While it’s common for CAD professionals to begin their careers in a firm or company, many still opt to freelance in an effort to truly control the direction of their career.
Freelancing is quickly catching on as one of the more popular employment trends. In fact, nearly 34 percent of the United States population is made up of freelancers—including designers.
Read on to learn more about how to establish yourself as a successful freelance CAD professional.
1. Establish Your Rates
When first starting out as a freelance CAD professional, one of the most important steps to maintaining a profit is to establish your rates. You will need to charge enough to remain competitive against other freelancers, but also to maintain your own needs in order to work. Consider the costs of the following:
- CAD software fees, monthly payments or subscriptions
- CAD hardware and tools
- Computer maintenance
These tools can be costly, so it’s important that the rates you charge cover those costs while also giving a large enough profit back to you.
2. Communicate Early and Often
The importance of clear, consistent communication can’t be stressed enough, especially if you’re considering freelance work. Communicating with your clients should be as regular as it would in a normal in-house setting.
When first working with a new client, be upfront about what you can and cannot do. Discuss expectations with your client and what they’re envisioning. This will reduce uncertainty and confusion later on. Similarly, be prepared to talk about the reason behind your price, your own capabilities and experience, and potential deadlines.
3. Play to Your Strengths
As a freelancer, you have the unique ability to pick and choose which projects you take and which ones you pass on. With that in mind, don’t hesitate to commit to projects that align with your specific strengths as a CAD user.
When freelancing, you should be trying your hardest to maintain and enhance your reputation and credibility. This means experimenting and practice should be done in your spare time—not with client work.
4. Expand Your Network
Finally, whether you’re just starting out as a new freelancer or have established a handful of loyal clients, building relationships is crucial. Maintaining good relationships with clients and even other freelancers can often lead to referrals, and enhanced credibility.
Consider one of the following resources to help build connections:
- LinkedIn: Use LinkedIn to connect with current or former clients, colleagues and other freelancers. The site can also house testimonials and log your experience all in one place.
- Upwork: Build a profile on Upwork to help potential clients easily find you. You can also use the site to communicate, collaborate and check out other competing freelancers.
- Thumbtack: When you use Thumbtack, clients are matched with you based on projects and services needed, which conveniently saves you the trouble of determining if a project is outside your skillset.
- Cad Crowd: Cad Crowd is an online community made up of specifically engineering and CAD experts. Clients can then contact a designer of their choosing.
Start Creating with the CadMouse Wireless
One of the best ways to ensure success as a freelance CAD professional is by investing in the new CadMouse Wireless. The CadMouse Wireless has all of the same features as the popular CadMouse—but with added mobility. This is ideal for freelancers who often work on-the-go, or are constantly traveling as part of the perks of being a freelancer.
Its ergonomic design enhances comfort and offers you a dedicated middle mouse button and intelligent scroll wheel. This helps cut back on wrist pain and strain while reducing the number of clicks. It provides effortless precision due to its optimized 7.200 dpi optical sensor and a constant tactile feedback for smooth mouse movement. You can also work up to 2 months without charging and easily connect via Universal Receiver, Bluetooth or USB-cable—ideal for workers on the go.