Partnering with an agency to find work as a UX designer is an exciting and productive way to embrace freelancing. UX staffing agencies help designers find new clients and projects so that they can focus on doing the work that they love rather than tiresome administrative tasks. While some freelancers enjoy the business side of being a freelancer, others would rather focus solely on designing user experiences. Either preference is totally acceptable, however, those that prefer fewer emails or don’t enjoy having to market themselves could hugely benefit from working with a UX staffing agency. Before we dive into more detail about the many benefits of partnering with a UX staffing agency, let’s talk about the benefits of being a freelancer in general.
The benefits of being a freelancer
Freelancers have much more control over when they work. This doesn’t mean that freelancers can slack off whenever they feel like it, because naturally there will be deadlines and milestones to meet and meetings to attend (these are usually conducted remotely). However, freelancers aren’t subjected to the usual 9-5 routine either. Freelancers can slow down when they feel like they need to and then dive into deep work when they’re feeling more energized.
Although freelancers can certainly suffer from burnout like anyone else, there’s more opportunity for self-care in addition to the ability to utilize time better. Fewer working hours spent being productive are ultimately more valuable than fixed working hours spent feeling exhausted and unmotivated. In short, freelancers are simply more able to make their workstyle more compatible with their lifestyle.
Freelancing comes with the freedom to work from anywhere most of the time. Decide between working from home, a café, a co-working space, or wherever feels comfortable as long as the noise levels and internet speeds are suitable for the tasks at hand. For those that don’t want to be tied to a specific location, van life and digital nomadism lifestyles can enable freelancers to work while travelling.
Hand-pick exciting projects
When working in a salaried role, it’s rare for employees to be able to choose what they work on. Freelancers however have a little more freedom to choose projects that align with their values and interests. For example, UX designers that enjoy designing SaaS products specifically or want to work with NGOs only can choose to do that once their skills, experience, and reputation creates enough demand for their work.
The benefits of establishing a long-term relationship with a UX staffing agency
While freelancing also comes with some downsides, agencies are designed to mitigate these downsides. Let’s take a look at how establishing a long-term relationship with an agency can help UX designers overcome some of the biggest obstacles in freelancing.
Finding work is effortless
For UX designers that don’t excel at selling and marketing themselves (or simply don’t enjoy it), an agency is a useful resource to have because they make it their responsibility to ensure that their UX designers always have steady work, so that they can focus on doing the work rather than constantly having to look for it. Managing leads and landing clients is a very time-consuming task, and the endless back-and-forth communication can quickly hinder productivity.
Agencies are especially skilled at extracting straightforward, detailed briefs from clients and negotiating budgets and milestones. More importantly, they’ll synthesize all of this into a clearly-worded binding contract for designers to just read and sign. All-in-all, UX staffing agencies ensure that designers receive swift payment for their work and are able to immediately move onto the next client.
Projects are tailored to skills and interests
Although it can take a short while for agencies to fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of a UX designer, the client briefs suggested by the agency will be more and more suited to the designer’s skills and interests over time. Until then, a steady flow of leads at least enables UX designers to sieve through opportunities manually and choose ones that stand out to them. This improves the job matching experience even while still getting acquainted with the agency.
Paperwork is no longer time-consuming
UX staffing agencies take away most of the stress that comes with signing contracts such as contractor agreements, Non-Disclosure Agreements, and so on. They also eliminate the need to constantly be creating and sending invoices for every milestone, in addition to chasing payments. Sometimes, tax obligations are taken care of too.
Communication is smoother
An agency is essentially a buffer between the UX designer and the client. When the client’s deadlines seem unreasonable or when their demands aren’t in the interests of the end-user, a decent UX staffing agency should be able to support designers in communicating their concerns to the client effectively and respectfully. Similarly, a decent UX designer should be able to demonstrate evidence-based research to back up their decisions. Communication is key, but in the absence of communication skills a UX staffing agency can be the voice of reason instead, so long as there’s a compelling case.
Ultimately, UX staffing agencies just want to get paid from the client like the UX designer does. Although some agencies do like to hammer down and put pressure on the designer in order to give the client what they want, this rarely yields successful results for anybody involved and these agencies usually fail to thrive. Support, respect, and communication is the only way to deliver a quality service in a timely manner, so this is the approach that most agencies take.
If you’re a UX designer thinking about freelancing (or maybe you’re already freelancing and you dislike the administrative/business side of it) then consider signing with a UX staffing agency. Payments, contracts, taxes, and so on will no longer be your concern, and you’ll have much more control over when and where you work.
UX Hires is a leading UX Staffing Agency based in New York City, with clients across North America. We work with hundreds of the most talented UX professionals to connect them with exciting and financially rewarding freelance (and full-time) opportunities. We take care of everything so you can focus on doing the best work. Visit www.uxhires.com to learn more and join our network.
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