers or run their own businesses. They all started out in the same position and they all say the same thing – keep going. You might not get the first freelance job you apply for, or the 10th, but eventually someone will give you a chance.

Using platforms such as Freelancer and Upwork can help you to build a good portfolio of real-life projects but beware – competition is fierce and pricing is key. Another good reason not to give up your other job! Being able to price yourself lower than other full time designers will encourage people to hire you instead. You’ll also be cheaper than professional studios who have overheads to pay for.


Using Social Media

Many NDA students and graduates also talk about finding freelance work on social media platforms. Your Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest profiles can act as a searchable portfolio and should showcase a good variety of work. Don’t mix business with pleasure though – make sure you set up a different account for your freelance work and use this to show your style, projects, inspiration and sketches. 

Freelancing Advice from Lucy Painter:

Take it From Someone Who Knows....

So many NDA students and graduates start their interior design career by freelancing. Jake Henry used platforms and apps such as Freelancer, Houzz and Upwork, whereas Mackenzie Morrison and Jess Crane opted for social media to help them to market their freelance services. 

It can take a while to get to the point where you can make a living as a freelance interior designer but it’s also a great option to help you build your portfolio and confidence one step at a time. 

SkillsLab: Professional Practice

From building your network to creating a stunning portfolio, our SkillsLab resources can help you to kick start your interior design career.

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