When starting out as a designer, and even still today I often find myself searching for cheap or free ways to benefit my projects. Obviously, certain things should not be skimmed over like software, copy written work, and other important things of that nature. However; this doesn't mean you can't budget and effectively save money when it comes to facets of your design career.
Today I am going to share some tips and tricks for you, the designer on a budget. I learned these through personal experience and the help of some awesome friends.
This may seem very odd and unrelated to a post about designers on a budget, but truth be told, networking has been one of the biggest benefits of my career. From finding business partners and collaborative projects, to help with design, development, and marketing the friends I have met are more beneficial than any product I've ever bought.
Networking gave me a group and resources to help my efforts as well as theirs. By helping others I was able to learn new things and gain experience. In turn I was able to assist others and gain valuable support when I needed it as well.
Free resources have been so useful in advancing my design career. I can attribute freebies to a lot of the learning involved in the early stages of my career. By ripping apart free .psd's I was able to learn the ins and outs of Photoshop. It sped up the process of what could of been a much longer timeframe, and helped me to advance in Photoshop, and other design principles much quicker.
In terms of design resources, here is a post detailing my top 20 favorite sites. For image placeholders, here are 5 great sites to find free stock photos. In need of icons? Check out this post with 50 free mini icon kits. Finally, refer to my post featuring the Top 50 Best Free Fonts for all your typographical needs.
Articles, Videos, Tips
By reading this article right now, you are already off to a great start. One of the best ways I learned about design, marketing, and working on the web was through reading articles, finding tips, and watching free tutorials. By keeping up with the top blogs in your industry, following the most useful twitter accounts, and staying in the loop you are able to learn more, and faster.
The final tip I can offer you, is to be productive and make great user of your time. An article that really inspired me lately was Consume/Create by @robfitz. Instead of playing video games or watching Netflix, why not spend the time learning a new subject. Rather than browsing the web, why not update that side project. By finding more profitable ways to spend your time, you can really benefit yourself.
For example, last week I decided to take a break from Netflix, and instead work on a new design product. With that product I was able to make a couple hundred bucks and it made it well worth the time. Now I limit Netflix to evenings and spend more time working on profitable side projects.
It really all comes down to your effort. There are countless free resources, discounts, and time-savers out there for you to improve your design career on a budget, you just have to search for them. Spend some time today researching or learning something new. Or, work on a more profitable side project. The results will be amazing and you won't regret your efforts to better your career!
The UltraLinx Newsletter
Tips & tricks for freelance designers along with updates on freebies, new products, and the upcoming UltraLinx Design & Resource Store, all in one tidy Newsletter!