A few months ago, I was a freelance graphic designer who had come, over time, to rely completely on one company for all of her income.
I gave them all of my attention because they had so much work for me; it eventually reached a point where I felt I had to ask them for permission to take days off—even if there wasn’t a project on hand.
It was like being a full-time employee without the benefits. While it was an unfortunate situation, I believed we had a strong enough working relationship where I could them approach with the idea of traveling the world and working remotely.
Just trying to live the dream, what’s so wrong with that?
They were disappointed that I would physically be out of reach but were open to having me work remotely. We made sure to arrange everything accordingly before I departed, and I got on a plane.
It was good until it wasn’t
I did not realize what I was in for when I first landed in Split, Croatia!
Well, I thought we were all set.
The day after I landed in my first destination—Split, Croatia—the business reached out and told me that they were going to hold off on giving me more projects for a while until I returned.
I’m not sure that they realized that they put me in a position where I was suddenly making no money while trying to live the digital nomad life. It was an incredibly stressful situation because going home was not as easy as it sounds: I had committed to a year’s worth of travel with a program called Remote Year, and I had already paid a hefty deposit.
PMA: Positive Mental Attitude
My first thought was to completely revamp my website while I searched for new work.
I was optimistic about finding new clients and really set on the idea of a remote work style of living. I conducted a great deal of research on how to move my career forward and what I could do to be more desirable to clients, concluding that most remote design-related positions seemed to involve some amount of UI/UX design, which I didn’t know much about.
Deciding I had little choice, I read up on the field and purchased a subscription to the Interaction Design Foundation and began taking UX classes.
Just trying to find my own path, really.
“You’ve sparked my interest”
It was soon after that I met Charles Patterson, one of my fellow Remote Year travelers, who spoke very highly of interaction design and UI. As someone passionate about movement of any kind (#movementculture), looking at Charles’ work intrigued me.
I opened up Studio and started practicing.
I wonder where I would be if Charles (@charlespatterson) hadn’t recommended Invision Studio to me.
I tend to be one of those people who is learning 10 things at once because few really stick, but there was something about UI design that genuinely clicked with me. I became obsessed with improving, spending countless hours each day challenging myself without even realizing that I need to go to the bathroom or eat.
The beginning of a new obsession
I became so obsessed that I stopped applying to jobs for a short time, filled with hope that I could build up my UI and interaction design portfolio and transition into the field (but not without continuing classes in UX, of course, because they often go hand-in-hand).
One week into practicing UI and Interaction, I got my first paid UI project. I was nothing short of proud with the design I created for this business. InVision and 12 others retweeted it—and though that may not sound like much, it was an accomplishment for my second-ever Twitter post.
My first paid web design project and second ever Twitter post. I wasn’t actually required to do the interaction for it, but I couldn’t help myself.
Something bright on the horizon
Between losing all my money, trying to live the dream while traveling, and not knowing where my next paycheck was coming from, I was truly in a desperate position.
Making the change to UI, taking a chance on myself, and realizing that I can offer so much more than I knew was the most emotionally exhausting yet empowering experience. It’s been 2.5 months since I opened Invision Studio and started learning UI and interaction design, and already I’ve been offered work that I’ve had to turn down.
Now, the future of my career seems much less blurry and a lot more promising.
My first attempt at designing an interaction in an Apple Watch, about one month into practicing Interaction design.
My attempt at creating a page-turning interaction where you could see the back of the image as it was peeled away, a trick I have since mastered!
Haven’t tried Studio yet? Download now and give it a spin.
Digital nomad learning new mediums in new places and making an unfortunate situation into an opportunity. After 4 years of Freelance Graphic Design, actively making the effort to master interaction and UI/UX design.