7 top tips if you’re starting out as a freelance instructional designer

Hannah Waddams | 03/29/2018

This week we hosted our ‘Ask the instructional designer’ webinar. We were inundated with fantastic questions from our customers, so we thought we’d take some time to answer some of them in detail.

The question which inspired this blog was submitted by Hannah, who asked “What are your three tips for freelance instructional designers just starting out?”

So, we asked Karen (Head of Cursim, Omniplex’s learning design and development division) and two of our instructional designers, Justine and Louise, for their top tips – but of course, it resulted in more than three tips! So here are our seven top tips if you’re starting out as a freelance instructional designer: 

  1. Think about your USP

    Have a clear idea of what value you can bring to a project, that a rival ID could not. What is your USP? You’ll have a lot of competition, so knowing how you can set yourself apart from the crowd will help. 
  1. Create a jaw dropping portfolio

    This is another great way to set yourself apart from your competition. You should have a strong and varied portfolio that shows off your design skills and creates the impression you want it to. It's also important to keep your portfolio up to date and ask for permission from previous employers to show work you've completed for them.
  1. Always give 100%

    If you’re asked to complete a task for a potential employer, do it to the best of your ability! Some people put less effort in, as they aren’t necessarily being paid for the task in hand – but you must think of the long-term gains! Make sure you pay close attention to language, punctuation and spelling – and woo potential employers into using your freelance service.
  1. Think about your software choices

    Make sure you use the best tools for the job. Software with less features might mean your eLearning course does not show off your full potential as an instructional designer. As we’ve already mentioned, you need to make sure you have a strong portfolio and you might have to complete tasks for potential employers, so don’t let your software let you down.
  1. Sell yourself

    It is crucial as a freelance ID that you promote yourself at every opportunity. If you don’t, nobody will do it for you. Attend events, take part in forums and share your thoughts and opinions with the industry – get your name out there.
  2. Practice, practice, practice!

    You have to be able to showcase your course design skills and justify why you’ve designed a course in the way you have. Any company considering taking you on as a freelance ID will grill you on your work, so you have to be prepared and know your stuff!
  1. Keep an eye on the latest trends

    It’s important for freelance ID’s to keep up with evolving trends in the industry. Make sure you know what is current, what’s emerging, and what’s just clutter along the way.

On demand webinar

Instructional design can be seen as both an art, and a science. However you see it, there are problems which all instructional designers have to solve. In this on demand webinar, Karen Quinton, Head of Cursim, answers your questions about instructional design. 

Listen now

Hannah Waddams

Hannah is a marketing executive here at Omniplex

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