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Navigating the Transition from Corporate to Freelance in Instructional Design.pngkeepProtocol | designcareersclub

Navigating the Transition from Corporate to Freelance in Instructional Design: A Woman’s Guide

Ladies, listen up! If you’re an instructional designer feeling the itch to break free from the corporate world and dive into the exciting realm of freelancing, you’re in the right place. In a recent webinar, the incredible Dr. Robin Sargent, founder of IDOL Courses and a true trailblazer in the industry, shared her wisdom and guidance for women ready to make their freelance dreams a reality.

First things first, let’s talk about the smorgasbord of business models available to you as a freelance instructional designer. Whether you fancy yourself a consultant extraordinaire, a fractional developer dabbling in multiple projects, an agency owner building an empire, a savvy business buyer, a solopreneur superstar, a product creation prodigy, or a contractor juggling gigs like a pro, there’s a path that perfectly aligns with your unique talents and aspirations.

But here’s the key, my friends: identifying your zone of genius. What’s that, you ask? It’s the work that sets your soul on fire, the projects that make you want to leap out of bed in the morning (okay, maybe after a coffee or two). Dr. Sargent emphasizes the importance of focusing on your niche and developing a value proposition that makes clients sit up and take notice.

Now, I know what you might be thinking: « But I’m a woman, I have to be everything to everyone! » Au contraire, my dear. As a freelancer, specialization is your secret sauce. Hone in on what you do best and let your expertise shine. And when it comes to pricing, don’t settle for mere hourly rates—aim for project-based, value-based, or retainer models that showcase your skills’ true worth.

Embarking on the freelance journey means donning many hats – marketer, bookkeeper, brand strategist, and more. But fear not, for Dr. Sargent has your back with practical advice to set you up for success:

  • Protect your assets like a boss by obtaining an EIN and forming an LLC
  • Separate your business and personal finances – no more mixing martinis with spreadsheets!
  • Create a professional brand that screams « I’ve got this! » – think business email, phone number, and a website that wows
  • Network like a social butterfly, both online and in-person, to attract those dream clients
  • Crunch the numbers and set revenue goals based on your expenses and desired income (hello, beach vacations!)
  • Invest in crafting marketing content that showcases your expertise and value – because you’re worth it
  • Approach project discussions with the confidence of a lioness and always put agreements in writing
  • Deliver client service so exceptional, that they’ll be singing your praises from the rooftops

Now, let’s get real for a moment. As a woman in the freelance world, you might face some challenges. Imposter syndrome? Work-life balance? Lack of a built-in support system? Yeah, we’ve all been there. But as Dr. Sargent wisely advises, build yourself a financial safety net – aim for several months of savings to cushion any slow periods. And don’t forget the power of surrounding yourself with a tribe of like-minded ladies who get it. Freelancing can feel lonely at times, but with the right support system, you’ll have a squad cheering you on every step of the way.

Making the leap into freelance instructional design takes guts, grit, and a whole lot of gumption. Start laying the groundwork at least a year before taking the plunge and be honest with yourself about your readiness for this thrilling, but sometimes unpredictable, lifestyle. When the time comes, strut into your new role with the confidence of a woman who knows her worth and isn’t afraid to show it.

Remember, as a female freelancer, you have the power to create a career that sets your soul ablaze, flexes your talents, and makes a meaningful impact on learners’ lives. Charge what you deserve, deliver work that knocks their socks off, and don’t be afraid to gracefully decline projects that don’t align with your goals. With the right mindset, strategy, and support, you can build a flourishing freelance instructional design business that’s the envy of the town.

Watch the webinar recording below to get all of Robin’s tips on navigating the transition from corporate to freelance in instructional design and eLearning.


So, my dear aspiring freelancers, embrace the adventure that awaits you. Trust in your abilities, lean on your sisterhood of support, and know that you have what it takes to thrive in this incredible industry. The world of freelance instructional design is yours for the taking – go out there and make it your own!