Product design is a worthwhile endeavor, and a lot of professionals are into it, not just making a few bucks but actually making a living off it. The main problem is in the area of acquiring the skill — product design as a skill does not come cheap. You have to spend a lot of time learning, practicing, and making mistakes. However, when you become skilled in it, it becomes rewarding.
There are actually many ways you can make money as a product designer. You just have to follow a path and stick to it until you succeed. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can earn money with your product design skills.
The conventional and most popular way of making money as a product designer is to get a job in a firm where your skill is needed. In fact, most product designers usually start with this option. One good thing about this and why it is so popular among designers is that many businesses and corporations require designs, and they require them in-house.
One of the advantages you will have getting a job as a designer is that you will have the opportunity to improve your skills by working with other designers more experienced than you are. You’ll agree with me that going solo is not the best for a new designer, and getting a job is a good option since you won’t be making mistakes that will get to the client.
There is a prediction that in 2020, 50 percent of the United States workforce will engage in freelancing whether part-time or full-time. And guess what, designers are some of the early birds in the world of freelancing. In fact, many businesses do not actually have in-house designers, and as such, they look out for freelancers to outsource the job to.
When we talk of freelancing, you have two routes you can go through. You can either go to freelance websites like Upwork, Fiver, Freelancer, and other sites and get gigs from there. The other option is to get clients independently from other sources, which could be offline or from social media sites and design websites like Dribbble and Behance.
Yes, you probably are not aware, but designers with the right skills can also serve as consultants. However, you cannot be a consultant with little to no experience. In fact, to serve as a consultant and provide consultation service, you have to be one of the tops on the line in your field — nobody pays an amateur to consult for their business.
However, when you get to that level, the opportunities become endless. You’ll have the option of consulting for a good number of product design teams that need professional guidance and best still; you are actually not designing but just giving guidance. And needless to say, there is big money in consulting.
If you look at the four methods discussed above, they are all centered around working on the designs of other people’s products. The question now is, why not get creative and create your own product? After all, you are a product designer. I have seen where some designers created their product and sell them for profit, and they are making good money.
Some get creative with merchandise, others bring a team together and build a tech product that’s design inclined, and it all worked out. The major problem associated with going this route is that you need to have a solid go to market strategy on the ground because frankly, making a product is just one part of the equation, selling it is the most important aspect of it all.
Prior to getting my feet rooted in the industry, I did a lot of learning, and one of the media I used was reading blogs. I learned a lot, reading from the expert knowledge on the blogs I visited then. I know I have slowed down on reading blogs, though, but I still cannot forget to mention how helpful it was to the success of my career.
Plant’s blog you are reading right now is somewhat of a design blog but centered on core design, though, as our product, Plant, is a version control system for designers that integrate well with Sketch on Mac. If you have the required knowledge, you can start sharing your knowledge by blogging it and make money from premium courses, display ads, mentorship, and affiliate marketing.
While blogs are some of the major sources of information in the current world we are in, we cannot deny the fact that books hold more information than blogs. If you are well versed in a particular aspect of design, you can simply write a book about it and get it out to the world. Unlike in the past that you need a publisher to get your book to the market, with platforms like Amazon Kindle Publishing, you can get your book out in no time.
However, make sure your book is worthy of being published else; it will be filled with bad reviews. If you do not want to publish on Amazon, you can sell it yourself if you already have a fan base. Marketing is critical here because frankly, there are many other design books out there, and people need to know why they should read your book and not someone else’s.